Sunday, May 27, 2012

Graphic Recording

Landed in Berlin on Thursday and for the past two days I was in a graphic recording workshop at K Salon: the reason I had to come back so quickly and could not stay in Myanmar more time. Anne Madsen,  a kaos pilot graduate from Denmark who works professionally on this, was facilitating the workshop and we (art of hosting and art of transformation lab friends) co-organized it.

I have to say it had a perfect mix of teaching and practice, a perfectly designed two-day process where you, even if you were jetlagged, could make the most of it. There was a good mix also between the individual work, in pairs, groups, table or the whole room as well. Here are more photos!

So, I was the shy type when requested to draw as a child, but we got in touch with our child memories and departed from there (I remembered that I always used to draw ponds with water and trees/mountains around, what nature means to me I guess...). Since 2008 when I got to know of the company Xplane (love their discovery cards!) with my Hub work, I have wanted to work on this: making the complex simple by visualizing it in drawings with icons and sketches. This work also comes from infographics in media that had the same purpose.

We started with a check-in, moved to the purpose, outcome and principles of it and got to know of the differences between visual recording, visual strategic communication and graphic facilitation. The first one involves harvesting, while the second working with a team for them to use the tool afterwards and the third actually to facilitate a workshop (the one that needs mastery to be able to do everything at the same time: guide the process, make the good question and cristalize it visually at the same time). They all need practice though!

We also played pictionary and learned from that experience. We drew our life stories and also worked on a personal project. Part of the learnings was to listen in a structured way, listening for different categories or concepts to later put in images. We created an icon library with words proposed by the group that were important to us: co-creation, purpose, collaboration, among others. Wonderful experience which I hope to use in my everyday work! Some ideas I´d like to keep in mind and that also come from design/communications:
  • The way we read images in each culture is similar to the way we read text, and we need to provide a clear way of reading it!
  • Reach clarity yourself before drawing to be able to make complex things simple
  • Give "air" (white) to your images letting the eye rest in some places
  • Provide a frame to your drawings, it grounds them
  • Include a main headline and also smaller ones (not more than 5-6 per poster)
  • Color-coding: Using the same colour for similar type of information. 2 or 3 colours are enough.
  • If you have time, you can use post-its first and then draw the complete thing
  • Balance: There has to be balance between icons and text (content is the king! but visual the queen!)
  • Templates: Its good to use them, some can be more static or descriptive or more dynamic or action-oriented (depending on the type of work and meeting)
  • Practice practice practice!
  • Choosing an angle: Stories are not linear so chosing a structure is important to thread the story/topic.
  • Cheat! Yes, in this discipline its ok to cheat, give and take, re-interpret, etc. There are loads of icon library resources... :-)

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