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Introduction to scientific figure design



This course provides a practical guide to producing figures for use in reports and publications.

It is a wide ranging course which looks at how to design figures to clearly and fairly represent your data, the practical aspects of graph creation, the allowable manipulation of bitmap images and compositing and editing of final figures.

The course will use a number of different open source software packages and is illustrated with a number of example figures adapted from common analysis tools.



Anne Segonds-Pichon, Babraham Institute

Simon Andrews, Babraham Institute


Audience and Prerequisites

Graduate students, Postdocs and Staff members from the University of Cambridge, Affiliated Institutions and other external Institutions or individuals


Syllabus, Tools and Resources

During this course you will learn about:

  • Data Visualisation Theory
  • Data Representation
  • Ethics of Data Representation
  • Design Theory
  • GIMP
  • Inkscape

Learning Objectives

After this course you should be able to:

  • Understand general data visualisation theory
  • Discuss ethics and design theory with regards to scientific figures
  • Edit bitmap and vector graphics for publication



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Course materials



Time Topic
9:30 - 12:30 Introduction
Data Visualisation Theory
Data Representation Practical
Ethics and plots lecture
12:30 - 13:30 Lunch
13:30 - 17:30 Design theory lecture
Ethics practical
GIMP Lecture & practical
Inkscape Lecture & practical
Final practical
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