Category: Graphic facilitation

Transforming UK election discussions into pictures

In September the BBC invited us to capture the ideas and opinions of the British public on the country’s elections.

As BBC Breakfast starts early, we travelled from London to their headquarters in Manchester the day before and carried out extensive research into the elections and relevant issues for the community. We wanted to capture people’s true emotions.

Members of various societal groups were also invited to the programme, including a diversity of gender, race, age and opinion. Fertile ground for our graphic recording work.

The freezing climate and constant wind were no obstacle for our scribe, David Jesus Vignolli.

‘When your attention is focused on drawing the conversations and what people are talking about, you do not feel the cold or the wind. The only moment I realised they were there, was when I had to hold the sheet of paper so it did not fly away,’ said David.

The result of the work was a collage of ideas generated by the public and a record of the programme, which was held on such an important day for the country’s future.

The Independence Conference marked 20 years since the Bank of England was granted independence to set interest rates. The Bank of England wanted to take a step back and reflect on central bank independence, its practical application and future challenges.

We created a series of animations summarising the 2 days:


Read full article here:

How is the economy going? Illustrations will tell you

In recent months, together with the Bank of England, we have travelled the roads and railways to capture, through our drawings, the issues that affect the day to day lives of the British public.

The Bank of England wants to know and hear how the economy is impacting people’s lives.

Always equipped with an Ipad Pro, we provide graphic facilitation of meetings between representatives of the Bank and the community. As these events wish to provide a platform to the greatest possible portion of society and most of the time this means visiting many different locations on the same day.

Flexibility and journalistic spirit are important requirements. You need to be versatile and adapt to drawing either whilst standing or sitting on the floor or between tables and always prepared to adopt a new position at any given time. The desire to obtain relevant, factual information and accurately capture the data is the basis of a good visual recording.

At the end of the day, we have produced a series of illustrations that will be shared on the Bank’s website and social media. Maintaining open and accessible communication with the general public.

For us it is one of the richest visual recording exercises, interacting with so many different people and experiencing the multitude of visions and accents from around the UK.


Canon Future Book Forum case study

Scribing is a super effective way to enrich information by transforming your ideas into pictures. This helps you to communicate more effectively – because, you see, people remember pictures far more than they remember words. What’s more is that pictures can be shared again and again without getting lost in the piles and piles of ‘word overload’ so often present in emails, reports and other internal communications within offices.

Sharing scribed images will dramatically help maximise the impact and reach of your message – after all a picture is worth a thousand words.

Not only this but a scribed image can be used across all media platforms over and over again in many different formats: use these pictures in brochures, websites, social media, frame them and give them to participants as awards! The more you share scribed illustrations the more the information will be absorbed.

A great example of this was our recent work with Canon. We scribed for their Future Book Forum brochure – and had great fun doing so! Our pictures didn’t just feature pretty faces – they helped Canon deliver powerful messages in a format that’s really easy to understand. More importantly our images sparked people’s curiosity and made the whole forum much more fun. And as we all know: if things are fun, things are memorable.

Visual scribing was the perfect communicative tool for a forum that is reinventing the book itself.

So say it with pictures!

scribing-the-ultimate-way-to-enrich-your-event-documentation-canon-book-forum scribing-the-ultimate-way-to-enrich-your-event-documentation-canon-book-forum scribing-the-ultimate-way-to-enrich-your-event-documentation

Remote Scribing – Visuals from cyberspace

You heard it here first! Remote scribing is now becoming more and more of a norm – especially with our clients abroad.

Eurofinance – The Economist Group case study

At the Eurofinance event – Treasure At a Tipping Point – in Vienna, we captured all the discussion remotely from London. Amazing! We followed the hashtag #eurofinance and transformed the key reactions from speakers and participants into illustrations which were then tweeted minutes later. Wowsers – it was high-octane stuff! Our illustrations helped communicate the Eurofinance message perfectly into a really fun shareable format. We therefore helped maximise the exposure of the Eurofinance brand. And most importantly our drawings piqued people’s interest and drew them in to the discussion. 

remote scribing case study

Our visual coverage of the event was then ‘shareable’ by other participants outside of the forum.

