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Mastering Protocol Figure Design

Transform your protocol figures with easy-to-learn design tricks! During this webinar, you'll learn actionable tips to help you improve your protocol figures, including how to:

  • Easily adapt your figure to your audience or use-case
  • Guide your reader with clear and simple figure compositions
  • Speed up your figure making with easy design tricks


This webinar was led by BioRender Science Designers, Sally Kim, PhD and Mina Nashed, PhD.

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It is 2:02 PM right now so maybe we'll just get started here. So thank you everyone for joining our webinar on Mastering Protocol Figure Design. Here's the agenda for today after a brief introduction we're going to dive into the best practices for building a protocol figure. We'll then spend a little bit of time outlining the top five tips for ensuring that your protocol figure is as impactful as possible and at the very end we're going to be doing a live figure makeover to tie everything together that we've learned and this is always a crowd favorite so please make sure to stick around for that. We also have some information at the very end about institutional pricing and different links and resources for BioRender. So some valuable information at the end there.  

Okay and with that we're just going to give a quick introduction to ourselves after the introduction we'll probably turn our videos off just to focus on a presentation but I just wanted to introduce ourselves so my name is Mina I am one of the science designers here at BioRender I have my background in biology and biochemistry as well as a master's in neuroscience and a PhD in medical science from McMaster University which is in Ontario, Canada for anyone who's international and I'll pass it over to my colleague Sally. Hi everyone, my name is Sally and I'm also one of the science designers here at BioRender. Like Mina I also did my schooling in Ontario, Canada so I did my bachelors in University of Toronto and then transitioned over to do my PhD studies also at University of Toronto focusing on physiology.

Awesome thank you Sally. Okay, so before we dive in we always like to share our mission here at BioRender which is to accelerate the world's ability to learn, discover and communicate science and to that end we know obviously that a lot of scientists have to communicate about their protocols it's an essential part of the science communication process and accurately depicting protocols is really essential for effective communication as well as experimental reproducibility as I'm sure we're all aware so as we get started here we're going to launch a second poll so maybe we'll close the first poll here. We're really interested to know what everyone here struggles with the most on creating a protocol figure. So feel free to start answering that poll . Already some really interesting results. Kind of evenly split across the board here between getting started, choosing the best layout, finding graphics and finding protocol figure-making a little bit time consuming and these are definitely all pain points that I'm sure Sally and I in our previous academic life can really relate to. We have a winner right now. It looks like maybe choosing the best layout is just edging out finding the right graphics and having it be time consuming. Really interesting. Okay, so feel free to keep answering that as we continue here.

So the first question that we want to ask ourselves is how we can approach making a really impactful protocol figure in BioRender. So I want you all to imagine that you're planning a trip from San Francisco to LA and you need a reference map to know exactly how to make that journey. So we have a couple of options here for maps that we can use and the one on the left is a really beautiful map it has a lot of really interesting illustrations it's very colorful it looks really really nice but if you compare it to the Google map image on the right you can see that the Google map image is a lot easier to follow, it has a much easier flow and composition, it minimizes the use of color and really uses color strategically to draw attention to key

elements that are needed for that trip so it has a very clear starting point at a very clear ending point at b and a. Very clear path in between highlighted by the blue so really you know takes

advantage of those design features to tell the story a little bit more effectively. So we want to try to keep this analogy in mind as we really dive into how to master making an amazing protocol figure and with that I'll pass it over to Sally.

Thanks for that introduction Mina. So hopefully with that introduction everyone now understands exactly why it's important to make clear, concise protocol figures now we want to move on to the part of the webinar where we give you the tools to help you actually the next time you will set about making a protocol figure starting with steps on actually how to build a protocol figure. So let's get right into it. So as science designers Mina and I make a lot of protocol figures and over time we have realized that following these five steps that we have outlined for you in this timeline really helps to make our figure streamlined and as easy as possible. So I think some of the comments here was that it takes a lot of time to make

figures so hopefully this helps. So here are the steps that we recommend you try out the next time you go about making protocol figures but let me also of course go over the steps in more

detail so you know what each step is about.

The first step before you even open BioRender is to consider the context and the audience that your figure will have. This is important because the amount of information you will have to include on your figure will depend a lot on what the figure is for and who the figure is for. So you could imagine you know if you are making a figure to present to the general public a lot more information would have to be included on there to provide them the appropriate proper context compared to a figure that you're going to present to your team so make sure you thought about both the context and audience and you're in the right headspace before you truly start making your protocol figure.

