It’s not a doodle

24th May 2019

It’s not a doodle

I’ve always been more of a visual learner, so it was my personal goal to land a job in the creative industries. I was fortunate enough to get that opportunity at a talk Nick (the owner of Nick Did This) was giving at my university to design students in August 2019. Lisa, the General Manager at Nick Did This, caught me taking notes while listening to the talk and asked to see them. Little did I know that what I was doing at that talk was very similar to Graphic Recording. An email and a few calls later, I was in for an internship. And now a Junior Designer at Nick Did This where I’m encouraged to pursue my love for lettering, illustration and graphic recording.

If you’ve never heard of Graphic Recording before, here’s a brief explanation. Graphic Recording has a few names, the more formal ‘Graphic Facilitation’, or the less formal ‘Sketch Noting’ or ‘Info-doodler’. The graphic recorder is the silent but observant outsider. Listening at a meeting, talk or event and synthesizing that information into hand drawn / illustrated images and words in front of the audience. The end product is a visual map of the conversation that can come in the form of a video or high-resolution image.

They say a picture paints a thousand words. Graphic Recording takes complex ideas and makes them easier to comprehend through the combination of visual, written and auditory learning styles. It’s a recipe for higher concentration levels, increased information processing and memory retention compared to a meeting that might only use auditory listening skills. Having a Graphic Recorder is almost like having a live infographic for the audience to watch at an event.

I’ve been taking notes like this for most of my school and university life. But it was only after meeting Lisa at Nick’s talk and discovering Jimmy Patch, who is a Graphic Recorder in Brisbane, that I wanted to put in the effort to learn more about Graphic Recording and how it works.

At every opportunity, I’m practicing Graphic Recording. The biggest challenge isn’t the drawing or lettering necessarily – it’s being able to recognise the peaks and flows of a talk. To look at a talk holistically and only pull out the relevant information then divide that information into easy to understand chunks.

There is a thrill in the process of listening intently, consciously filtering that information and piecing it together in a fun and easy to understand way. It’s definitely something that I genuinely enjoy and get a kick out of.

– Samantha Ansell,
Junior Designer at Nick Did This