Graphic recording


A graphic recorder is someone who captures and synthesizes the ideas and expressions of a person or a group on a large display. He/she uses drawings, words in different fonts, structures and colours to do this.

Graphic recording is usually done in real-time. This means that the graphic recorder is drawing and writing as a person speaks.


Lloyd Dangle at USC Creativity & Collaboration by The Normal Lear Center is licensed under CC BY 2.0

When to use it

Graphic recording can be used to record the outcomes of a lecture, a conference, a meeting, a debate, or any situation that evolves.

During the session, the graphic recording will help the group to see the bigger picture and to connect information. Immediately after the session the group can easily look back upon it. A picture of the graphic recording can be spread via email within minutes so one does not have to wait for a written report. This picture will probably get attention because all key messages will be captured together.

How to use it

The most important thing is to adequately convey the key messages of the conversation into comprehensible images. The process of graphic recording can be roughly divided into four steps:

  1. Prepare: The graphic recorder has to know the topic and the context of the session in advance. He/she cannot be efficient if he/she has to think about how to draw concepts during the talk; he/she would lose track of the conversation. The recorder has to think how to portray key concepts before the session.
  2. Listen: The recorder must give full attention to the speaker and use the the information to structure the drawing. For example, if the speaker says, ‘there are four reasons to…’, the recorder has to take into account that he/she will need enough space to sum up four elements.
  3. Synthesize: There is neither time nor space to take note of everything being said. Therefore, it is crucial that the recorder filters out the key points. This is also important to keep the graphic record comprehensible.
  4. Draw: Keep the drawing simple. It is not important to make drawings artsy or very detailed. The most important thing is that drawings are understandable and that they connect with the content of the story.

How to do it

These two short videos explain what graphic recording is and show the practice of graphic recording.

Result of a workshop during the ‘Training of Trainers Forum’, ITCILO, Turin, in November 2014, in which Mrs. Sara Seravalle taught participants how to graphically record their own story.


Sara Serravalle


Sara Serravalle


In order to do quality graphic recording, one has to be a good listener. Sunni Brown provides some truisms and trips.

An article with useful tips for (beginning) graphic recorders.

Sunni Brown on doodling and the power of visual communication. This book, written by Sunni Brown, teaches you how to use simple drawings (that anybody can do) to improve communication.

The Doodle Revolution: Unlock the Power to Think Differently. Rachel Smith about drawing in class and on how to do visual note-taking.

Rachel Smith explains how to do graphic recording on a Tablet.

A community for visual practitioners.

The video shows a 7-step process to make clear drawings with simple forms. Anybody can do this, even if they think they do not possess any drawing skills.

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