Graphic Design and Data Visualization Resources for Proposal Development

Thinking of a proposal as a visual presentation will lead to a competitive advantage!

UNH IT: Available Software

(Go to the site above for access to these resources)


Windows Software

Macintosh Software

Vector graphics and illustration

Adobe Illustrator* Adobe Illustrator*
Page design and layout Adobe
Adobe InDesign
Advanced digital photo editing and graphics Adobe Photoshop* Adobe Photoshop *
Geographic information systems and mapping ArcGIS Desktop See IT website
Statistical analysis and graphing JMP 11 JMP 11
Mathematics and computation system, modeling, programming MATLAB MATLAB
Computer aided design (CAD) and computer aided engineering (CAE) SOLIDWORKS N/A
Statistical analysis and graphing SPSS Statistics SPSS Statistics

*Note re: Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop:
Both programs make high quality figures at appropriate resolution for publication but the learning curve for both of these programs is steep. However, free training is available on the Internet or in places like LinkedIn learning.

Other Software
Recommended by Researchers and Research Development Professionals



BioRender has a ton of templates and icons to make scientific figures. The interface is online, and it works very similarly to PowerPoint, so the learning curve isn’t very high for someone familiar with PowerPoint. Figures export at resolutions appropriate for publication, and they will give you a publication license. They also have resources and recorded webinars with tips on how to make the best figures for manuscripts, grants, etc.

Canva: Visual Suite for Everyone
A great resource for simpler figures (charts, diagrams, etc.) or even inspiration on where to start, Canva has are free and premium tiers, but you can do a lot with the free tier. This platform is good for social media graphics and if something at a high resolution isn't need. It’s quick and easy to learn.

Datawrapper makes clean bar and linecharts that can be easily uploaded into a web newsletter. They have free and paid tiers, but you can do quite a bit with the free tier. The learning curve is moderate.

While figures made with BioRender may look better, there’s nothing wrong with using Powerpoint; plus, many people already know how to use it. It's an excellent tool for editing figures made on another platform.

Here are some resources to help with making graphics readable for those with color blindness:

The Arts: Creating Scientific Figures with Color in Mind
Scroll past the references to find simulators

How to Make Scientific Figures Colorblind Accessible

How to make scientific figures accessible to readers with color-blindness

UNH Professional Development & Training

Adobe Illustrator: Level 1

Adobe Photoshop: Level 1

Digital Design Certificate

Other Sources
Recommended by Grant Development Professionals

Government Proposal Graphics Training
OST Global Solutions

Online courses to learn data visualization principles and software how-tos
Depict Data Studio