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Summer 2018

INSIGHTS VISUAL COMMUNICATIONS » Live Sketching: Adding Visual Vitality to w

e’ve all been there. It’s only the first 10 minutes of the corporate retreat, and you’re

already feeling your eyelids droop. What if there were a way to liven up these presentations? To actually engage audiences with this type of— let’s be honest—typically dry content? Enter the Sketch Effect. The

company is bringing a dose of whimsy and creativity to humdrum trade conferences, brainstorming sessions, and business presentations everywhere through its inventive “live sketching” process.

Both Internal and External Marketing Efforts Take a look at one company’s mission to elevate ideas through impactful visual learning.


“We aim to elevate ideas through

remarkable visual communication,” explains Founder and Principal William Warren. “We make our clients’ ideas more understandable, memorable, and shareable through the power of visual learning.” The Sketch Effect offers two core

products: Sketch Effect Live and Sketch Effect Video. Live sketching involves sending illustrators to an event to create real-time, often improvised visual aids—tools such as graphic recordings and interactive murals— that complement presentations, events, or meetings. The company’s video service consists of unique animations for everything from in- house, internal communication videos to public, promotional explainer videos.

ELEVATING IDEAS These products are helpful aids for more than just explaining HR benefits in a jazzy format. Live sketching has a number of use cases for companies of just about any size and scope. The Sketch Effect works with entities that run the gamut from large corporations such as Delta Airlines and Home Depot, to global consulting firms such as Accenture, to regional events such as the EIQ email marketing conference, to scrappy startups. In the hypothetical instance of a budding blockchain start-up, for in- stance, live sketching might be a useful tool for explaining a complex concept to investors. For a public-facing event, creating a live sketch mural keeps people thinking about a message long after audiences have dispersed. “People’s eyes light up” as they watch Sketch Effect artists bring concepts to life via ink and paper, says Warren. “It’s different and it’s fun; but it serves a practical purpose, too, because it helps people latch onto ideas.” There are a few ways the Sketch

Effect encourages information longevity. The company’s clients

receive the physical output created during their live sketch sessions and are sent polished, digital copies of images following the event. Warren says he’s seen clients get inventive with this collateral, framing the images and displaying them at company HQ or turning the sketches into physical books and mailing them to event attendees after the fact. Integrating social media crowd-

sourcing or an audience Q and A into a live sketching session is another unique tactic to add interactivity to an event. For example, in the midst of a conference, a Sketch Effect artist may peruse Twitter for the event’s hashtag and work attendee tweets directly into the artwork. This approach cements the transient nature of social media into a longer-lasting, more concrete visual tool, creating a snapshot of the social conversations. “As society becomes saturated with digital media, there’s an authentic element about something that’s physical and created by a human being,” says Warren. He notes, however, that the Sketch Effect isn’t “locked in” to an analog approach.

One of the company’s recently released Sketch Effect Live products, for example, experiments with digital live sketching—artists sketch on a tablet and beam drawings into a room via screencast. The process bridges the gap between the digital and the physical without sacrificing the ethos of the product. Live sketching services prove

effective as a tool for improving audience retention, says Warren. He cites one large retailer who has been working with the Sketch Effect for four years; the retailer reports that adding live sketching to its annual conference caused audience engagement rate scores to soar. Sketch Effect videos, too, typically see much higher completion rates than standard corporate videos do. “The experience is part of our

service—part of the value that our clients are getting,” explains Tereza Omabuwa, Business Development Coordinator. “It’s more than just a visual you can post on social media; seeing an artist work right there in front of you and visualizing [an idea] without any prep adds a real wow factor. It’s kind of magical.” 

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