Co.Create

The Best Of SXSW, Illustrated

Ogilvy & Mather sends sketch artists to South By Southwest to capture the most animated panels in an appropriately illustrated form.

The most common way to experience SXSW if you’re not actually there is anecdotally, in succinct social soundbites and Instagrammed snapshots. For the last two years, though, agency Ogilvy & Mather has provided another way for interested office-bound parties (or event attendees who didn’t quite make that keynote) to digest the important parts of key talks.

Ogilvy once again sent the skilled "note-taking" artists at ImageThink down to Austin to create Ogilvy Notes, thick-slice picture commentary on the festival’s featured presentations. Ogilvy Notes, which also has established a Twitter presence, uses a method called graphic recording, which reduces each panel to a storyboard/flowchart hybrid—and renders some fuller fleshed-out breakdowns redundant.

See for instance the "Expanding Our Intelligence Without Limit" panel, in which Time magazine’s Lev Grossman interviews the futurist Ray Kurzweil. Here, a heavy concept like the question of when humans will recognize computers as people is lightened considerably by a doodle of a monitor wearing a necktie. Or the "How to Read the World" panel, featuring The Onion's Baratunde Thurston, in which the potency of the line "All comedians are sacred" is undercut by a picture of a clown.

The program was established by Ogilvy’s Jordan Berkowitz as a useful way of helping those unable to attend SXSW to get the meat of each panel in a fun and interesting way. Have a look through the gallery above to see how well the note-taking artists succeeded (and see the more detailed illustrations below).

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