The purpose of Sketchnoting

Ever since I started Communication and Multimedia Design the teachers keep on telling us to sketch notes. But what is sketchnoting and why should we do that?

Sketchnoting is a way to translate your ordinary written text to a visual story. Instead of describing the information in text, you describe them in sketches.

But why do it? I was very sceptical about this method. Written notes have worked for me so far, so why stop now? I’m not a good drawer and this way I wouldn’t even want to share my notes. If you read the two last sentences again, you probably can detect some insecurity. Just get over it.

After the third time trying to sketch note for a period, I finally got the hang of it. Sketchnoting isn’t about drawing and it isn’t about perfection. It’s about visualizing the things you are trying to understand or learn. Several studies come to the conclusion that the combination of using text and visuals is more effective than text only (Gilbert, 2016). Besides it being helpful with learning, it’s way more fun to look back at your notes. If i’m honest, I never took another look at my notes if I didn’t really need them. Nowadays I often flip through my booklet and (proudly) look back at my notes.

Eva-Lotta Lamm has some tips for note taking. She is a UX-designer and she has written several books about sketchnoting. During a talk that I recently visited of hers, she gave us some guidelines in how to change your note taking in 5 steps.

  1. Write in chunks
  2. Choose the most important word and make it big
  3. Make visual hierarchy with size, style, contrast, color, underlines and frames
  4. Add structure by grouping, dividing and connecting
  5. Add visual hooks

What she also told us is that after you have created your own style, try to be consistent. This way your notes will become easier to scan (Lamm, n.d.).

My sketchnotes of her demo

With a few easy steps, you can change a boring piece of paper into a little masterpiece. Which makes it fun to look at.

So here are some tips of my own:
- Accept you aren’t Michelangelo
- Start with simple shapes
- Using different fonts can make a big difference

And remember to practice, practice, practice. You will get there!

Resources
Gilbert, N. (2016) Sketchnotes: The What, Why, and How of Visual Note-Taking. Retrieved at: https://blog.learningbird.com/sketchnotes-the-what-why-and-how-of-visual-note-taking/

Lamm, E. (n.d.). About. Retrieved at: http://www.sketchnotesbook.com/about/

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