What is visual practice?

Visual practice uses pictures to convey information and synthesize key ideas, increasing individual and organizational creativity. Visual practitioners (also known as graphic recorders and graphic facilitators) draw illustrations, storyboards, diagrams, and system maps in line with a growing focus on visual thinking in the digital realm.

In what settings is visual practice most useful?

A wide range! The most visible setting for the practice is live ‘capture’ during conferences, workshops, and internal meetings. Visual practitioners also work as consultants and coaches, assisting people by integrating visual tools into strategic planning, leadership development, and organizational change efforts. Our contributors and colleagues work across all sectors and industries including government, media, civil society, educational institutions, not-for-profits, and corporate clients.


How does it work in organisational settings?

Mapping out ideas and concepts in real time reflects the energy of the room as well as the information itself. As ideas are laid out, themes will emerge and potential problems will also present themselves. It can also be an empowering experience for team members. Seeing their ideas be incorporated into the visualisation validates their contributions – in ways that also cross language or cultural barriers.

What is the difference between ‘live capture’ and finished product?

Live capture can refer to graphic recording, which is created live (on paper or digitally) during a meeting or session. When the meeting is over, the final product is completed. This means the images can be quickly photographed/digitized and given to the client right away. Some final products are not created live, but are created in-studio. The final product may or may not look different than a ‘live capture’. Practitioners have different work processes, and it is important for clients and practitioners to clarify expectations.

Is this something I can find in my region/around the world?

Yes, you can find visual practitioners in almost every continent. (No word about Antarctica yet.) The field is growing and there are practitioners who have found niches in a wide range of sectors. There is a useful membership directory on the International Forum of Visual Practitioners’ website at www.ifvp.org and there are often regional meetups for members.

How can a person learn these skills and join the profession?

Each of us has our own path into our work. There is no one best way: you might bring a filmmaker’s eye, an engineer’s schematics, or a social worker’s empathy to this work – and all of these skills will be valued differently by different clients. As well, everyone learns differently: you may find that reading books and solo practice a way to start, while others prefer to jump in with an in-person class or seminar. There is no standard curriculum, and no professional certification yet. Each practitioner brings their experience, education, and ongoing professional development to this field.


Now is the moment to embrace visual thinking, practice and facilitation as a defining technology of our time.

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