The next step is to make a reference board. So what do I mean by that? I mean to collect all the visual and written materials that you want to reference while you're making your figure and add it all to a blank BioRender file. So let me demo this for you. So here is a blank BioRender file all white, nothing added to it that I have opened up. Let's just zoom out for a little bit to show you that on the top I've gone ahead and added a timeline of steps that I was referencing earlier so that you can follow along as I demo the figure making for you so let's imagine a scenario where I have to create a protocol figure about western blotting for my teammates so I don't have to go into a lot of detail and it could be quite simple so to build a reference board I will just simply onto this file. Start adding in images and texts that I want to reference as I am making the bigger so I'm just copying and pasting from other tabs I have opened up at the moment various images that maybe you have saved on your personal desktops or things you found during Google searches that you know you want to aspire your final protocol figure to be or even maybe

you know you have some text from your word docs that outline all the protocol

steps you have that you want to include in the figure itself. Feel free to go ahead and add that in as well so that you all have it in one place and you want to keep doing that essentially until you get to some place where you have all the references added on. So something that looks like this and we really recommend this step because before I even knew about BioRender when I was a grad student really I didn't do this step and it made it really frustrating because I had all these references everywhere that I had to gather and it was super frustrating to find the information I wanted to find so adding this step in really helped streamline my figure making process because it was super easy to find all the information I needed so I really recommend adding this step to your figure-making. 

So the next step after creating a reference board is to sketch it out. So this is the step when you consider all the references that you have collected on your reference board and sort of start brainstorming what your figure is going to look like and then draw out the layout you kind of want to achieve. So you could do this on BioRender. I like to do that just because you know the reference board is already on BioRender so why not just kind of continue the BioRender fun or you could do this you know physically with a real paper and pencil. Sometimes that helps with the brainstorming process but for the purpose of the demo I'll just do it on on this board so

when you're setting about to do that you could do one of two things if you already have premium access to BioRender you will have access to our slides feature so that's actually how we've been doing this presentation within BioRender itself if you go to this side over here and show slides you'll see our little slide deck so if you have this feature already for yourself what you can do is just add a blank slide and then just do your sketch over here and then kind of go back and forth between your reference board and your blank file to make the sketch I actually like to do it on the same slide. What I like to do is just select everything and then push it over to the side

so that I can still access the information just by scrolling to the side like this and I still have an empty canvas that I can add things onto so what I will do to sketch it out, look at my references here and sort of decide kind of what I want my layout to look like and upon pondering let's imagine that I mostly want to make my figure look like this reference over here so to sketch it out what I will do is I'll go back to my canvas and sort of block out the panels much like it is here so to do that I'll go to the top toolbar and click the shape option and just pull out a simple rectangular shape drag it out to block out the first step and then from then on just simply copy and paste to make panel number two, panel number three, panel number four, so that I can get

somewhere close to this. So I think I like what that's looking like and sort of to help the future audience of this fake figure follow the steps. I think I'll add numbered steps too so you could also easily do that by going to the shapes, going to the text shapes and pulling out this option here. This is one of my favorites because you know it's just super easy to pull out a clean looking numbered step without having to you know fuss about with the formatting so there you go. Of course this is just a sketching option so I'm just adding in the ones but later as I refine it you can

change it to a two or a three or four. At this step I'll also pull out all the icons and shapes that I think I'll need so I'll basically go to this icon library section over here and then this is going to be about a western blot so just type in western block and see what comes up and I will literally just pull out all the icons I think I'll need at this stage so I see some gel running machinery over here just pull all of them out that I'm not fussy at this stage I just literally pull out what I think I'm gonna need and then I'll make the decision later based on my reference. Now that I can see it, this will be about the gel transfer so I'll also pull out some gels and you want to just add this portion, just pull out all the icons and shapes you're going to need until you get to a place where all the major portions of your sketch are laid out like this. 

