You have got to love a sketchnote. These friendly, colourful records of a meeting or discussion are so much more than the sum of their parts. With a sketchnote you get all of the benefits of working visually, namely greater understanding and greater retention, for yourself.

If you’re not familiar with sketchnotes then here some I did a little while ago at a TEDx event in Liverpool.

sketchnoting at TEDx
sketchnoting TEDx
sketchnoting at TEDx
sketchnoting at TEDx

The sketchnote I've pulled out here is from a talk by Steve Clayton who is Microsoft's chief storyteller (cool job eh?) Now it’s likely that none of you reading this were actually at this event, so take a moment and really have a look at it.

From a standing start, do you now think you know what the talk covered? Maybe.

If not, can you see some of the main points of the talk? Probably.

Do you have a sense of Steve's view on life and work? Yep, you probably do.

Do you think you could now share a couple of simple points about this presentation with a friend over coffee? I’m guessing so. Pretty impressive considering you weren’t there don't you think?

A sketchnote isn’t supposed to replace written minutes where they are necessary, but for lots of us the pages of notes we have written are left unread, are sometimes unintelligible or illegible and are often quickly forgotten. All of those interesting snippets of information we have just gained are hard to retain without a memory jogger, and heaps of hard won information is lost to us, information that we thought was important enough to take time out to hear in the first place. Lost. 

More people are sketchnoting for themselves than ever before. For personal and business record taking, sketchnotes can be an accessible replacement or addition to formal written minutes. If you are on twitter, pinterest or insta #sketchnotes and you will find lots of great examples.

sketchnoting at TEDx Steve Clayton Microsoft

Now you might be thinking “It’s all very well for you, but I can’t draw!”. Don’t fret, it’s really not an artistic exercise at all. Even the most basic stickpeople (along with words) will help to jog your memory and make your notes much more useful to you.

(Of course if you do want to become a sketchnoting whizz and you'd prefer some training than going it alone, get in touch and I can give you the low down on our training options).

There are plenty of reasons why you should use sketchnotes and here are my top three…

1. pictures and words together tap into multiple learning styles.

2. visual information is more easily retained than words alone.

3. and of course, it’s much more fun to review your notes when they are sketchnotes.

So if you haven’t tried it already, and find yourself in a situation where you might usually scribble some written notes, why not have a go? You just might find that it really is ‘sketchnotes to the rescue’.


It’s really exciting to have our new website up and running; I hope you like it. Everyone who has a website knows that it doesn’t happen by magic and that lots of thought and time (not to mention money) gets invested in trying to create the perfect site. We do it because good sites make business sense right?

You want a site that shows the world “here I am!” “yes, I’m just what you’re looking for…”. You want a site that helps your existing and future clients understand how your services can benefit them and how they can access these benefits. You want a site that helps your business to flourish.

illustration by Cara Holland

We know it’s important that the outside world ‘hears’ us if we are going to succeed. In fact we can go one step further than that… we know it’s really important that the outside world hears and understands our messages, whether it’s the good cause we are promoting or our latest product launch. Without being ‘heard’ no one will know who we are and what we can offer them.

I'm passionate about developing our visual language and visual thinking skills, and it got me thinking… we could speak louder, or more often… but perhaps there is something else to consider before you start shouting.

Whatever your business is, and whoever your customers are, you can bet an awful lot of them will be visually absorbing your information as well as just ‘reading’ your content. So if you’re not a visual business, have you paid enough attention to how you are ‘seen’ as well as ‘heard’?

You might not know it but what your site visually says about you and your service can be more important than all of the other elements combined. The ‘Picture Superiority Effect’ (evolved from work by people such as Alan Paivio’s exploration of how our mind retains information) has shown that concepts are much more likely to be understood and remembered if they are presented in pictures rather than words.

As a Graphic Recorder and a Graphic Facilitator I get to see how effective working visually is for businesses every day. In fact our brain is so geared up for absorbing visual messages it really is a shame not to take advantage of it. 

So next time you are reviewing your website, pay some well needed attention to how you are being seen if you really want to be heard.