Tutorial: How to create a graphical abstract for Springer

Tutorial: How to create a graphical abstract for Springer

After a long time studying and working in a lab you finally got the data to publish your paper. How exciting, right?

If you are in the final steps to publish a new paper you probably noticed that a graphical abstract is mandatory to publish in several scientific magazines. This includes magazines of very popular publishers for research paper publication like Elsevier and Springer.

Springer is a publisher with more than 2,900 journals in different scientific fields. They have guidelines to help scientists interested in publish a new paper, including a section about graphical abstracts. I used their guidelines to organize this tutorial on how to create a graphical abstract for Springer.

Firstly, why do I need to create a graphical abstract for Springer and other publishers?

A graphical abstract is a visual representation of the main point of your work. It allows the reader to see at a first glance a summarization of your paper and then decide to read it – or not. In a world where no one has time to waste plus a crescent ocean of information available you need to be assertive and attractive to reach your audience. After all, you worked very hard to get your results and want to people know about it, right? A graphical abstract is a very good ally in this job. Your creation will appear side by side with the headline and the authors name on the homepage.

According to the springer guidelines, “a Graphical Abstract (GA) is mandatory for all submissions. The pictorial representation is intended to attract the attention of the readership. GA illustrates a process or clarifies a specific aspect of the work, ideally an innovation/novelty component. The Graphical abstract should follow the same format guidelines as the figure files, with the exception that it does not require a caption. The GA will be displayed on the online publication venue, but will not appear in-print. The GA cannot be one the manuscript designated Figures.”

I have heard many scientists complain about the difficulty of create a visual representation. After all, we are not designers and accurate scientific illustrations are not always easy to find it. But, you know, that’s the reason we created Mind the Graph, right? We want to empower scientists to comuniccate science visually in an eye-catching way.

These are a few templates available to our users:

graphical abstract springer

What I need to create a graphical abstract for springer?


01. You need to know what are the most important information of your paper

A graphical abstract exists to summarize the content. Do NOT try to put all your data inside a graphical abstract. It is a decoy, to inform the basic and attract the reader for more information.


02. The Guidelines of the magazine you want to publish

For all magazines of the Springer group the guidelines are:

  • The GA should be 8 cm (3.15 inches) wide x 4 cm (1.57 inches) high when printed at full scale (100%), and should have high quality image and text. Please insure that the illustration maintains this aspect ratio and is still informative upon reduction.

To a size of 8 cm (3.15 inches) wide x 4 cm (1.57 inches) you need to set your creation to 500X250 pixels or more. At Mind the graph you can use up to 1500×750 pixels in the graphical abstract format.

  • The figure should be in one of the following file types: .tiff, .eps, .jpg, .bmp, .doc, or .pdf. For “rastered” images (.pdf, .doc, .bmp, .jpg), the resolution should be at least 300 dpi.

On Mind the Graph you will be able to download in pdf and png formats at 300dpi (high resolution).

  • Include a short title and description (about 50 words).

The idea of a graphical abstract is to show your data in a visual way, so the focus must to be on illustrations, charts and other visual elements. The text is a secondary element to help the understading.

03. Professional and attractive scientific illustrations to value your hard work

Well, after years doing research and getting results it is time to publish. The images and illustrations should be on the same level of your research. Otherwise, it can give an unprofessional to your paper.

How to create my graphical abstract for Springer on Mind the Graph?


  • Create an account if you don’t have one yet

It is very easy to create an account on mind the graph. We have a free plan (with limited features). If you choose to be a free user we will NOT request any credit card or payment information and you can be a free user as long as you want.


I recommend you to start as a free user to give it a try and then subscribe to enjoy all the features and create a very professional graphical abstract.

  • Go to ‘My Creations’ section and start a new one or choose a template

The my creations page is where all your creations are organized and displayed. Click on one of them to edit or start a new one.

my creations


Important: If you are a subscriber, you do not need to start from a blank canvas. Go to our gallery and choose your favourite template. 

  • Set the canva size to the springer 

The ratio of the width to the height is two to one: 500x250px

  • Look for illustrations of your field of work

We have more than 8 thousands scientific illustrations available. Search by the name or category of illustrations related to your field of work and choose the best for you.



Important: If you don’t find the illustration you need, don’t worry. Subscribers can request new illustrations at no extra cost. 

  • Combine the elements to create a story

All illustrations from Mind the Graph have a design pattern so you can mix them and have an harmonic creation.

graphical abstract for springer


  • Add text, upload an image and change the background

Try different colors, fonts and change the size of the elements to see possible arrangements. You can also upload a photography or an image of a chart to complete your graphical abstract.



We work to turn this process easy, intuitive and fun. Check out our tutorial video with step-by-step of the creation process:

Are you ready to try it?


mind the graph scientific illustrations

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