So now that we're at we have completed step three and we have all sketched it out, now we want to move on to step four which is the arranging icons and shapes portion. So this is the step where you want to narrow down the actual icons and the shapes they're going to use so this means you know access icons that you've pulled out just when you were brainstorming you want to sort of delete and the rest of the things you want to place more mindfully and purposefully. So for the demo let me just focus on this first panel over here so I mean I don't need two gel running machines right to show step one so I can delete that one and then this is sort of now over to this side which looks odd so maybe I just pull it to the center over here and then now that I've seen this sort of placeholder box that's blue I think that might be distracting the color so what you could do is click on it, open up the side panel here where you can see all the style options and then just click one there we go I like the white one with the plain black outline and now that I see it I think I could make this less tall as well. there we go and also this is a step you will want to start adding text so you can add any needed subtitles, things like that and adjust the placement there we go and you want to do this all throughout your figure until you land on a draft that you're pretty happy with so something that looks like this where you have all the proper icons and the access deleted essentially with the text written in like that. 

So from this point on then the only thing you have to do is do step five which is to fine tune so this is a stage where you start refining your figure a little bit further so just look at your figure do any last minute touches you want to do so this might include things like changing the color of icons for example so now that I look at this gel here it's kind of purple and that's not what it really looks like in real life. So maybe you just click into it, open the edit feature and then select a color option that you prefer instead. Maybe you want to bold all the text just to make it even more stand out like that and you just go about making the changes as you want maybe even delete these boxes because there's a lot of boxes a lot of rectangles here maybe that's distracting so you can even delete that like that until you land at a draft that you're really happy with something that looks like this and that's all the steps. Are there any questions at this point maybe about the steps?

So, Sally, we did have one interesting question. Maybe we'll quickly demonstrate, I was just typing the answer out for it but we had a question about copying and pasting and BioRender. Do you have to actually copy and paste or is there a shortcut that you're using to replicate things over? 

Yeah so there's various things you could do. You can click option click I think for Mac or alt click for PC so I am pressing that button now and then just clicked it and then dropped it down. Or you can select the good old control C control V you could also copy paste like that too.

We'll take another quick question: “How do you change the canvas size?”. Nice question okay so how you change the canvas size maybe you noticed as I was fine tuning. Let me go to the previous there we go so if I wanted to change canvas size what I would do is if you go to this top toolbar here you'll notice this canvas size option. You click that and these little black marks will show up you can basically click and drag. You could also do it numerically here as well but I like to do this so that I know I can really control where it ends and where it starts like that and then you just click apply. 

A lot of really great questions. Maybe we'll take one more I think we're actually okay on time there's another interesting one here for Sally: “In BioRender, is there a way to edit grouped icons and have it affect all at the same item? Like an antibody fluorophore pair can I change the color and can I have that effect all of those in the paired group?”. So let's see if I could find a group here and then open the side panel. So if it's some of the group is mostly just shapes like this you can just go ahead and click the group and you'll see that these style options exist and then you can just literally go through the options or even go to this area here where you can change the color to be anything you want. That's an option. If it's something like antibodies and shapes where you can't do the color changes with one click unfortunately, the same functions don't show up but you can just enter the group and then apply the changes that way with the one caveat here really being if you have a group of all the same icons let's say you have a lot of dots or a lot of antibodies and it's all the same icon and they're all different colors at the moment and you just want to select all of them to make them the same color. Those ones can be changed together

and we actually have an option if you go to edit and kind of scroll down you can see that you can select all the same options all the same icons so that everything gets selected that's on the canvas

that's the same icon and you can do it that way let me actually do this. So you can do this you can select the same icon and so you'll see that those antibodies were selected and then you can just change it you can see that the changes are applying to both. Awesome, great questions cool then for the sake of time maybe then we'll move on to the next slide.

That was a really great presentation Sally I think it really highlights some solid solid steps to

just the figure making process in general and how to build a really solid protocol figure. So right now what we're going to do is we're going to dive into our top five tips for making sure that your protocol figure is really as effective as it can be so these are our top five tips and really what you want to do is ensure that you're following a really simple composition, ensure appropriate text hierarchy, group things together where possible, you want to ensure that ensure appropriate icons and text proportions, and then you want to simplify. So at the very end we'll talk a little bit about how to refine things by just simplifying as much as possible. 

