• October 2012

Step Inside Alece Birnbach's Graphic Recording Studio

By Michael Gibbs
Fine Artists Columnist
Michael Gibbs Illustration & Design

Having worked for years in the advertising business for large agencies, and for years more as an illustrator, marketer, and customer service specialist, artist Alece Birnbach has combined all of her skills to create The Graphic Recording Studio, a cutting-edge service in the graphics industry.

“This business enables me to combine all of my skills and experience,” says the Denver, Colorado, resident who makes words come to life at keynotes, conferences, corporate board retreats, and vision/planning meetings. “It gives me the unique ability to listen differently to what clients need—and the opportunity to draw out (literally!) their ideas.”

Whether she’s on-site at a Fortune 500 conference, high-profile keynote speech, or working remotely, she provides clients with graphics that make their presentations come to life.

Inside the Graphic Recording Studio

Birnbach offers a handful of useful services for corporations, small-business owners, and national speakers who want to use art to make a bigger impact on their audiences. These include:

Real-Time Maps: Drawn on-site while participants actively contribute their ideas, this interactive service enables conversations to come to life throughout the event. “As I listen, I synthesize and draw your ideas, and key concepts and themes are captured in the moment and can be used as a visual record of your meeting or event,” Birnbach explains.

Studio Maps: Created in advance of a meeting, Birnbach helps clients come up with metaphors and ideas to visually represent what they want to communicate to their audience and/or organization. She then has the maps digitally scanned and transferred to whatever media is requested, including prints or a CD.

Video Scribing: The audience and speaker watch as their messages come to life through graphics. Videos can be timed to match a script. Click here for a sample.

Presentations: “The spontaneity of hand-drawn images make them more inviting and less intimidating than computer-generated graphics,” Birnbach knows. Hand-drawn art can help you turn a PowerPoint presentation into something creative, meaningful, and engaging for the audience.

Practicing What She Preaches

In September, Birnbach created a vision map for one of her book projects, Dorothy’s Derby Chronicles.

Co-created with Meghan Dougherty, aka: Undertaker’s Daughter of the Rocky Mountain Rollergirls, the pair drew their dreams for the future of the book in an effort to solidify them.

“This process is a great way to make any dream, project, or presentation more real,” Birnbach says. “Once something is on paper, and not just in your head or something you are talking about, it takes on a real life of its own. In my experience, it’s the best way to manifest what you are considering.”

Here’s how:

1. Identify where you are at present, including writing down your Mission Statement and accomplishments to date.

2. Grab your favorite drawing tools, a clean sheet of paper or poster board, and create your Vision Statement about what you aspire to be. The items in the upper right corner of the map are your future state, and identify where you dream of going.

3. To build out what you envision for the future, use the right side of the map by putting down every fun, interesting, exciting—and revenue-generating—thing you can imagine (in words and pictures).

4. Then identify your challenge areas. You may realize that there are only a few of them, and that they’ll be easy to overcome. Or, you’ll realize these challenges are truly deal-breakers. Either way, seeing this visually is always eye-opening.

5. Send the map to all of the shareholders in your project (your business partner, team, spouse, agent, banker, etc.) Ask if they have any ideas to add that you hadn’t thought of until they saw your vision presented in this way.

6. Assess what you’ve learned. “This process definitely sparked creative thinking from each of us, helped us define our vision and our challenge areas, and put us all on the same page in terms of our project goals,” Birnbach shares. “Graphic recording works!”

You don’t have to take her word for it.

An experiment conducted by Mindlab International found both individual and groups of office workers waste valuable brain resources, perform less efficiently, and retain less information using traditional office software.

In fact, visualizing information makes workers 17 percent more productive. Read more here.

And click here to learn more about Birnbach’s Graphic Recording Studio: www.graphicrecordingstudio.com. She’s offering a special for this month only: 50% off your first session!

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