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:
We recently worked with the fabulous team at Steply.io
to create a video showcasing how they make managing your digital workflow easy and seamless.
They work to simplify the complex (just like us) so we were a perfect fit.
We worked with them to write a script explaining how best to help arrange change management at your pace, then crafted a visual look that was unique and showed off the message of growing your digital transformation organically. Not all at once, but step by step.
Check it out here.
Happy International Accounting Day!
Yes, it's a thing.
And it’s today!
To celebrate we’d love to share with you this video we made with CPA Australia.
It’s all about Blockchain.
Blockchain is a technology game-changer, set to transform accounting, audit and banking.
So, together with CPA we made a video to answer the question -
how does it work?
The answer is waiting for you here.
It's October 2017 and we’ve just re-branded.
There's a good reason....
In the five years since Matt made his very first Sketch Video in his next door neighbours' living room, Sketch Videos has grown so much (you can see the original video here).
We’ve added to the team more talented illustrators, researched the science behind why drawing is such a powerful tool, learnt new techniques for illustration, and changed the way we shoot and edit our videos.
But more than that, we now sketch more than videos.
We sketch posters and live events. We graphic facilitate and visualise with pen in hand. We sketch postcards, book bindings and notepads.
We’ve grown into a team that are devoted to making whatever you want sketched, the best sketch possible.
We’re more than videos.
We’re a Sketch Group.
Committed communicators helping you get your message out there.
So, we sketched ourselves a new name.
New Name. Same Great Idea.
Simple, smart sketches that bring your story to life - on film, on paper or live at your event.
Sketch Group - we look forward to doing business with you.
Matt is Chief Doodler at Sketch Group. He has contributed to several books on visual thinking, most recently The World of Visual Facilitation.