Graphic Design

Professional Graphic Design of Proposal Figures

The competition for sponsored funding is more intense than ever. Proposals that interest and engage reviewers, and that communicate with brevity and clarity will have an edge over the competition. Grants Hub graphic design services can help research teams deliver these advantages in their proposals by:

  • Reducing complex concepts for ease of understanding;
  • Grabbing and holding reviewers’ attention;
  • Leveraging a designer’s knowledge and expertise with colors, fonts, principles of design and layout to better organize and enhance proposals, which is particularly important with reviewers who skim proposals;
  • Optimizing for accessibility through designs that take into account color blindness and other possible vision impairments;
  • Creating aesthetically pleasing, professionally designed graphics that create positive perceptions about your team’s research; and, ultimately
  • More effectively telling and selling your team’s research story.

To request graphic design support, click the red “Submit a Request” button to the right.


Beyond Grants Hub services, various other resources are available to help researchers better communicate their research visually:

Web-Based Graphics Software

  • From Data to Viz leads you to the most appropriate graph for your data. It links to the code to build it and lists common caveats you should avoid.
  • Flourish provides templates and themes to turn your data into professional-quality charts, maps, and interactive stories. Free and paid subscription options are available.
  • Biorender is an online platform that provides over 20,000 icons and templates for simple drag-and-drop creation of professional life sciences figures. Paid users can also request custom icons.
  • Datavisual offers pre-designed templates to output data visualizations for the web, mobile devices, presentations, and print materials.
  • Canva is a graphic design platform with templates for social media graphics, presentations, posters, documents, and other visual content. Free and paid versions are available.

Color Accessibility

Various online tools are available to check whether your graphics are accessible to viewers with color blindness:

Royalty-Free Illustration and Photography

Find royalty-free illustrations and photographs to incorporate in your figures. Some of these services require a subscription or one-time fee to download graphics, while others make graphics available at no cost under public domain or Creative Commons licensing.

Other Graphic Design Services

Model Farm is a creative services incubator where Iowa State students provide graphic design, photography, videography, and copywriting to the standard expected in a professional marketing agency. Model Farm serves clients both inside and outside the university on a fee-for-service basis.