Designing a professional graphical abstract to your paper in an easy way

5 mins read

As a scientist, I noticed that the biggest difficulties of scientists in 21st Century are is being attractive and communicating well. We produce a lot of data daily, in different laboratories around the world, but we find obstacles to share our results with colleagues. The scientific communication has failed even more when the general public is involved.


In an attempt to improve science communication, scientific magazines have request graphical abstracts to publish new papers. According to Elsevier, a graphical abstract is a single, concise, pictorial and visual summary of the main findings of the article. This could either be the concluding figure from the article or a figure that is specially designed for the purpose, which captures the content of the article for readers at a single glance.


Indeed, articles with goods images and infographics are more cited and are easier to understand. However, while nice illustrations value the article and help the reader, they are often seen as a barrier to the authors, who are scientists, not designers. Using design professional softwares as illustrator or photoshop to create scientifically and accurate illustrations can be a nightmare to scientists. Even though we usually know how to use technological equipments and we read complicated graphics that require a high degree of specialized knowledge.


In this context, I discovered Mind the Graph, an online platform created by scientists who want to improve science communication and make the life of scientists easier.

At Mind the Graph is possible create infographics, graphical abstracts, presentations, posters for conferences and all visual materials scientists need to communicate their research. It is a simple way to create a attractive graphical abstract quickly.

In this post I will make a quick review, but you can create a free account in Mind the Graph and see for yourself all the features.


1.Mind the Graph has a library with thousands scientific illustrations


How to show a cell signaling pathway, a equipment from your engineering lab or symptoms of a disease? There aren’t many illustrations available on google. And when you find them, they don’t match each other and the full picture look like a mess. Well, in Mind the Graph all illustrations has a design pattern and you can combine them. They have thousand illustrations of different science fields, like engineering, biology, medicine, nutrition, computacional sciences, human sciences and more.


2. You can request new illustrations


If you still don’t find the illustration you want, you can request as many illustrations you need and they make the illustrations in one week. This feature is only for subscribers, but if you are a trial user you can send a email and try, maybe they will like your idea.

3.You can start from templates  


Even with all illustrations available to you, you still will have to combine them and make a beautiful creations. Sometimes, you have no idea how to do that. With mind the graph you don’t need to start from a white canvas, just choose the best template.

4.They have tutorials to help you think as a designer        


How to combine illustrations with text, what typography to choose, how to use colors, how to create a graphical abstract to a specific magazine, Mind the Graph has many tutorials and great content to help their users how to enjoy the best of the platform. They have a blog, a youtube channel and a monthly newsletter with great tips.

5.Beyond graphical abstracts


The platform allow you create presentations, scientific posters and infographics. In addition to help you produce your scientific paper or thesis, mind the graph can be an ally in your daily work routine.

If you are already a Mind the Graph user, I want to hear about your experience with this exciting tool. Does it make your work with colleagues more effective? Is it easy to use? Which features do you like most?


If you aren’t a mind the graph user, you can try it at no cost here.