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Graphic Recording

Graphic Recording

Graphic Recording

Use this framework to record and maintain interest in an event

A picture has always been worth 1000 words. It has become popular following Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur’s book, The Business Model Canvas (2008). This showed how building blocks, pictorial if possible, can help us understand business models.


Graphic recording, sometimes referred to as live illustration or visual scribing, is where an artist creates a real time picture of a live event. It is a novel way of capturing the ideas of a meeting and making it more memorable and inspiring.

Capturing the event pictorially isn't easy. For a start, the graphic recorder has to be a good artist. They also have to be a great listener and quick at their work to capture the ideas before they are lost. This requires high concentration and stamina.

Take for example a roundtable meeting that was held to discuss customer experience. The graphic recorder heard lots of examples of trends and captured them in a cartoon. Key issues such as customer retention were illustrated as somebody being pulled in by a magnet and personalised experiences were illustrated by a tailor fitting someone's suit. Such images carry a punch and are memorable.

In the workshop the group moved on to discuss challenges and successes in customer experience. The importance of bringing senior leadership on board was emphasized with a money bag on top of a corporate building. A helicopter airlifting someone out of a crowd was underlined with the caption “it is important to hire people with the right mindset”. The helicopter was removing someone with the wrong mindset.

This led to a third stage in the discussion which covered creative ways of generating high customer satisfaction.

The roundtable itself was a useful and engaging discussion. People who attended got lots out of the meeting. The graphic was circulated and provided a strong reminder of the event. It locked ideas into people's memories, it maintained interest in the subject, and it drove lots of actions.



Here are steps on how to effectively use graphic recording in a business context:


Define Objectives: Clearly define the objectives of the meeting, workshop, or event where graphic recording will be used. Determine what key messages, insights, or outcomes need to be captured visually.

Engage a Graphic Recorder: If you don't have an in-house visual facilitator, consider hiring a professional graphic recorder or visual facilitator. These individuals are skilled in real-time visual communication and can transform complex ideas into visually engaging representations.

Prepare the Workspace: Set up a designated space for the graphic recorder, ideally within view of all participants. Ensure they have the necessary tools such as large sheets of paper, markers, and any other materials they may need.

Introduce Graphic Recording: At the beginning of the meeting or event, introduce the concept of graphic recording to participants. Explain how it works and emphasise its role in enhancing communication, capturing key points, and fostering creativity.

Encourage Participation: Encourage participants to contribute ideas, insights, and key points that they would like to see visually represented. This not only engages participants but also ensures that the graphic recording aligns with the collective understanding of the group.

Real-Time Visual Capture: As discussions unfold, the graphic recorder captures key ideas, concepts, and discussions in real-time. This may involve creating mind maps, diagrams, illustrations, or incorporating keywords and phrases.

Foster Collaboration: Use the graphic recording process as a tool for collaboration. Encourage participants to comment on the visuals as they are being created, providing feedback or suggesting additional insights.

Summarise and Highlight Key Points: Graphic recording serves as a dynamic and visual summary of the meeting or workshop. The visual representation should highlight key takeaways, action items, and any decisions made during the session.

Share the Visuals: After the session, share the graphic recording with participants. This can be done digitally or by providing physical copies. The visuals serve as a valuable reference and reinforce the shared understanding of the discussed topics.

Follow-Up and Integration: Use the graphic recording as a reference for follow-up actions and discussions. Integrate the visuals into reports, presentations, or documentation to reinforce key messages and insights.

Collect Feedback: Gather feedback from participants about the effectiveness of using graphic recording. Assess whether it added value to the communication process and if there are ways to improve its application in future sessions.


Some things to think about:


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