Graphic Recording

(& Visual Facilitation)


Photo by Kalawin/iStock / Getty Images

What we see has a profound effect on how we feel and what we remember. Not only do images stimulate the brain to think in new and creative ways, they also have the ability to translate complex ideas clearly and succinctly. As a graphic recorder, my goal is to use the power of visuals, and deep listening, to promote opportunities for learning, connection and transformation. I use visual language to revitalize the energy and interest level of participants. Ideas are captured as they emerge, fostering greater clarity, synergy and shared understanding for the people in the room. 


The right and left hemispheres of our brain process information differently. The right brain focuses on the visual, looking at the whole picture and then honing in on the details. The left brain is verbal, processing information in an analytical and sequential way. When visuals are combined with text, the power of both hemispheres is activated. Participants are able to retain knowledge better and to access new and creative ways for thinking about complex problems. 


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Audiences are craving meetings and presentations that offer creative and fresh approaches that move beyond the slideware status quo. Murals, or large chart work, create unique and interactive opportunities for brainstorming, information transfer and dialogue. These physical artifacts remain in the room long after a presentation has ended, offering a graphic reminder, or cues for further discussion. 


Agendas . Visions & Strategies . Context Maps . Graphic Histories . Organizational Story Maps . Stakeholder Maps . Visual Summaries .


 Visuals, when combined with text, can enhance presentations and meetings in a variety of ways: 

Image: J. Ashley Nixon

Image: J. Ashley Nixon

  • Build a VISUAL SUMMARY of event or session.

  • Squeeze the WISDOM FROM THE GROUP & capture it in TANGIBLE form.

  • Expand RETENTION & UNDERSTANDING of main ideas.

  • Make meetings more FUN!

  • Help to build a COMMON VISION.                                                     

  • Bring CLARITY to complex ideas or issues.

Adapted from Christina Merkley (2005). The Fundamentals of Interactive-Visuals.



A graphic recording (also referred to visual note-takingidea harvestingscribing, visual recording) captures thoughts and ideas in the form of words and images. Recording is done 'in-the-moment', just as the ideas, themes, and perspectives are emerging. Capture the essence of key note speakers, the ideas in your world cafe or group brainstorm in a way that is attractive and memorable.  Visuals created during a graphic recording can be captured digitally as a graphic overview of the key ideas generated in your meeting or event. 

Julie created two beautiful graphic illustrations of our workshop. The ideas that came out of the day were complex and difficult to capture, but Julie rose to the challenge! Julie worked with our team before and throughout the workshop to ensure our vision and needs were met. We have already used the graphic illustrations at two other events to share the ideas that came out of the day. Thank you Julie!
— Amy Spark, Alberta Ecotrust Foundation

Our organization was conducting a full day ideation workshop involving a number of different stakeholder groups and looking for a powerful visual representation of the day. I was originally concerned about the scope of the project - not only did we have several different breakout groups but we were covering multiple topics and needed to capture the entire “journey” of the day from all perspectives. Julie went above and beyond. She was keen to understand the background behind the project so she was well-prepared coming in and she was able to move seamlessly between each group to capture their thinking. Ultimately, we ended up with a fantastic visual summary of the event - an incredibly creative and well thought-out mural that we’ve relied on time and time again. 
I would absolutely recommend Julie for organizations looking for visual facilitation. She is tremendous to work with - easy going, accommodating and delivers an exceptional product.
— Kim Griffin, Research & Strategy at Stone-Olfason

Graphic recording take place on large (4' x 8'...or larger!) pieces of paper/foam core or in smaller sketchnotes (8.5"x11").


Tired of chart paper strewn around the room? Bring visuals and large charts into your process work. Whether it is a strategic planning session, a visioning exercise or a focus group, this interactive and real-time process uses the world of visual thinking to tap into the creativity in the room, to connect ideas and to ignite group intelligence.  The charts are built as a part of a facilitated process and act as a visual record of the collective work the group has done. 

At a strategic planning session, Julie’s talent as an artist combined with her facilitation skills resulted in an engaging visual story for the discussion. She is a thoughtful listener and is able to extract and portray the key discussion elements in a way that helps participants build on and expand their ideas.  As an added bonus, she connects easily with everyone, and her energy and enthusiasm make even difficult discussions seem fun.  Having Julie in the room with her pens and paper means there will be great discussion with engaging and thoughtful visual outputs at the end!
— Karla Reesor, Managing Partner at Moving Forward

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