So I was really interested to see in one of our polls that one of the biggest pain points I think just edging out you know in first place right now is choosing the best layout so that's really what we're going to talk about in this tip. So what you see on the screen right now are the main compositions or layouts that are most effective at organizing visual information and why might that be? Well it's because all of them read either from left to right, top to bottom, or a combination of the two and that mimics how we read text. These can be used for different purposes and they can actually be used in combination as well so if you have a really complicated figure you might use a combination of these but for more simple figures simpler protocols these are kind of our takeaway points for protocols with few steps a simple

unidirectional composition is the simplest way of organizing your figures. So just going left to right making it really really simple is going to be the easiest for your audience to follow. For cyclical processes you want to make sure that the steps are reading clockwise because that's how we tend to read the clock with the starting point placed either in the top middle or top left of the circle so in this case an example that we see here the patient would be the starting point and kind of the top left position because that's naturally where our eye is going to go to kind of start reading. For protocols with many steps as shape composition is going to be the most effective way of organizing your figure so this actually retains the left to right reading order for both rows of information that you're showing while still being able to show multiple complex steps. And finally we have an example here for protocols that have either a converging or diverging step we like to use a simple fork shaped composition that reads either left to right again or top to bottom and we like to avoid diagonal lines so you know just having things more linearly going from left to right or top to bottom even when there's a fork is going to be a lot easier for the eye to follow. So here we have an example of a figure that we made over we're really the main problem with the original was the lack of clear direction of information flow so we can see that you know just

reconstructing the composition really allows the eye to trace out the intended pathway of

information is a lot easier. So you can see on the example on the left your eye has to go up and down and in different directions and kind of trace backwards before you kind of get to the final position but it's still not really clear that I followed the correct reading order and all the same information is presented in the makeover on the right. It's just the composition is refined so that everything is a lot more linear and we'll talk a little bit about some of the other tips that made this figure more successful in the revision as well including grouping things together and text hierarchy.

So if you go to the next step are tip number two is about text hierarchy so now that you have your composition, we really want to focus on key elements and for a lot of protocol figures one of the key elements is going to be your text so just take a few seconds and read what's on the screen. Right now it's a little experiment for everyone. Okay so you would have likely noticed that the text size and the formatting were the main things that really influenced the reading order rather than the placement. I fell for this the first time I saw it. You know you tend to read the biggest most bolded thing first and then you're gonna go down to that second line that's the second biggest maybe that italics and then a lot of people will miss the very first thing that's at the top because it's the smallest font. So text size and formatting are really often overlooked but they're essential tools in conveying the intended reading order and information hierarchy so we can see an example here of a figure that was submitted to us for a previous makeover and if we go to the next slide. We actually counted a total of six different text sizes in addition to formatting choices like bolding and italics that didn't really seem to convey any additional information that was useful. The figure also generally suffered from a little bit of over design so there were a lot of kind of unnecessary boxes within boxes and you definitely kind of want to avoid having that Russian nesting doll situation with too many rectangular design elements because it adds a lot of confusion. So as much as possible you want to make sure that all of your design elements are very purposeful and strategic rather than just kind of designed for the sake of design. So in the next slide over you can see this is our makeover. So you know we've simplified the composition of course and we've removed some of those unnecessary boxes that were cluttering the figure. We also simplified the use of color which we'll touch on in a later tip but really revising the text size and formatting is what made the biggest impact for this particular example. So in the next slide over you can see now that we've reduced the number of distinct text sizes to just four instead of six and use text hierarchy to our advantage to emphasize the correct reading order so it's important to use text size and formatting really strategically which is really to say that the number of different sizes and formats of text should correspond exactly to the number of distinct levels of information so example your title, your subtitle, supporting text footnotes, etc. so every single level of information should have its own formatting but no

more and no less and that's really how to use effective text hierarchy.

So next we'll talk about grouping elements together. So simply grouping things alone can really make a figure a lot easier to consume and we do this by consolidating similar or related items together visually and making sure that we put white and negative space around those groups. So when I was still in a lab back in my grad days, I always liked to keep my bench very organized. I can't say that about all of my colleagues but I really wanted to make sure that everything is

organized and the way that I did that was to group things that I knew I was gonna use together in the same spot. I would maybe even use a tray to make sure that everything was grouped together appropriately so that I know where all of my stuff is and it was a lot easier to find what I was looking for when I had a bench that looked more like the example on the right rather than example on the left. Even though it's the same number of items in both pictures you can

see that it's just a lot easier to find what you're looking for when things are grouped together