In essence our illustrations connected the speakers’ ideas to the whole World.

By the end of the day, “visual summaries” were tweeted so that everyone could have an overview of the entire event. Genius.

These illustrations are created in high resolution which means they can be used over and over again in brochures and/or on any other communication material. Importantly they can also be used to advertise next year´s event. So it’s a win-win situation.

remote scribing case study

Still not sure what we’re on about?

Remote scribing is a technique where the scribe is not physically present at the event but scribes remotely by following a live broadcast, social media hashtags or even text messages. It’s fast and it’s furious …but we love it! Contact us to find out more.

remote scribing case study

open-forum-2016-graphic-facilitation-2Above you can see the gallery created by our scribes for this year’s Bank of England Future Forum. This is a major event that connects the Bank of England to the wider public. These illustrations are really important not only because they make the financial services easier to understand, but they also stay in the minds of the viewers longer than lengthy banking text. Where people might not bother to read a document, they will always look at a picture.


The workplace of today spans different geographic locations and consists of a lively mix of people from various cultures, speaking many languages and following different social codes.

Even if everyone is fluent in English, business language is filled with nuances of meaning and is open to interpretation. For example, if a Brit says something “sounds interesting” he most likely means “I’m not that keen” but a German colleague may conclude that he is genuinely impressed.

There are countless anecdotes of words being misinterpreted and meanings altered and, as amusing as those stories are, retold over a cup of coffee, they can drive you crazy if you happen to lead a global team. “What you say can be magnified or minimalised based on your listener’s cultural context.” (Mayer)

Direct cultures

Erin Mayer highlights in her article on Harvard Business Network how different cultures communicate. The more direct ones use what is referred by linguists as upgraders – words that reinforce the statement, such as: this is totally unprofessional, your behaviour is absolutely wrong.

Less direct cultures

Other less direct cultures use downgraders, words that soften the criticism. For example: “We are not quite there yet”, when what you want to say is “We are nowhere near completing this”.

One can imagine all the humour and chaos created by people from direct and indirect cultures working together. Mayer gives the example of a German who almost loses his job because he misinterprets the suggestion by his British boss that he rethink the way he does something as a choice, whilst it’s more of an order along the lines “Change your behaviour right away or else”.

No one wants to be misunderstood. So how does one successfully communicate important strategies and content to an international team?

1. It´s helpful to know when to use downgraders and when upgraders.

2. Use of images can ensure that everyone is on the same page. Images support and clarify words and communicate on a universal level, transcending socio cultural differences.

Leading a global team visual scribing

Canon, world leader in imaging solutions, opened the doors of its Customer Experience Center in Germany, for its Future Book Forum 2015. Visual Scribing was there capturing the key points of conversations and presentations; and translating them into a massive knowledge wall full of engaging visuals.

They say a picture is a thousand words and this is certainly true. In a time where attention spans are a rare commodity bullet pointed powerpoint presentations are becoming more and more ineffectual and, we feel, should by now be extinct. It is our strong belief that by translating messages into engaging visuals we can help facilitate communication and get your message across faster and better – people understand pictures without having to read words, and more importantly people remember pictures more than they do words. Our drawing skills and design expertise help us transform our clients’ presentations into engaging experiences. 


A Typical Assignment

Our client had a room packed with A1 sheets covered with hand written bullet points. The result of long hours of discussion and too many cups of coffee – a terrifying vision if you are looking for a succinct message. They needed clarity – the way to obtain this is through effective visuals that encapsulate their ideas. This is where we come in!  

