Taking sketchnotes while attending a lecture or a meeting helps you take in information about 29% better than a person who takes regular notes. (Brown, 2011)

My sketchnotes of the TED talk by Sunni Brown

Still, a lot of people look down on sketching while in important board meetings and class rooms. Sunni Brown thinks this is because doodling has a bad name, doodling literally means to do nothing and what boss or teacher would want their employee or student to do nothing? She thinks this is because our culture is based too much on verbal information, ignoring our visual instincts.

Sunni argues that sketching actually is a preemptive method to stop you from losing focus. There are four ways to take in information; visual, auditory, writing/reading and kinesthetic. Because sketching combines those four ways it’s so effective according to Sunni.

I attended a lecture by Eva-Lotta Hamm two months ago, Eva-Lotta makes sketchnotes at all the talks and meetings she goes to. She uses 5 steps to improve note taking.

Step 1: Use chuncks

Chuncks of text make it easier to scan through your notes and know what’s related and what’s not. Convey just one thought per chunck, leave some space around it and only use 2–4 words per line.

Step 2: Use keywords

Titles or keywords can help you to convey the importance of a chunck or several chuncks of text.

Step 3: Visual hierarchy

Underline or frame chuncks and sketches that are connected. Use different font styles, -weights and colors to convey importance, but be consistent.

Step 4: Add structure

Connect elements with lines and arrows. Devide elements with seperators/deviders. Group elements by using containers. Tip: Capture first, structure later.

Step 5: Add visual hooks

‘Visual hooks’, small sketches, help guide your eye over the page. Use simple shapes and create simple images.


Brown, S. (2011, September 26). Sunni Brown: Doodlers, unite! [Video file]. Retrieved from

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