A well-designed grant figure should capture the attention of your reviewer and communicate your information in a quick and visually interesting way. However, knowing how to create an effective grant figure can be challenging. The following tips will help you design a grant figure that will impress your reviewers and help you secure your next grant.
1. Use a cohesive color palette to your advantage
Color can be a very powerful tool when it comes to creating scientific figures. It's best to use a cohesive color palette that is not a distraction. A bold color can be a great way to draw attention to a specific part of your figure, while removing all color and adding it back sparingly can make things more clear.
2. Use color 'temperature' to help tell your story
It's important to be consistent in how you use cool and warm colors in your figures. Cool colors are pleasing to the eye and can be used to show the protagonist. Warmer colors can represent something negative and indicate the antagonist such as inflammation. By using color temperature wisely, you can create compelling figures that are easy to interpret.
3. Follow a natural reading flow (left -> right / top -> bottom)
As you map out your figure, stick to a natural reading order; top to bottom, left to right, or cyclical. You want to tell a story and have a logical path readers can follow. Don’t make the reader guess where to start and stop. When using numbers in your figure, they should move the reader logically through the figure.
4. For arrows, less is more
Arrows can be a powerful tool when used correctly in your figure. They can communicate movement, but should be used sparingly to avoid overwhelming the reader. Numbers can be used to show steps instead of arrows, which can help to remove confusion and keep your reader focused on the most important things.
5. Test your figure in the final layout
Reproduce the final layout, such as a grant, to make sure your final figure still works in all sizes. Be careful of adding too many details that will be lost if you shrink it down to a business card.
6. Know your reader
By increasing the transparency of common elements your audience is already familiar with, you can bring focus to the most important part of your figure. This will help you make sure your figure is engaging and memorable for your reader.
Want to see these tips in action? Watch the recording of our Designing a Winning Grant Figure webinar or get your copy of the webinar slides!