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Getting Your Paper Noticed

Learn how to make your paper stand out through strong titling, graphical abstracts, search engine optimization, and academic networking.

Graphical Abstracts

Graphical Abstracts

Visual or graphical abstracts are an accompanying feature of a research article that promotes and highlights a study.  It is typically a single, concise, pictorial, and visual summary of the main findings of the article. It enhances the regular text abstract and encourages others to read the paper. A graphical abstract does not replace the traditional text abstract. Though this guide provides some general guidelines for creating visual abstracts, many publishers have specific requirements for including graphical abstracts. 

The basics of planning out your graphical abstract can be summarized in three steps. 

  1. Summarize the content. 
    • What is your main idea?
    • What is the most important thing people need to know?
    • What information supports this idea?
    • Why is it important?
    • What other information do you need to include?
  2. Make a sketch to create the graphical abstract. 
    • You don't need to be an artist, just plot out where you think things should go in a logical manner. 
    • Look at templates on the internet to get ideas. 
  3. Choose your color schemes, illustrations, and type. 
    • Ask others to review your choices for readability and understanding. 


  • Always check the publisher's website for requirements and/or recommendations
  • Use one slide or large graphic to summarize your research
  • Distill key findings or conclusions into as few words, numbers, and graphics as possible
  • It should read from top to bottom or left to right if published in an English language journal
  • Include a link to the paper, perhaps using the DOI
  • Include "FirstAuthor et al." if not listing all authors and the journal and year of publication
  • Include your institutional and/or publisher logo
  • Make sure every image has a purpose
  • Use color with intention, be mindful of accessibility 
  • Use a minimum 531X1328 pixel size with at least 300 dpi
  • Export as PNG, TIFF, JPG or PDF

Tip: Here is a great video tutorial on best practices for making infographics from the ERAU Daytona Beach Digital Studio. Many concepts are the same for graphical abstracts. 

image of cdc graphical abstract

image of journal graphical abstract

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