The College of Arts & Sciences (CAS) Research Support Office is piloting an effort to provide graphic design and development services to help increase the competitiveness of grant proposals for principal investigators. This program aims to create products with visually stunning graphics and images that resonate with funding agencies and reviewers while effectively conveying the intended message. The highest goal we can achieve is to find relatable accessible imagery for the proposals!

Eligibility for Support

All CU Boulder tenured and tenure-track faculty, teaching faculty and career track research faculty (i.e., research professors series, senior research associates and research associates) who hold an appointment in CAS are eligible for support. Support is subject to the graphic designer’s availability.

Should demand for services exceed the graphic designer’s availability, priority will be given to pre-tenure faculty and non-institute rostered faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences, as well as proposals with budgets greater than $200,000 for the CAS portion.

Principal investigators receiving support agree to work directly with the graphic designer, providing information and answering questions promptly to facilitate the product.

Types of Support

Our graphic designer offers the following services:

  • Illustration and Graphic Design: Produce original illustrations, graphics, diagrams and other visual assets that effectively communicate complex scientific concepts. Ensure designs are visually engaging and align with proposal goals and any CU/department branding.
  • Content Enhancement: Collaborate with content creators and subject matter experts (e.g., faculty, scientists, staff and grad students) to enhance the visual appeal of the College of Arts and Sciences-related proposals.
  • Concept Development and Storyboarding: Work closely with proposal creators to brainstorm and develop visual concepts and storyboards for various projects. Provide creative input to improve scientific content visual representation.
  • Quality Control: Review and provide feedback on the visual elements of products to maintain a high standard of quality, readability, consistency and accuracy.

Requesting Support

Submission Process:

Contact Eric Parrish at:

You will meet over Zoom (preferred) or in person (if needed) to discuss your project requirements. During the meeting, you will work with Eric to agree upon the specific complexity level and turnaround time.  

Submission Deadline: Requests should be submitted at least four to six weeks in advance of the OCG submission deadline to provide time for high quality product development. This allows time for development, review, feedback and revisions. Final products are developed in three stages:

  1. Initial meeting and project assessment.
  2. Rough conceptual drafts.
  3. Final draft (*only minor edits are allowed at this stage).

*Note: We strive to keep within these review parameters to maintain timelines and workflow.

The project will take longer than stated if you cannot review designs the within proposed schedule. Below are estimated turnaround times based on complexity of the design:

Single panel simple graphics:

Turnaround time: one to two weeks from initial consultation meeting.

Intermediate illustrations or graphics:

Turnaround time: two to three weeks from initial consultation meeting.

Complex illustrations or graphics:

Turnaround time: three to four weeks from initial consultation meeting.

Custom or large projects:

Turnaround time: TBD.

About the Designer:

Eric Parrish is a trained designer, graphic designer and illustrator who has made a career of communicating science at the University of Colorado Boulder and the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. He has direct experience in anthropology, paleontology and Earth science and is excited to work with other research fields.

Example designs:

(click on image for larger version)