I think I’m in love. Through a wandering route* on my blog-reading journey this morning, I came across this post on Mashable featuring the visual note-taking done by Ogilvy artists at SXSW this year. WOW WOW WOW!

Visual note taking at SXSW 2011 by Ogilvy

I started out life as an illustrator. Well, maybe I wasn’t actually born as an illustrator, but I did work as an illustrator for many years. Here’s a sample:

Okay, so maybe it’s sort of a painting, but it’s done in an illustrative style. And my illustrations are all packed away and I don’t exactly know where right now. I haven’t been an illustrator in a long time.

But! I love the idea of illustrated notes! I doodle on my notes. I do mind maps. I circle things, block things in, and draw arrows. Sometimes I color code. But I’ve never taken notes like these!

Here’s why I’m excited: everything we do today is so digital, so computerized, so hands-off, it’s sooo refreshing to see these hand-drawn illustrations. And more than that, the fact that they’re hand drawn makes them very tactile and inviting — making you want to study them.

But here’s the really cool part: They’re notes! The person who took the notes, by the mere fact that he took the time to translate and add to the concepts with drawings, will remember and retain the content much longer than if he had just written words, or not taken notes at all. It got him out of the linear thinking mode and opened up different parts of his brain. I’m betting money on it.

Forget the fact that Ogilvy did this as a promotion, to offer to attendees of SXSW as overviews of some of the more critical sessions. Think about what could happen if you took notes like this.

Do you take notes? Do you doodle on your notes? Have you ever taken visual notes? Does the idea inspire you? Do you think it would help you capture what you’re learning better?

And what if you say you can’t draw? Who cares? Who’s going to be looking at these notes? Certainly not the visual note-taking police. You can draw any way you want, just so it gets you out of the linear thinking mode.

I’m going to incorporate visual note taking into my note taking routine, for sure. More doodling in store for me! How about you?


*(My blog-reading journey this morning started with a note from my awesome pal Melanie Kissell, saying she featured my tag line in an active conversation on her blog, to a click on one of the other blogs mentioned in her post, Marcus Sheridan’s very interesting Sales Lion, where I putzed around awhile and read this post on getting more comments on your blog, which sent me to this post at Gini Dietrich’s ultra cool blog, Spin Sucks, and there it was! The illustration that led me to the Mashable post with all the amazing Ogilvy illustrations. I think there are 42 of them in all.)