Our Approach

The first thing we did was to reduce the number of bullet points. We listened carefully to our client’s story – with our years of experience in communication and the fact that we were ‘outside’ the problem it was therefore easy to identify the key messages that would form the basis of our illustrations. Our objective was to create the “Patient of the Future” and explain how modern technologies can help people have healthier lives. Once the most important bullet points were highlighted we used them to create a rough layout. While our client talked we drew quick sketches generating a ‘collaborative lab’ in the room. Clients bring their expertise and we add our unique vision – and it is this combination that results in a very efficient and fun way to work. After creating the initial draft, we decided which style and colours best told the story (usually the client’s brand colours). After these

preparations our scribe drew the final illustrations on big A1 boards. Et Voila! The client loved it – it happened in front of their eyes and they were able to give us feedback there and then. These live sessions allow us to facilitate the ultimate collaborative process.

The Result

The presentation was very successful. Live scribing your bullet points and powerpoint slides is a way to create a unique and remarkable experience for your audience. Ultimately you can communicate your message faster and better.


The concept was later transformed into a video.


If you can imagine Superman flying high above the planet every morning, deciding on where most urgently needs his help, it is easy then to realise that sometimes taking a step back helps us see where the real problem lies. We gain perspective so to speak. Thankfully we don’t have to wear tights and red pants in business, but ‘zooming out’ is something that can really help businesses see the bigger picture. In our case this is literal as our Rich Pictures serve to help people see where they can make changes, solve problems and increase efficiency. 

First pioneered in the 1990’s Rich Pictures are a recognised format used to engage business employees in constructive conversation. They do this by way of creating a meaningful narrative which can be used as a springboard for ideas and insights – it should be noted that leading economists view this as a crucial factor to a business’ success – being able to adapt and see the bigger picture. 

What are Rich Pictures exactly?

Put simply Rich Pictures are detailed visual illustrations of sometimes complex situations or business constructs. They serve to help people understand quickly and fully what is being communicated verbally or via text. They aim to aid people in organising their thoughts, re-organising a complicated system, or identifying a specific problem.

Using a combination of text, illustrations and symbols to visualise a particular situation, Rich Pictures have an excellent record. In one example Du Pont reported that after a session with Rich Pictures 95% of employees at a particular company said that they understood the company strategy better.

Example of a rich picture below:

example of a rich picture visualscribing

How can a Rich Picture benefit your business?

Rich pictures are excellent at engaging people from different levels/parts of an organisation by bringing them together on a level playing field. The MacLeod report emphasises the direct correlation between improving engagement (and thus understanding) and improving performance. “If it is how the workforce performs that determines to a large extent whether companies or organisations succeed, then whether or not the workforce is positively encouraged to perform at its best should be a prime consideration for every leader and manager, and be placed at the heart of business strategy.” David MacLeod and Nita Clarke

• Rich Pictures increase employees’ understanding of the business – they help people comprehend and importantly remember shared content

• Rich Pictures do this by creating collective experiences

• Rich pictures facilitate conversations between different sectors of the company which ultimately leads to a broad and shared understanding of a situation.

Why do Rich Pictures work?

Ultimately Rich Pictures are not about the pictures themselves but the conversations that result from them, whether these result in a better understanding of something or just better relationships between business members. The best type of resulting conversation is free from jargon and memorable. Importantly these conversations are also open to all members of the team – the art of illustration aids in establishing an atmosphere of equality amongst all involved in the collaborative process.

Rich Picture ­ A Combination of Images and Words

For millennia humans communicated solely via images and actions. Nowadays however, without words the message carried by a visual element may be ambiguous, but without images ideas and messages can be lost in a sea of words. Appropriate images and appropriate wording are therefore the best and most powerful medium for communication. The pictures are processed faster than the words and provide a mental ‘hook’ upon which the data can be hung for later recall. At Visual we are experts in creating Rich Pictures and understanding brand personalities – whether it be the use of a unique colour palette, a brand tone of voice, or a visual language. We develop bespoke solutions and tailored visuals to consolidate a unique communication experience which will help you and your business. Your Rich Pictures are guaranteed to empower your strategy which will enable your company to display its super powers. A bit like Superman.