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When Michel was recently invited for an event, he experienced a little surprise. Because what the client wanted and what he had commissioned were two different things. But Michael’s surprised reaction was only short-lived, because this confusion happens again and again. In this blog, I’ll explain the difference between Graphic Recording and Graphic Facilitation so that we can reduce that a little bit.

The similarities

But slowly. First of all I would like to bring you closer to the similarities of the two methods. The common goal is to support spoken content live visually – with keywords and illustrations.

Both methods were inspired by the architects and their clear visual understanding as well as their work with large-scale images. Designers and computer specialists have added the trait of summarizing and breaking down.

Graphic Facilitation and Graphic Recording combine these two ideas. They break down complex facts, support them visually and thus convey the message in an understandable way. It is precisely because of these similarities that confusion so often occurs.

So what’s the big difference?

Graphic Facilitation focuses on audience participation. The posters are created together with those present. The Graphic Facilitator interacts with the group and tries to animate the participants to think further with his pictures, to stay with them and to provide their own inputs. Graphic Facilitation is therefore an excellent method for problem solving, creative thinking and dealing with complex issues. Since the Graphic Facilitator interacts directly with the audience, this method is particularly suitable for smaller events such as workshops or seminars.

A graphic recorder, in turn, does not interact directly with the audience. A host leads the entire event, while the graphic recorder visually captures the ideas and conversations on a large board or poster. Often the elements can also be drawn visually on an IPAD and then projected as a large image to the entire audience. Graphic Recordings are used especially for larger events.

Why do we need Graphic Recordings or Facilitation?

Both concepts allow a visual representation of the event in real time. Our brain processes images about 60000 times faster than text-based or spoken information. This enables the audience to better remember the content of the event and store it in their long-term memory.

At the same time, these graphic elements tell a visual story. And storytelling is the ultimate in marketing to get in touch with the audience on an emotional level. Graphic recordings or facilitation therefore allow a much stronger engagement of the audience during the event, but also offer an excellent summary of the event for all those who did not have the opportunity to participate.

Whether or not you should finally decide on graphic recordings or facilitation depends on the size of the event, the target audience and the topic. It is best to discuss this together with the agency or the respective artist.

At Cleverclip, we offer especially graphic recordings for large events. Below is a little inspiration on how our graphic recorders take the audience on a visual journey:

Circular Economy

In recent years, a large number of projects in the field of recycling management have been developed in Switzerland. Many companies integrate sustainable and innovative processes with the aim of making the Swiss economy more circular. Nadine, Graphic Recorder at Cleverclip, has visually recorded participating companies on a map:

Graphic Recording für Circular Economy


At AdNovum’s annual company celebration, there was a “Wishwall” where employees could share their wishes and suggestions – these were then visually summarized:

Graphic Recording für AdNovum

Digital Festival
The Digital Festival was a two-day event with various lectures on the topic of “digitisation”. The result was a series of graphic recordings that illustrate the main topics:

Graphic Recording fürs Digital Festival

Graphic Recording fürs Digital Festival

Graphic Recording fürs Digital Festival

Graphic Recording fürs Digital Festival

But now back to the beginning and Michel: His job was to record Graphic Recordings from the event. But the client didn’t know the difference between the two methods – so Michel initially mistakenly thought he would be interacting with the audience at a small event.

By the way, there are also the so-called “sketchnotes”. Although they are often used as a synonym for Graphic Recordings and Facilitation, the Skechnotes differ from the two previous methods: Sketchnotes are similar to Graphic Recordings, but are rather created in a small format. The artist usually sits together with the audience and creates sketches in a notebook or on an iPad. These images can be uploaded to social media during or after the event.

If this all seems a bit confusing, don’t worry! Contact us and we will be happy to discuss with you the right approach for your event. If you need more inspiration on the topic of graphic recordings, you are welcome to drop by here.

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