Sketch Group have recently had the great pleasure of working with VACC to create a video showcasing their VACC Committees.
VACC are champions of the automotive industry, and we're happy to champion them in this fun, engaging video that really captures their message and attitude.
I'm excited to announce that recently at Sketch Group we launched Graphic Gear, an online store selling markers, refill bottles, and accessories for illustrators, facilitators, and visual practitioners.
Wait, what? Let me explain ...
My first graphic recording gig, seven years ago, was in front of 3,000 people. I was on stage at a Microsoft conference on the Gold Coast, and nervous but quietly confident in my ability to listen, synthesise, and capture the content in real-time.
Unfortunately, the tools I'd chosen for the job were whatever markers I had lying around, purchased over the years and in various states of use. They bled through the paper, they dried up on me halfway through the gig, the colours were limited, and the fumes got a bit much after two hours of sketching.
Fast forward to the modern day, and I've become somewhat of a devotee of the Neuland brand of markers for every sketching job I tackle. Made in Germany, the reason I'm such a fan is:
After attending the International Forum of Visual Practitioners in Atlanta last year, I've realised that pretty much every professional graphic recorder and facilitator uses Neuland markers, for the same reasons. And every illustrator that I put one of these markers into becomes a fan of the brand and can't get enough of them. Neuland have created a great product.
The problem is that ordering them from Germany is slow and the shipping is expensive. So I decided to fix that. I signed up as the official Neuland reseller for Australia.
If you'd like to get your hands on the very same markers that the Sketch Group team use when we sketch events, now you can! Just visit graphicgear.com.au and make your mark today!
At Sketch Group, we feel extraordinarily lucky on a regular basis that we get to partner with clients doing work that matters. Not to suggest that the dozens of workshops we sketch, or the videos we animate, or the posters we create don't have an impact or aren't worthwhile. But sometimes a project comes along that humbles you, and you feel honoured to be a part of.
Sketching the Foster Carer Journey for the Department of Health & Human Services was one of those projects.
We worked with folks from DHHS and the Foster Carer's Association of Victoria to:
Because of the sensitive nature of the subject matter, we decided collectively that there was value in creating two versions of the poster—one that would be useful for recruiting, retaining, and raising awareness of foster carers, and another version that was more suitable for internal use. This internal version was more focussed on helping members of DHHS and agencies to identify opportunities where the overall system could be improved.
We were faced with the challenge of walking a fine line between wanting to shout from the rooftops about what amazing work foster carers do for our community, with painting a realistic picture that accurately portrays the fact that being a foster carer is hard. Some of the stories that came out on the day were heartbreaking, and the weight of responsibility to capture and visualise those emotions was enormous.
We were extremely proud of the final result, which was a truly collaborative effort from the department, agencies, carers, advocates, and several members of the Sketch Group team—Lucinda, Kerstin, and myself. One thing that I learned from the project is that there is much greater demand than there are available foster carers, so we hope the small part we played in creating this journey map goes some way to helping increase the number of Victorians who decide to volunteer to foster a child.
At Sketch Group, we often have conversations with people who've been asked to make a presentation, event or conference stand out. To do something different; to find new ways of engaging audience and keeping their focus and attention.
This is, generally, on top of all the other jobs they have already going on.
It's a big ask.
We can help.
We don't expect you to have all the answers alone.
We genuinely enjoy the process of discussing ideas for your presentation or event, and working out how we can help, collaborating to create something that suits your purposes and budget. We've been helping simplify the complex for clients big and small for years, with videos, visualisations, custom illustrations, training and live sketching.
Together, we can sketch it out.
You supply the occasion. We'll bring the colour.
Before I started the company that eventually became Sketch Group, I was working as a computer programmer. It paid well, but it wasn't fulfilling and felt a bit ... soulless. It also coincided with a period when I got sick a lot. Related? Perhaps.
A huge reason why we do what we do relates to the fact that drawing is good for you. The benefits of expressing yourself visually are extensive and well documented.
Art therapy uses different forms of visual expression to help improve physical, mental and emotional well-being by reducing anxiety, bringing in positive emotions and banishing negative ones. Drawing has also been shown to improve memory and recall in patients with Alzheimer’s. And adult colouring-in books continue to fill airport bookstores due to the role they play in reducing stress, increasing mindfulness and helping the brain reach a meditative state.
And of course, it's fun.
Even if you think "I can't draw," who hasn't laughed over a game of Pictionary when no-one can guess what has been created in thirty seconds? Was it a toilet? A throne? A pineapple?
When we're young, we draw and paint and create all the time. Visual expression comes naturally to us—it's free-form, and it flows naturally, without the worry of judgement or getting things wrong.
In a world where we're being encouraged to be innovative, to fail fast, and to take risks, we need to go back to those times when we were more experimental. Pick up a pen and just draw.
Who knows where it could lead?
Let's be honest.
For a lot of us, graphs are a necessary evil.
They explain information in a way that makes sense, but they doesn't inspire much passion. They don't have personality.
At Sketch Group we put personality on the page. Or screen.
We make videos and illustrations that contextualise your information so that your graphs means something to your audience.
So for shareholder information that shows off what you actually do, or for reports that resonate, try something different.
Sketch it out.
We don't want to get too personal, but at times it's good to ask yourself the question...are you boring?
