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Visual Recording and Graphic Facilitation

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For More Information: The International Forum of Visual Practitioners,

To record ideas and facilitate conversation using images, symbols, words, and phrases, thereby supporting participants in a group process SEEing their ideas, noticing relationships and patterns, and reviewing and sharing the content of the event. 

  • Open up individual and group creativity. 
  • Engage and connect people by supporting both linear and intuitive ways of working with information 
  • Challenge the notion that groups have to be clumsy, with unproductive means of getting things done 

When to Use: 
  • At the inspiration and learning phases of process when imagery can be used in evocative ways to open up deeper understanding 
  • For planning and implementation, when clear thinking is critical 

When Not to Use: 
When a speaker has a slide or video presentation 

Number of Participants:
Groups of any size 

Types of Participants: 

Whatever mix is appropriate to the situation 

Typical Duration:
  • Preparation: Short process design meeting 
  • Process: The length of time of whatever process is being supported 
  • Follow-up: Digital and hardcopy reproductions available in 2–3 days 

Brief Example:
In 2005, 50 graphic recorders and facilitators gathered to assess the development of this field. The conference centered on 21st Century Literacy, opening with a session graphically facilitated on 16 running feet of paper. A former Apple multimedia leader posed key questions. Group dialogue was recorded, creating a huge map. Themes swirled and clustered in the visual space. Simple illustrations and diagrams complemented large headlines, building spontaneously. The mural became a springboard and backdrop for the rest of the conference. 

Historical Context:
Visual recording and graphic facilitation adapted from architecture, design, and teaching in the early 1970s. David Sibbet and Nancy Margulies are among its modern pioneers. It’s reflected in the design and visualization work of all creative people, and recently accelerated in acceptance with the integration of word and image in new digital tools.