Visual Note-taking 101: Introducing VizThinkU

Over a VizThink we’re launching a new series of online, educational workshops & webinars. Dubbed “VizThinkU” we’ll be pulling in the best content and facilitators our community has to offer and presenting it in regular sessions, in a variety of formats.

Last week we announced our first course, Visual Note-taking 101 and it will take place on May 12, 2009 at 11:00EST. The details are below:


Visual note-taking 101: Techniques for making your notes more visual and memorable
with Mike Rohde, Sunni Brown and Austin Kleon

Tuesday, May 12, 2009 | 11:00am EDT (15:00 GMT) | 3 Hours

Course Description
Ever since Leonardo put pen to paper, visual note-taking has been a route to improve the quality of your thinking, make information more memorable, and make your ideas easier to share with others. Learn practical techniques and “tricks of the trade” from modern visual note-taking masters Mike Rohde, Sunni Brown and Austin Kleon. In this three-hour course you will learn how to use visual note-taking to improve your listening skills and take better, more memorable notes. The focus of this class will be on how to write, sketch, and diagram ideas live, in real time, as you hear them. Many of the techniques you will learn will also help to improve your skills in drawing your ideas at the flip chart or whiteboard.

Course Faculty

kleon_headshot.jpg Austin Kleon

Austin Kleon is a writer who draws. A collection of his Newspaper Blackout Poems is forthcoming from HarperCollins in February 2010. He’s drawn cartoons for clients such as Austin City Limits and South by Southwest. He works a day job designing websites, and lives in Austin, Texas, with his wife Meghan. You can see his work online at www.austinkleon.com.

sunnibrown.jpg Sunni Brown

Sunni Brown, M.P.A., is Owner of BrightSpot Info Design, a company specializing in visual thinking
to support organizational and group success. BrightSpot operates on the principle that “information overload” is best managed by using visual language and the thoughtful design of
information. Coupling text and presentation materials with graphics and visual architectures
significantly enhances meaning, comprehension and memory. Sunni was trained in graphic facilitation at The Grove Consultants International, a San Francisco based company that pioneered the use of visuals in meetings and group processes. Sunni is currently an Associate of The Grove and an Associate of Momentum Leadership, a change management consultancy. She is also co-Founder of VizThink Austin, currently the largest visual thinking community in the United States. She holds Bachelor’s degrees in Journalism and Linguistics and a Master’s in Public Affairs from the Lyndon Baines Johnson School of Public Affairs. She lives in Austin, TX.

mike-97x129.jpg Mike Rohde

Mike Rohde is a designer and art director with a passion for simple, effective and usable design solutions. He has over 20 years experience as a professional designer, working in print design, logo and identity design, application icon design, web and user interface design. Mike has been hired by conference organizers such as SXSW Interactive, An Event Apart and SEED, to capture live, real-time sketchnotes of events using only a gel pen and Moleskine sketchbook. He lives and works in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and is a member of the 9rules network, founder of the Palm Tipsheet e-newsletter and founding member of the Milwaukee tech community group Web414. Mike’s work can be found at rohdesign.com and on Flickr .

Register Today

When you register for a VizThink webinar, you will have access to the live session, as well as a recording which will be made available to you after the webinar is over, as well as any course materials provided by
the instructors. You will also have the satisfaction of knowing that your money will go to support the VizThink staff and community.

Where: Online

When: Tuesday May 12, 2009 @ 11:00 EDT (15:00 GMT)

Duration: 3 Hours

Tuition: $99

Work examples from this session’s Facilitators:

Designing for Visual Efficiency – My FITC Toronto Talk

Yesterday I gave a talk at FITC Toronto on designing for visual efficiency. I was originally approached last fall to submit a idea and my original intention was to do a talk focused on design for information heavy graphics and recommendations on best pratices for designing them. But, based on some of the content I got to see at our VizThink conference in San Jose this February though I decided to shift and narrow the focus to designing for visual efficiency, a slightly different topic but still quite relevant to the original context.

When I say visual efficiency what I’m actually referring to is the idea of designing to reduce the amount of processing our minds have to understand what we’re looking at.Overall I think it was fairly well received, by the end of the session it was standing room only. I think I achieved my goal of sparking the idea in attendee’s heads that it’s important to think about, consider and factor HOW people see, and how to work with that process,  into their designs.

The presentation is embedded below – I’d love to hear your feedback or questions. I may also represent it at an upcoming VizThink Toronto.

Suggested Reading and links to the imagery used in the presentation can be found on my FITC09 page on the site.

New Layout & Moved to WordPress

I’ve finally finished moving the blog over to a new server (hosted by the awesome team at Fused Network) and to the WordPress platform. This post is mostly just a test to see that everything is working but I hate those “Test Post – Please Ignore” type posts so I’m fleshing it out a bit. :)

As I shift to freelancing I’ll be working on building this site out a bit more beyond just my basic blog so expect more changes over the coming weeks!

– Ryan

Just one week to go until FITC Toronto!

FITC_TO09_200x120_speakerbannerBy this time next week FITC Toronto will be in full swing at the Hilton Toronto on Richmond Street. I’m personally excited just to be attending – I’ve watched FITC unfold from the sidelines over the past few years but haven’t been able to make it out before. I think their website sums it up best:

Now in its 8th year, FITC Toronto is one of the largest and longest running events of its kind in the world. With some of the most unique and engaging presenters from around the world, FITC Toronto is an information blitz of presentations, demonstrations, and panel discussions, sandwiched between our legendary FITC parties and abundant networking opportunities. Topped off with the FITC Award Show, it’s three days and nights that will leave you inspired, energized and awed.

  • Three full days and nights of events, plus one day of optional pre-festival workshops
  • Over 80 presentations and panels covering the Creative, Technical, and Business aspects of Flash and digital media
  • Over 1000 attendees from around the globe
  • Over 70 internationally renowned design and technology presenters
  • Includes the annual FITC Design and Technology Awards Show
  • Includes the ‘FITC Get a Job’ event on Saturday, April 25, a free-to-attend job fair for the Interactive industry

Catch my Session at FITC!
I’ll be doing the following session at FITC on the Monday Tuesday morning:

Exciting Data: Effective Design for Information Heavy Graphics

Every designer’s nightmare is getting handed a pile of data and being asked to “make it pretty”. In this session we’ll look at techniques for depicting data or other information in an effective & visually appealing way. We’ll examine the fundamental dos & don’ts of information display and also look at examples of innovative information design. Participants will walk away from this session with a solid starting point for creating powerful designs when faced with data-heavy content.

Save on Registration!
FITC’s have sold out in the past and you don’t want to miss out on this event- click here to register.

BONUS: If you use the discount code “vizthink” you’ll save 20% off the cost of registration

Hope to see you out at FITC Toronto!