Do you do the same-old, same-old?
Tell the same story. The same way. Again and again.
(and wonder why no-one is listening).
We all fall into the trap of doing things the way they have always been done.
It's easy. It's known.
But in a world seeking disruption and difference, perhaps it's time to try something new.
We're offering to help banish the boredom.
Not with everything, but with presentations, productions and messages.
We're offering to make them sparkle, make them unique.
Make them yours.
A custom illustration that pops your powerpoint.
More than a graph, to show your profit and loss.
An annual report that moves and shakes things up.
We've had an absolutely amazing time over the past year working with the fabulous team at VELCRO® Brand. We've created brand awareness spots, explored their unique history and recently we've finished a ten-video campaign about how best to use their products in a whole range of situations.
We showcased how you could use VELCRO® Brand Fasteners in a whole heap of various situations.
It was super fun to be able to use motion graphics and a bit of rhyme to create this campaign. Yes, we sketch but we animate as well. And we love it!!
Check out some more of the spots here.
The Big Issue are celebrating International #VendorWeek.
It's a time to celebrate the fabulous people you buy your Big Issue from.
The Street Vendors
We've seen first hand how hard everyone on The Big Issue works together. In the past year we've made a poster and a video showing what an empowering model of working it is.
So happy International #VendorWeek
Oh, and why not buy yourself the latest copy of The Big Issue from your local vendor?
Update: I finally got around to uploading Dan Rubin's closing keynote. Follow the links at the bottom of the page to browse all four keynotes from the conference on Google Poly.
As many readers will know, one of my roles here at Sketch Group is as a graphic recorder. I’m one of a team of illustrators whose job it is to take visual notes at events—conferences, workshops, panel discussions, and so on. It’s stimulating, rewarding, creative work, and we're regularly humbled by just how fundamentally this work can change the dynamic of an event.
Attendees are fascinated by watching a large canvas come to life, and event organisers love having something different to engage delegates at their event—not to mention the value of having a large, colourful, visual summary of the content to photograph and share after the event is over.
Usually our canvas is a large sheet of paper, positioned to the side of the main stage, so that attendees can watch it come to life throughout the event. Graphic recorders are required to listen, synthesise, and capture the content that they hear.
Last week, the organisers of Web Directions Summit 2017 engaged me to graphically record the keynote sessions at their conference. However, this time I wasn’t drawing on paper—in fact, I didn’t even have a canvas to draw on, and there were no markers in my tool belt.
On this occasion, I was drawing in 3D space, using an HTC Vive virtual reality headset. In what I believe might just be a world-first (I don’t know of anyone else using the tool in this way before, so I’m claiming it!) I sketched the presentations in virtual space, in real-time, using a tool called Google Tilt Brush.
The idea of taking VR Sketchnotes (that’s what I’m calling them, unless a better name comes along; sculpt-noting, anyone?) came to me earlier this year, when I attended the International Forum of Visual Practitioners conference, in Decatur, Georgia. I was attending as a delegate (the only one in attendance from Australia) and saw a demonstration in the Exhibitor’s Hall of a 3D mind map that had been created by the wonderful folks at Lizard Brain Solutions. I was curious to learn more about how it had been created, and exchanged a series of emails with the team after returning to Australia. When I learned that the mind map had in fact not been created on the fly (it comprised a series of text nodes that had been imported from Adobe Illustrator, and then positioned afterwards) I realised there was potential to explore how sketching in VR in a real-time environment could add a new element to the experience of attending an event, much like graphic recording does already.
When I saw the amazing promotional video for Tilt Brush, the dots were connected; I was determined to ensure that the device I purchased would be one that ran this app. A week later, with a sizeable hole in my pocket, I'd purchased my headset and set it up at home. My foray into the world of VR had begun.
As you can imagine, there were more than a few hurdles to overcome in order to sketch a conference presentation in 3D. Here are a few that come to mind:
Due to my travel commitments at the moment, I haven’t had a chance to process all of the sketches from the conference properly yet. However, I have uploaded some stills, videos, and 3D sketches that you can browse on your computer, your phone, or with your own VR headset, if you have one.
I’ll update this post and fill in the blanks next week after I’ve had a chance to process all of the files from the sketches. In the meantime, though here are a few samples for you to explore.
The VRdict ...
VR Sketchnoting is a new and innovative way to visualise content in real-time. Capturing content in virtual space has the potential to add to an attendee's experience of an event in new and unique ways. In addition to the increased engagement of watching a VR sketchnote be created in the moment, having 3D digital sketches of content can empower attendees to explore and reflect on the content after an event in a number of ways, via a range of digital channels. This digital collateral can also be repurposed as promotional content by event organisers and speakers after the event.
Creating a VR sketchnote at an event comes with its challenges; there are some logistics involved that require one to be organised, and the concept may be met with resistance by some folks, who may consider it too different or new. However, the upsides that I've listed above suggest that this is an area worthy of further exploration, even if it's not yet clear exactly what role it will play and what form it will take. Meanwhile, the goal posts continue to move as technology evolves. We'll keep you updated as we continue to explore this emerging field.
Browse all four of the Web Directions Summit 2017 sketches on Google Poly:
Matt is Chief Doodler at Sketch Group. He likes swimming, LEGO, and chocolate lemon curd cake—but then, who doesn't?