So here we have an actual example of a protocol. In the example on the left there's a few issues here that we can talk about. There is no clear grouping of bacterial cells related to each step which is really what this figure is trying to highlight. There's also insufficient kind of negative space between each of the steps. They overlap slightly or they're a little bit tightly close together so that things aren't very distinct from each other in terms of the steps. You can also see that the step titles are basically decoupled from the text description so we have you know some steps where the the step title or number is at the top whereas the descriptions on the bottom of the figure and then it kind of reverses and it's a little bit confusing to get through and it's not really clear how I should be reading the figure. So on the right we've fixed a lot of these issues by using a couple of grouping strategies. So first you'll notice that we use callout boxes which are the ones that are Sally highlighting there so those call out circles or call out boxes really help visually group the bacterial clusters that are associated with each other together and associate them better with each step in a more distinct way we've also grouped the related text of each step to the top

and that reduces the cognitive load so now we have the steps clearly associated with the text that describes them followed by the actual visual that we're trying to to look at as a representation

we've also done something a little bit subtle here at the bottom where we've added redundant legends at the bottom of each step to help keep the steps a little bit more separated so rather than having to like you know go back and forth between the legend and what each specific bacteria is represented by it's a lot more seamless this way by just grouping the specific legend that's needed to each step it just reduces that cognitive load. Again, it makes it a lot easier to follow our tip number four is to really consider proportions so poor proportions can make your protocol really difficult to interpret and this goes on both sides so you can have a figure where all the elements are too large it creates a lot of crowding and your eye doesn't really know where to focus but you can also on the flip side have a figure where all the elements are a little bit too small, too sparse and the key elements that you're trying to highlight don't end up standing out at all so for optimal clarity it's really important to strike that balance between emphasizing the key visual elements of your figure while retaining sufficient padding around the elements to avoid that crowding effect. Now an extra little tip here so if we go on to the next slide and I'll actually have Sally help me out with demonstrating this an extra tip here is so let's say you have a case where you're trying to show something that by nature has a lot of like small detailed components and you're scared

that the key features of your figure is going to get lost and it's not going to be obvious. Well one option is to kind of just blow everything up and make everything really large but like we said that can create a lot of crowding a better alternative in this case is to actually use a zoom out call or a call out box and we actually have those in our library like you can see Sally's looking up some options here so we have different formats and different styles of these but we can create this to really highlight the key features that we're trying to point out without crowding the overall figure. So you can see Sally demonstrating that and all we're going to really need to do here is just copy over that main figure actually maybe we'll group all of that together first so that it's all one image we'll copy it over and then all we have to do is just blow up the size to the correct zoom level that we want. There we go perfect and then we can actually do that. Sseems like a pretty good size for the details that we want and then we can crop it so we can see Sally here cropping the portion of the well plate that we want to highlight. And actually a pro tip here if Sally can actually just go back into that cropping option, you can actually choose a crop stroke. So you can create a crop stroke around the cropped area that you want so maybe we'll make that size two or so and that actually automatically creates a box around the specific area that you're cropping. Perfect, so we probably don't even need that box in the callout and we can just use that

stroke on the crop itself to highlight the area that we're that we're interested in and then from this point on you know whatever details that you wanted to highlight let's say you wanted to put an antibody in there because this assay involves antibodies you can just search up an antibody plop it in and that way you avoid having to have like really really tiny antibodies in that original form of the figure.

Great so that's just a little bit of an extra tip there and the final tip that we're going to talk about

is to simplify. And we've broken this down a little bit into a couple of different kinds of sub tips. So first we'll talk a little bit about lines different types or sizes of lines should have very very specific purposes and be used in a strategic manner so you can see in the examples here on your

screen that in the original version of this figure we have a lot of different types of lines but we also have a lot of different formats of lines. Different colors thicknesses and that can create a lot of confusion and actually your eye ends up being drawn to the lines rather than what the lines are trying to communicate in terms of information flow. So we want to be strategic about how we use lines and arrows so for example we can use thicker arrows to convey an increase in production of something or we can use faded arrows to convey movement a lot of times as science designers we'll use dotted arrows to convey a signal that may be weaker or uncertain. So all of these different types of arrows have very specific meanings and you want to be kind of conservative about how you use them rather than just you know using a lot of different colors and shapes and sizes so you can see that in a makeover there it's a lot more effective because the arrows are all quite meaningful but they kind of sit in the background and end up highlighting the key features of the actual figure that you're trying to point out so they're in a supporting role rather than being the main figure here we also want to consider simplifying shapes and icons so using simple representations when possible really helps avoid unnecessary complexity. What I mean by unnecessary complexity is we can always try to default to a simpler representation and then go up in complexity only as necessary to convey important details so you can see in the examples that I've shown here. You know it's often really tempting to have like a 3D structure of a G protein coupled receptor for example in this case because they look really cool and they're really visually stunning and we have all of these options in BioRender you can actually pull these different icons from our library and you can also use our PDB plugin to create these more

