The terms “Graphic Recorder” and “Graphic Facilitator” tend to get used interchangeably, which can be confusing, there is a difference though:
Graphic Recorder (GR)
The Graphic Recorder is a passive presence in the room, drawing what they hear. When I am Graphic Recording I am listening intently to the conversation or presentations; I am very present in this state of observation and deeply focused. The GR may create a single drawing that synthesizes major themes and connections, or many detailed drawings throughout the event. Other terms that are often used to describe a Graphic Recorder are: visual note taker, graphic note taker, scribe, graphic scribe, visual scribe.
Graphic Facilitator (GF)
A Graphic Facilitator takes an active role in the room. The GR works alone or as part of a team to create a group process. They may create templates as part of the process, and they will use a variety of visual tools (such as stickies, multiple charts to gather input, templates to guide processes, visualization cards) as part of the group exercises. This sample shows a template designed by the facilitator and the Graphic Facilitator working in partnership, for a group process. Also shown is the template after the group worked their way through interactive processes that had them working individually, in pairs, and small groups.
A full day Graphic Facilitation with faculty from an elementary school at a day of Professional Development. We created a 10 year timeline (Journey Map, or Heritage Wall) of their school. The educators worked in teams briefly in the morning to review their institutional history and post stickies of their content, which we then categorized - then I began drawing. The staff moved to other activities for the day, checking in on progress between other sessions. We came together to wrap up the day with a review and appreciation of their Heritage Wall. The review of milestones was powerful for both new and returning staff - there was an appreciation for the wisdom developed along the way, long-time staff felt honored and recognized, new staff felt included and honored to join the continuing journey.
A group of health care professionals on a multi-day strategic planning retreat set aside an hour of their time to change modalities from presentation and discussion, to working with art supplies to tell the stories of their organization at 3, 5 and 10 years into the future. They worked together in small groups drawing out their ideas and placing them around the room in each time frame. They took me on a gallery walk and shared their visions with the entire group. I spent the remainder of the day synthesizing work into a single illustration. As the facilitation team revisited the graphic with them, it became apparent which areas were ripe for deeper discussion and where there was commonality of vision.