Date: January 21, 2016
Date: January 21, 2016
Date: January 21, 2016
You may be familiar with the design sprint, or the book sprint, or the software development sprint, but have you heard of the illustration sprint? I wouldn’t be surprised if you hadn’t, because I just made it up.
The reason for this neologism is that I was recently contacted by the author of a book about startups in Germany, and he wanted a lot of illustrations done quickly. His idea was to sit down for a day and create as many illustrations for the book as possible.
I immediately liked the idea, but realized that the sprint required careful planning. For one thing, the style of the illustrations had to be determined beforehand. Fortunately, my collaborator really liked my sketchnotes about a talk by Mercedes Bunz.
After we had established a date, we sat down together at my kitchen table, and started drawing. Surprisingly, only a few images went into the bin, while 36 drawings were considered good enough to be reproduced in the book. Considering that we worked for eight hours straight, that is an average of 13 minutes per drawing!
Lately, I’ve been involved in a product design process with MICT, IXDS, and now Sourcefabric. While I can’t say much about the product itself and its specifications, while it’s still under development, I’d like to share some insights about the use of sketchnotes in the process.
Apart from the obvious advantages of having a visual record you can refer back to while in a meeting as well as after the meeting, I also find the visuals useful as a focusing device, and as an indicator of progress.
Once people get used to the fact that I happily doodle along while they’re talking, and only occasionally add one of my own observations or ask a question, it’s quickly established that a lull in a meeting either stops my pen entirely, or sends me into a crosshatching trance on some minor detail.
On the other hand, progress makes my pen fly, and spurs my imagination, so I will quickly add lots of new associations to an idea when the conversation is focused on results. So I find people generally more focused when I take visual notes.
You can find the full set of visual product development sketchnotes here.
Last month I had the pleasure to attend the inaugural meeting of vizthink Berlin, a spin-off of the Hamburg-based group of visual thinkers, graphic recorders and graphic facilitators. The meetup was organized by social entrepreneur Wiebke Koch, and moderated by Zackes Brustik and graphic artist Naho Iguchi. Naho also provided a brief overview of the history of graphic recording, which I captured in the image below …
Last week, I went to a round-table discussion on “The internet and human rights” at the German Foreign Office. Among the attendees were representatives of Reporters without Borders, Human Rights Watch, Tactical Tech, and the Open Knowledge Foundation. The discussion was not easy to follow, and I made a few mistakes (e.g. Tropico instead of the German surveillance technology provider Trovicor), but I still think I managed to capture the spirit of the discussion. Go, and see for yourself on Flickr:
Last week, I went to the Newsroom Innovation Ideathon organized by WAN-IFRA, as part of Tech Open Air Berlin. Among the participants were Adam Thomas from Storyful, Sebastian Horn from Sourcefabric, Christian Lüdtke from Etventure, Stephen Fozard and Cherrilyn Ireton from WAN-IFRA, Steffen Konrath from Liquid Newsroom, and Ulrich Schmitz from Axel Springer. While it took a while to get through the introductions, I really enjoyed the conversation, and I am confident that those ideas will be developed further during the follow-up hackathon planned for later this year. You can find my sketchnotes from the events on my Flickr page and on Slideshare.
If icons are the graphic facilitator’s bread and butter, visual metaphors are the peanut butter and jelly. I started building up a repertoire of visual metaphors that I can use in a variety of contexts. This example is from a meeting about the Media&Makers: Juba conference in South Sudan.
Brainstorming meetings about a print edition of correspondents.org, with stories from Tunisia, Libya and Egypt, proved to be particularly inspiring for my visual imagination.
When I discovered the power of visual notetaking, I started doodling at every meeting I attended, slowly refining my style, and building up my icon library.