Are you a visual learner? Here’s how to make sense of all the SXSW news

url-de5aceb692a5800bcb3168cc6b296193Attending talks can be a tedious thing if you also intend to do some note-taking, and the keynote sessions at the SXSW are no exceptions. Sure, you can bring a tape recorder or keep your smartphone running (and battery draining) as the conference progresses, but when you get home, you would have to transcribe for hours. Where’s the fun in that?

It’s a good thing Patrick Ashamalla – founder of digital branding company A Brand New Way – has devised his own transcription methods for SXSW 2013. Remember that classmate you had back in middle school who would sketch drawings during Science class instead of copying what was on the blackboard? Ashamalla’s technique is sort of like that, but instead of mindless squiggles on a piece of paper, he has an amazing assortment of “info doodles” that truly bring important discussions back to life.

Primarily a visual thinker, Ashamalla finds sketching speeches a more productive way of really internalizing the topics at hand and prefers it over merely jotting down words as they come out of a speaker’s mouth. In all the conferences and talks that he’s attended for the past 10 years, visual notes comprised of figures and bold letters has always been his weapon of choice, both during a session and after.

Ashamalla’s love for capturing moments through doodles came out of his “desire to capture the story being presented in the moment,” he said in an email with Digital Trends. As the head of his own interactive agency, he made it a practice to turn to visual notes while conducting creative meetings with his team or clients. He tends to veer away from uninteresting outline notes which he describes as “just a bunch of bullet points without context,” he says.        

So which SXSW keynote did Ashamalla enjoy the most? “Honestly, it’s hard to say because each session had something that blew me back. I stayed in the room and took the notes because of how much I enjoyed them all. From a pure storytelling-process perspective, I do keep going back to the Chuck Lorre / Neil Gaiman conversation.”

To learn more about the creator of these wonderful info doodles, feel free to contact Patrick Ashamalla through Twitter (@pashamalla) or

[Image via Mashable]

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