We are now in the age of visual information where visual content plays a role in every part of life. About 65 percent of the population are visual learners and graphic interfaces made up of photos, illustrations, charts, maps, diagrams, and videos are gradually replacing text-based meetings or courses. Studies have confirmed that visuals stick in long-term memory, transmit messages faster, and improve comprehension. The Sketch Post team are utilising this advantage to create visual representations of knowledge, concepts, thoughts and group similar ideas.
What does Sketch Post do?
They have three data visualisation services – graphic recording, infographics and animation. They listen to ideas and transform words into hand-drawn visuals that brighten up presentations, brainstorms and events. Graphic recordings simplify complex ideas to engage people, making ideas stick.
To create this visual content, graphic recorders listen for key ideas in a conversation. They’re trained to recognize verbal cues to identify these key ideas and quickly replicate them through drawings. It is like speaking a different language – a visual language. This skill helps them to capture the essence of a live presentation in a short amount of time. Graphic recordings are so fresh, in fact, that much of their appeal resides in watching the process itself unfold. Many who witness it for the first time sit up and wonder, “Hey! What’s going on over there?” Also, graphic recordings boost social media engagement, as they are ready for guests to photograph then post, tweet and share immediately.
The Birth of Sketch Post
The professional term used to describe this is graphic recording. After a few years of practicing graphic recording as an interest, the founder became confident in her work and decided to turn it into a profession by starting Sketch Post. She lived in San Francisco for a while and the city taught her that age doesn’t matter when it comes to creating new ways of doing things and building a business around that idea. She met many young adults there who were starting companies or were being offered funding to drop out of college and pursue their own research. After a while, she figured she should give it a try as she had a good product and a great value proposition.
Many have asked if the founder's passion is illustration and her answer is no. Her real interest is continuous learning. Illustration or graphic recording is a tool that helps her learn about many different things while creating value for people around me.
"Illustration has always come naturally to me as a child. I found my skills to be most valuable as I attended conferences and began illustrating notes as talks and discussions went on in my notebook. It was an instant capture of key points and interesting quotes. Organisers, guests and speakers loved them and it was a beautiful way to celebrate the content and exchange of ideas.", Bernie Quah, founder of Sketch Post tells TallyPress.
Sketch Post Speaks Business
Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong make up their Sketch Post trinity. These markets also have ease of business and flights are frequent. Majority of their clients are in the service industry – finance and consultancy – and Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong are hubs.
Having to produce a full large-scale design based on knowledge transferred in real time can be nerve wrecking. They do request for reading material or presentation slides before an event to familiarize ourselves with the content. Sometimes they walk into an event with only an event agenda, and yet they make it work.
Bernie Quah started Sketch Post as a small business to experiment graphic recordings on a professional level. Taking it beyond an interest she pursued during my free time. Since then, business has taken off and the team is growing.
The Sketch Post Team
Bernie, graphic recorder – “I express myself better through illustration than words. Running Sketch Post involves lots of travel. I’m never bored with one place. Many of my peers lament that having the same routine for months or years makes them feel that the city they live in can be “boring” while mine changes from week to week with some level of familiarity.”
Yee Hui, graphic recorder – “The work satisfies all of my hyperactive tendencies. I need to listen, synthesize and filter information, all while organising and creating attractive graphics. I get to dip in and out of diverse industries as well - each assignment reveals how things work in a given field. We are lucky to be paid to travel and listen to cool speakers!”
Chan Wai, graphic recorder – “Started out in advertising in 1983 BC (Before Computers), when everything was hand-drawn. I went from visualiser to Art Director in advertising agencies like Saatchi & Saatchi, BBDO and McCann Erickson. Drawing cartoons is my #1 love. I'm glad to return to my roots with Sketch Post. Advertising has honed my conceptual thinking and I apply it to my work here. With graphic recording, I enjoy the instant connection with people. Whenever someone comes up to say they like my sketch, it's the greatest feeling in the world! Like I've enriched their life - which is an artist's true intent, I suppose.”
Zi Jie, social media shaman – “Out of the Sketch Post team, I’m the only one who can say my best art involves stick men. So I’m always in awe when I watch them work. I’ve sat through my fair share of mind-numbing conferences and 100-slide PowerPoint presentations. That problem is solved with graphic recording, so I’m really glad to spread the word about this lesser-known but valuable art to others.”
Sketch Post's Belief
They have covered high profile events across Asia and helped make their ideas stick – ASEAN Business & Investment Forum 2015 where Obama spoke on TTP Agreement, Khazanah Megatrends Forum, Singapore Summit, WHO Kobe Global Forum and UN Women workshops in Bangkok.
They aim to change the perception that design can be important in the business world beyond making things look “pretty” and ones ability to solve problems and create value add is not defined by age. Bernie constantly strives to improve and learn, loves to travel and enjoys immersing herself into different cultures to explore design possibilities. Essentially, she is a thinker and dreamer at heart.
Sketch Post in Action
"Turning your seemingly random hobby into a business is possible if you can figure out your value proposition. Believing you do meaningful work that helps people and is also financially beneficial makes striving to achieve the best in your career much easier.", Bernie says.