complex 3D constructions of the protein so we have all those options. But you want to consider the purpose behind each one and what you're trying to convey most of the time we find that the more simpler kind of default representations of proteins or membranes or nuclei in this case are sufficient to convey what we're trying to to show and we might only want to increase in complexity when we're trying to highlight something. For example about the phospholipid bilayer that's really important to show, then we go up in that complexity and finally for in terms of simplifying we want to really consider color so minimizing the the use of color will really help the figure look a lot more harmonious so you can see in examples here in the original we had about 15 distinct colors the color palette was not at all harmonious and it makes it very difficult to draw attention to any key elements in this case whereas in the makeover version of this we reduce the colors down to just five distinct colors the color palette overall is also a lot

more harmonious just kind of sticking to different shades or use of purple and blue to make it all kind of cohere together a little bit more and what this really allows us to do is that if we

have something about the figure that we're trying to really highlight we can then use color strategically to highlight those key elements like that MHC receptor that you see there.

That kind of concludes our tips portion. I'm really really excited to jump into a live figure Makeover at this point. I think it'll be really interesting for a lot of folks here. Okay so let me transition over from this slide to over here. Some features we have on BioRender so that we can collaborate in real time. I believe Mina is also he also has this figure open and so he'll be popping in and you might see him move some stuff around. 

Okay, that being said let's move on to the figure that we're gonna make over. So here is a figure that actually was a figure submitted by one of our community members who shared this

kindly so that we can make it even more better than it already is. I will say at the start that it is already quite successful in that a lot of the elements are nicely aligned to one another and it's really easy to follow what's going on because of the numbers and the arrows but there are some things that I think could be improved and I'm wondering maybe we can open it up to the chat a little bit to see what everyone thinks based on our tips and tricks. If you think there's things that could be changed about this figure feel free to type it up and share with us. All right we were hoping everyone would notice that so right now if you follow this figure you can see that you know the top row it reads from left to right but then the bottom row it doesn't. It goes right to left which is sort of counterintuitive to how we generally read things so easy fix just select everything and what you can do is go to the top toolbar and go to the flip and flip horizontally and that will magically just shift everything so you don't have to do finicky work of you know switching all the placements of stuff. Let's see, okay, any other comments? People are saying things get crowded, neat titles, yeah color harmony for sure. Yeah a lot of really great observations. So definitely all of these make sense to me for sure. I think let's start with the first one of making the text be right next to the number so right now you can see that there's these numbered steps and then there is the text level which means the person who is viewing this has to jump from number one to all the texts below which is not ideal you could group them together. You know what, let's show off the collaboration function. You know, do you want to adjust the bottom while I adjust the top? So you can select all of this and move it to the top so we're both on the same file right now and we can work on it simultaneously and then shift everything a little bit down to make up for the space yeah do that on my end as well so you can see yeah the red boxes is essentially me not doing half of the work for me. So like that also you'll notice that

the styling of the text is quite bold right so the little numbered circles they have dark backgrounds as well the text is bolded which you don't really need to build everything because if everything's bolded nothing is bolded right. So let's go about unbolding. If you're working on this independently and you know not sharing a video right now or maybe working at this at different times sometimes it's really useful to also adjust you know if you're collaborating on a file to share some comments maybe leave some feedback so I just left Sally some feedback there about these recent changes much better and then Sally can respond she can also close out those comments lots of really great ways of collaborating like pick up and then I mean there's nothing to resolve here but I'll resolve it and so you can know that that comment has been seen and has been addressed.

I am just shifting everything down hold on there we go let's see is there anything else people

have mentioned I think I'm just reading through is there anything else that you notice me know. Let's see some suggestions still rolling in about maybe changing the size of the icons a bit make them more aligned yeah for sure. Yeah so you'll notice that right now there are areas where things seem a bit crowded because there are a lot of things that are maybe a bit bigger than they should be and are close together so you can easily fix that by just making things a little bit smaller and just go about doing that throughout the figure and then once you've made everything a bit smaller it means you do have more space to sort of to use to add on any necessary components that you need to really make your figure breathe just like that actually at this point this will take a bit of time.So for the sake of time we can jump to one of the prepared slide options we have.

