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May 10, 2013

The Art of the Note

May 10, 2013

I was in a meeting with my teammates the other day and, as usual, we'd all brought our notebooks (or other note-taking devices). As I sat listening to our conversation and taking my own notes, I looked around and noticed that we were all taking notes in a different way. And we each have developed in those notes our own language, our way of remembering conversations and saving information for later. The variety and technique each person used became really interesting to me, so I thought it would be a good exercise to ask the SmallBoxers to open their notebooks and reveal their notetaking process. What I found was a beautiful array of styles and quirks and a few hints at things I could add to my own note repertoire. Let's have a look, shall we?

First, these are my notes. I write mostly left to right, but sometimes turn the notebook when needed. I also like to map things out for myself to better visualize ideas and processes. 


Mayowa's notes have lots of arrows and connection-making. One of his notebook spreads had a mind map! 


Tyler's notes are color coded! Brilliant!


Elizabeth's notes are usually numbered and in list format. I think this speaks to the nature of her work as a project manager and her talent as our systems and processes guru.


Neil is famous around the office for having the tiniest handwriting. Here's proof, folks.


Abby, Teresa, and Drew's (left to right) notes felt more vertical to me. I love that Teresa uses a flip notepad to record her notes. Abby's notes look color coded, but she clarified that it's because she usually just picks up whatever pen is nearby (and she keeps a lot of colored pens at her desk, which the designer in me loves!) Drew's notes are list-like, but he has little doodles in the margins. 


Sara takes notes with a storyboard Moleskine and makes pie doodles. I think my notes definitely need to come with more pie doodles.


Lastly, a few of us take notes digitally, like Nick and Jason.

So many inspiring notes! Now I want to know, how do YOU take notes?

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