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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.

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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).