Some still like really astute observations coming in. From Alexander, the image feels a bit too cluttered maybe the simplification and union of steps that kind of correlate with each other a little bit more so yeah we can definitely do a lot about decluttering in this particular case and don't mind I basically jumped to one where we had that pre-made a little bit so if we go back to where we were here, the icons were bigger and they're more clustered together so by making things smaller and then spacing things out you'll also notice that the callouts we remove the tails and just put the little circles right next to the test tubes that often is a stand-in for a zoom out it people generally know that if you do that that is acting like a zoom in and to make everything more consistent. We've added call outs here as well sort of showing what's in the tube just

to make things a little bit more clear. Okay just reading through the chat at the moment to see if there's anything else. I think there was a comment about color yes too much. Definitely agreed with that also we'll note that there is this bright green going on which I mean it's a nice color but maybe it doesn't need to be bright green I don't think this necessarily need to be highlighted also we will say for people who have red green color blindness if you have like orangey color

on top of green next to green color it can actually not read with proper contrast so just to avoid that error altogether you could just go in and change it to another color it's like red for example

should you get all to red for consistency here. So just let's make everything sort of in a warm tone. 

And as you're doing this how do we actually have a couple of questions that are I think really important to highlight here as well about aligning things and distributing things evenly so a lot of people notice that now our numbers are all really well aligned things are spaced out a lot more evenly are there any quick ways of doing that in BioRender yeah for sure so to demo that maybe I'll just go off the canvas for a little bit and basically drop a bunch of shapes for you that are not aligned and not distributed well. So yeah like that so you can see that this could have better distribution so to do that very easily you could select all the things you want to distribute go to the top If you have multiple items selected you'll see this pop up on the top bar for you and you go to align and you go to this distribute evenly portion and then click whichever way you want to distribute. In this case I want to distribute it horizontally so I'll just click that and you can see that now everything has even spacing let's say if you want everything to be aligned so you can see that all these guys are at different heights if you want them to get the same height you can depending on what what the things are shaped like. Click multiple options but here the top does its job and now everything's aligned. Awesome yeah so you can align things by the top by the bottom by the middle you can distribute things and it's really really easy. Really all of this is one click functionality and that's actually a really important tip as well for protocols in particular where you have a lot of steps and you want to be really cognizant of your spacing and how everything reads and making sure that you have a really good even distribution and good kind of

negative white space around all of your steps and elements so a really important feature that you can use there. So let me just do it quickly let me make this misaligned so let's say you had it all over the place like this let me select it all distribute and then bring it all to the bottom like this yeah quick and easy. 

Just looking at the time here just a few final touches on this makeover yeah so it's sitting at a pretty good spot right now we've kind of made all the colors warm we've got evenly distributed things uh unbolded things so that the story is very clear some additional things that could be done for example these icons the little poison icon the two of Icon the little cow it's nice but you know it kind of takes away from the figure and it could make it look a bit cluttered so don't be afraid to sort of remove those and just replace it with simple text it can be good

like that and instead just say plus PFA I think this is what's happening here. And it's much more streamlined rather than having to include unnecessary icons to sort of potentially clutter up uh your image of course make sure the text it's not too big there we go yeah and so we've mocked up the final result for you here for the sake of time and so here here's something that we might land on as the final version and just to show you what the start and the end looks like there you go. So the same story is essentially told but uh just a little bit more refined. It was successful before in various ways but made it even more successful if you will.

We’ll skip to our last slide here and just mention a couple of uh things before we sign off. If anyone has any questions about how to use specific features or different license types you can always visit uh has lots of great step-by-step how to's that cover that are covered in our help docs you can also contact us directly at we will be sending a link out for the recording of this webinar so be on the lookout for that and yeah so we're also launching a poll right now that you'll see on your screen just um before you before everyone kind of takes off just let us know uh you know how we did today on this session any feedback is always really really appreciated to help us make sure that these webinars are as useful as possible to to folks in the future so for more information on institutional pricing you can visit contact and complete the form there do keep an eye out for an email with the recording of today's webinar as well as an email from someone on the biorender team who will be reaching out in case you'd like to request personalized demos for your team and learn more about institutional licensing options that you can let them know about that as well the personalized themes are always really cool because you know we can do figure makeovers with

specific figures that you actually bring in and then you get to keep the final result as well for your personal use which is always really great. So yeah thank you again everyone for

joining today's session and we hope to see you all in future for webinars. Happy illustrating!

Due to continuous improvements in BioRender, the application may appear slightly different in some of our videos.
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