DVR TIG Week: Note-Taking with Flair: Drawing Connections by Michaela Anang and Mindelyn Anderson

Hi, I am Michaela Anang, creative spark seeker and Research and Evaluation Assistant at Mirror Group LLC. Hi, I am Mindelyn Anderson, data viz devotee and Founder + Principal of Mirror Group LLC.

Michaela Anang
Michaela Anang
Mindelyn Anderson
Mindelyn Anderson

With the start of a new decade, Mirror Group LLC is doubling down on our commitment to make data accessible, engaging, and reflective of learning organizations and communities. We capture data and infuse it with personality and graphic elements to produce niche evaluation, learning, and strategy products. To further support the transformation of data into action we began utilizing Sketchnoting!

Here are some of the low cost, high quality tools we use to add digital flair to our evaluation work.

: “Note-taking with flair!” A digital drawing of a pen connects to the word “flair”, drawn in script with a squiggle underline. Beneath the title, shapes resembling a tablet with the Mirror Group logo and symbol and a computer with a drawn thermometer and arrow pointing to the top with words that read “Equity + Evaluation.” (Created with Google Drawings)






“Note-taking with flair!” A digital drawing of a pen connects to the word “flair”, drawn in script with a squiggle underline. Beneath the title, shapes resembling a tablet with the Mirror Group logo and symbol and a computer with a drawn thermometer and arrow pointing to the top with words that read “Equity + Evaluation.” (Created with Google Drawings)

Rad Resources: Computer-based applications are a great start! (Cool Trick: Use a stylus on your laptop trackpad for rudimentary drawings… click down and drag!).  We use software like Google Drawings and Microsoft OneNote to incorporate sketchnotes across other applications.    YouTube is another resource for exploring the wide world of sketchnoting with An Introduction To Visual Note-Taking or the foundations of graphic creation withGoogle Draw Basics + Overview. Moving from computer to tablet, we incorporate iPad and Apple Pencil hardware to support these and other apps like Autodesk Sketchbook.

Lessons Learned:

  • Plan, Progress, Perfect: First ask, do I want to standardize colors, images, or size? Practice with your tools. This reduces future click and think time needed to incorporate sketchnoting into your projects with ease and speed.
  • Feedback and Fellowship: Clients and partners provide early encouraging feedback about preliminary sketchnotes. We invite them to contribute tips, tricks, and apps to our working document Sketchnoting Guide: From Novice to Savant.
  • Accessibility for All: We challenge ourselves to develop accessibility practices to learn how “visual” note-taking works with screen readers. Inclusive practice is part of the work. (For example, I, Michaela, lean into the language of “sketchnoting”!)

What Rad Resources, Lessons Learned and Cool Tricks can you share about notetaking with flair? Comment on this post and stay in the loop of our creative spark seeker and data viz devotee community via LinkedIn, Twitter or email!

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Data Visualization and Reporting (DVR) Week with our colleagues in the DVR Topical Interest Group. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from DVR TIG members. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

2 thoughts on “DVR TIG Week: Note-Taking with Flair: Drawing Connections by Michaela Anang and Mindelyn Anderson”

  1. Thank you both so much for raising consciousness and skill-level in our evaluation community regarding deep, intersectional access–and justice–through alternative text/ formats as well as multiple senses/ intelligences/ disciplines.

    Great work as always!

    1. Vidhya, we are grateful for your shared commitment and contributions to equitable approaches to evaluation, learning, and strategy. As an experiential and visual learner myself, I appreciate the various ways that data and information are visualized by creative professionals like your colleague Anne Gomez at Picture This Graphic Recording. We are not all artistically-blessed in the same way, but we can pull on those elements to enhance our reporting and accessibility of data and information beyond standard reporting.

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