Visual Darwinism: survival of the fittest graphical tools

Look, folks, the iPad ain’t the digital graphic recording tool of your dreams. So get over it. As Jonny Goldstein said in a comment on a previous post, the iPad’s got price and portability. Which means there will be tons and tons of ’em out there, and tons of people trying to use them to do live visual meeting support. Which will mean in turn that:

First, it’s going to bring public awareness to the visual practice of graphic recording like never before.

Second, it’s going to put the burden of proof on established practitioners with fancy tools to show they can do better than some kid with an iPad.


It will be great for all concerned, practitioners and clients alike.

Visual Darwinism, you gotta love it. Competition improves the breed, etc.

In the early Seventies motorcycle road racing was dominated by two very talented factory riders on incredibly expensive machines made by MV Agusta in Italy and Honda in Japan. Then along came Yamaha with revolutionary and far cheaper equipment. Suddenly everything changed and once again “privateers” like Jarno Saarinen had a chance.

The new technology, along with incredible drive and talent, allowed Jarno to “… intimidate the factory riders on the GP circuit by clinching the 1972 championship as a privateer, and in the process broke lap-records practically everywhere he went. Jarno was also his own mechanic and helped modify and develop the bikes according to his style of riding.” (Peer Landa).

Prediction: for the great digital graphic recorders of the future, this last sentence will describe their ongoing relation with their rig (rig = hardware/software instrument for performing graphics).

No, Virgina, it’s not like a guitar — one size does not fit all.

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Postscript: since this post was originally made, a lot of great group graphics have been done on the iPad. See some of the images here.


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3 Responses to “Visual Darwinism: survival of the fittest graphical tools”

  1. After I made that comment, I borrowed an iPad and used it to create visual notes at a conference.

    It definitely had some limitations, but I was fairly pleased with the results.

    Technical notes:

    Hardware: 1st generation iPad, Pogo stylus
    Software: SketchBook Pro App

    Here is a link to the set of visual notes.

    Jay Rosen: The Self Informing Public
    • visualraccoon Says:

      Jonny — Great post, and great work with the iPad. Having used SBMo with stylus on the iPad, I can appreciate your skill. Thanks so much for sharing the results.

      Couple of follow-up questions:

      1. Had you worked with SketchBook Mobile (Pro) before on other computers?

      2. Was there any way for the group to see your images created live? I’m assuming not, since AFAIK the SketchBook Mobile app on the iPad doesn’t have VGA out.

      3. How did you get the not-hand-written text onto the first frame? Post-processing?

  2. Thanks for the kind words!

    1. I played with it on a friends iPad for a couple of hours prior to doing these images. That’s it on the mobile app. I have used the full featured version of SB pro on a laptop for a couple of projects.

    2. I have no recording of me creating them live. I bet it’s possible to create such a recording, but have not done so. Also, I do not own an iPad at the moment. I borrowed one that day.

    3. Yes, I added the not-hand written text on the first page in Photoshop after I created them in SB pro.

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