Different Visual Languages of Graphic Recording: Aligning to Your Organization

Posted by on Jan 3, 2018 in blog, Graphic Facilitation, graphic facilitator, graphic recorder, Graphic Recording, scribing, visual facilitation, Visuals

Every graphic recorder has a different style – some of us are highly visual, integrating lots of characters and images. Others are more text-based, utilizing structured bullet points, boxes, and fonts. And of course there is a spectrum of visual styles in between. Likewise, every organization has a different “language” when it comes to articulating ideas, representing themselves, or understanding a concept. A financial investment firm talks about concepts and ideas differently compared to a community arts non-profit. It’s crucial that an organization finds the right match when sourcing a graphic recorder or graphic facilitator for an upcoming meeting. There are many aspects to consider, such as professionalism, style of facilitation, previous experience, to name just a few. But you might also consider the visual language of the graphic recorder. Identifying the Ideal Visual Language We’ve found our clients are served best when we take the time to understand a company’s culture of communication and align our graphic recording style to match. For example, we recently graphic recorded for Vanderbilt University at a professional roundtable for physicians across the United States. In the months leading up to the session, we asked the client a few questions to get a sense of their preferred visual style: 1. What was their previous experience with graphic recorders? What worked / didn’t work so well? 2. How do they plan to use the graphics after the event? Will they email participants the digital graphics? Or will the graphics also be used in reports, printed materials, or presentations? 3. Can you share any communication materials and/or Power Points with us so we can get a sense of your style of communication? 4. In the examples below, what style feels the best suited to your organization and how you talk about ideas or represent yourselves? (Text-based graphic recording vs. Visual graphic recording) Text-based graphic recordings  These have fewer images, and are typically more structured / organized. Images are less playful, with a few exceptions. Example of a text and bullet point graphic recording, organized under image headings. (confidential information blurred) Example of a blend of text, arrows/lines, and a few key images. Visual graphic recordings This style of graphic recording utilizes highly visual layouts, playful humour, and lots of colours. It’s effective at grabbing people’s attention at large events. Character Style We also had the client identify what style of characters they felt best suited their communication style. Below are just two examples. The client preferred a clean graphics style, figurative characters, with icons wherever possible that could be isolated for use in other materials. They also told us that previous graphic recorders had chosen metaphors or images that were cliched and unrelated to their industry, which didn’t resonate with people in the meeting. Knowing all of this ahead of time, we went in with a clear style plan for the graphics. And the response was overwhelmingly positive – participants at the conference were fully...

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Graphic Recording on Haida Gwaii

Posted by on Jul 29, 2014 in blog, Graphic Facilitation, Graphic Recording, Visuals

Haida Gwaii is a clutch of islands off the coast of BC.  It’s a place of towering totems, endless beaches, and a people who have deep roots and an unwavering passion for these islands. I lived on Haida Gwaii as a baby  —  it was where I first came to Canada from New Zealand.   The only memory I have is of digging for clams with a plastic shovel on a wide stretch of beach … not a bad introduction to life in Canada! I’ve made two trips to Haida Gwaii this summer to graphic record for a group helping to plan the future of these islands.   The group consists of people from a variety of backgrounds — Haida, non-Haida, new residents, and those who’ve lived there for decades.   With so many points of view, the graphic recordings anchored the discussion and really helped open people’s minds to new perspectives.  By the end of our first workshop, the walls were covered with graphic recordings  —  a tangible record of the work being done. “We’re headed in the right direction — just look at where we’ve come and where we’re going now,” someone remarked while viewing the historical map we’d created.   Graphic recording is a powerful tool when you’re bringing together stakeholders with different perspectives — it’s a valuable anchor if the group loses focus or starts down a tangential path.  Differing opinions are shown side-by-side.  Complex ideas are visualized, and therefore recalled more easily. The work on Haida Gwaii is still on-going, but one of the best parts of my job is when I can continue to help a group plan their way forward, especially during times of great...

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The ‘Half-Life’ of Visuals

Posted by on Dec 4, 2012 in blog, Graphic Recording, Visuals

  I attended a recent Social Media workshop where author and entrepreneur, Jason Miles, gave a presentation on the power of Pinterest. He pointed out that above all else, “videos and images have the longest ‘half-life’ of all forms of communication.” I was struck by how obvious this is.       Twitter is an endless conversation stacking on top of itself – your tweets are quickly buried within an hour, sometimes within minutes. The same goes for Facebook status updates.         Blogposts are only as fresh as the date they were created – and so much effort goes into a well-written post!             However, great videos will continue to accumulate views on YouTube years after they were posted. Likewise, images can be shared, liked, and ‘re-pinned’ long after their original posting. The decay rate of visuals is much slower than text based communication.     Instead of wasting time with text-based news releases, an organization will have greater impact if it sends out an infographic, video, or an eye-catching photograph. Humans process visual information in a fraction of the time it takes to read text. This is also why graphic recording is such a powerful tool during meetings.     Is your organization using visuals? Have you noticed a difference in the effectiveness? Check out my illustrated videos and graphic recordings for inspiration!...

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