Visual Note-Taking

Recently, at the 2017 HOW Design Conference, an illustrator named Mike Rohde led a workshop called “Sketchnotes.” This is not just doodling, but it can also be used as a way to make more memorable shorthand notes that keep you interested, spark memory and retention, and are just plain fun!

When you mesh words and images together, it can become a powerful and helpful tool in communicating and remembering information and ideas. It forces the note-taker to become an active listener. Turning the key points into an analysis and interpretation of the information rather than simply taking word for word, verbatim notes. In distilling the information, the notes become that much more valuable.

To add even more legitimacy, the whole idea of “Sketchnotes” is actually rooted in a physiological Dual-Coding Theory. Developed by Allan Paivio, who theorized that cognition and processing of verbal and non-verbal information could be divided into separate but related systems. His idea was, what if our brains have different components or systems that process words differently from images that represent the same word? A spoken word can trigger a thought of something nonverbal … and vice versa! Interesting idea!

Tips for making your own Sketchnotes:

  • Hone in on key ideas and “draw” your own conclusions
  • Interpret what you hear, and represent it using images or icons instead of writing word for word notes


I have a feeling my notes are about to become much more interesting!


Tuesday RohdeMike HOW Sketchnote Masterclass Page 12 Tuesday RohdeMike HOW Sketchnote Masterclass Page 13 Tuesday RohdeMike HOW Sketchnote Masterclass Page 14


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