Daily Archives: June 25, 2008

Fancy Diagrams

At a recent meeting I noted that a few PIs have started to incorporate “professional-style” graphics into their talks. By professional-style graphics I mean the sort of graphics that you have come to expect in such publications as Nature Reviews. These graphics are colorful, eye-catching, and often look like something you would expect to see in an advertisement in a magazine or on a billboard. At the time, I suspected that these graphics were done by a professional graphics artist, but I didn’t know for sure so I asked. Nope, they were done by students in the lab who had experience with Adobe Illustrator or other such programs. It would appear that some of the young’ins are getting training in graphic design (or devoting their own time to the cause) allowing them to make diagrams of the science in these talks that are truly awe-inspiring. When I say awe-inspiring I am being quite serious. You could here gasps of amazement (or shall I say jealousy) among the audience when these diagrams were presented. I was among the gaspers. I was jealous.

Never one to be outdone, I decided that it would be to my young lab’s advantage to spend some time getting to know how to use Adobe Illustrator. Lucky for me, my institution has a site license for Illustrator so it didn’t cost me half an arm. I have now spent the better part of the past week getting to know the program and I am happy to report (perhaps naively) that the program is quite easy to use and I’m churning out all sorts of gorgeous diagrams to replace the old stick-figure type diagrams that used to populate my grants, papers and talks. I plugged one of these diagrams into a collaborative grant that we are currently getting ready to submit and let’s just say that my colleagues are very pleased.

So what is the point of writing a blog post on this? Continue reading