Show, don’t tell: Creating visuals about your research

08 September 2022 - 15 September 2022
(2 x 7,5h)
campus Diepenbeek


This training, given by Koen Van den Eeckhout (Baryon Design BV), introduces researchers to the selection, creation and editing of images in order to communicate about their research.

In a first section, the importance of images in science communication, as well as the core principles that determine the difference between a normal and a great image, are discussed. Important design and communication principles are considered.

The second section highlights the four different types of images (icons, illustrations, photographs and graphs) and shows where to find them, or how to create them. It includes having a look at different illustration styles, a first introduction to photography, and an overview of tools to create strong graphs.

The third section introduces some free but powerful tools to edit images, and to combine them with textual and other elements in order to create a layout.

The final section dives deeper into the use of visuals in the daily research practice, through different use cases: creating captions, legal and ethical aspects of image use and editing, and using images in graphical abstracts and scientific posters.

This training contains many different exercises, including an assignment allowing you to work on your own visual material, related to your own research.

Learning outcomes

After attending this training, participants will...

  • be able to recognize and select appropriate images (icons, illustrations and photographs) to be used in scientific communication;
  • have insight into the four most important type of images (icons, illustrations, photographs and graphs), and be able to decide which type to use in which situation;
  • know the difference between vector and bitmap illustrations, and be able to decide which type and file format to use in which situation;
  • be able to take their own photographs to communicate about their research;
  • know about the most important types of graphs (bar graph, line graph, pie chart and scatter plot), and now how and when to use them;
  • be able to use photo editing software to scale, crop and rotate images;
  • be able to use photo editing software to edit brightness, contrast and white balance of images, and to remove unwanted objects and backgrounds;
  • be able to use graphical software to combine images and text;
  • be able to formulate an appropriate title and caption to support the message of an image;
  • know about the legal and ethical aspects of photograph use and editing, and apply them correctly;
  • be able to use images to create graphical abstracts and scientific posters.


An important part of preparing for any further professional step is becoming (more) aware of the competences you have developed and/or want to develop. In the current workshop, the following competences from the UHasselt competency overview are actively dealt with:

  • academic research competences:
    • publication skills
  • interpersonal competences:
    • presentation skills
  • personal effectiveness:
    • ethics & (research) integrity
  • intellectual competences:
    • creativity


For whom?

  • PhD students and postdocs
  • 16 places available

When and where?

  • September 8 & 15, 2022 - 09:00 - 16:30
  • campus Diepenbeek, building D, room A4


  • There is a preparation to be done before the first session. You will need approximately 1 to 2 hours to finish it.
  • You need to bring your own laptop.


  • You can register here until August 16, 2022.
  • As places are limited, registering does not automatically imply that you will be able to participate. You will be notified by email after the registration deadline has passed.
  • Please cancel your registration at least one week in advance in case you cannot make it (cf. cancellation & no-show policy).

Acknowledged as?

  • DS BSH: category 'research management & communication skills' - course/workshop aimed at developing general communication skills
  • DS HLS: category 'transferable skills' - one compulsory elective course
  • DS ST: category 'scientific & generic communication' - course about scientific communication

Back to the Academic research competences - course offer (2022) overview