Graphic facilitation

Graphic facilitation

Graphic facilitation refers to the use of words, symbols and pictures to facilitate and record a conversation or process. The aim is to use images to prompt conversations, encourage fresh perspectives, and identify new ways to address problems.

  • Time to do: Dependent on length of event. Might require pre-event discussion regarding aims with the facilitator and time afterwards to prepare a final version.
  • Staff: dedicated facilitator who will record discussions throughout the day
  • Cost: ££
  • Equipment: large roll of paper, drawing materials, sufficient wall space
  • small groups
  • large groups
  • face-to-face

How to do it

  • Be clear on what you want to achieve by using graphic facilitation. Is it merely to facilitate the session, or will the graphics be used for illustrations afterwards?
  • Identify a dedicated person whose role throughout the session will be to graphic facilitate. This may be a professional hired for the day. Remember to schedule regular breaks as the drawing can be tiring.
  • Display a large roll of paper in a prominent place, ideally visible to all participants.
  • Capture the main points or flow of the discussion using a variety of words and phrases, symbols and pictures. The aim is for speed rather than creating detailed illustrations. Use colour to add interest and variety.
  • Some people prefer to draw a rough sketch on the day and re-do a final version afterwards. This is not necessary, but can be helful if you plan to use the illustrations in publications.


  • Encourages people to think differently
  • "A picture is worth a thousand words" - seeing ideas and discussions captured in drawings can help people to recall what they have heard. Reportedly, some 65% of people are visual learners.
  • Records feelings as well as ideas and statements
  • Previously unidentified patterns and influences can be identified. Position, colour, shape and arrows can be used to show connections between ideas.
  • Everyone can see agreed actions.
  • May help people with lower levels of literacy, learning difficulties or who do not speak English as a first language.


  • Training may be required if not recruiting a professional facilitator.
  • Some ideas are easier to capture than others.
Last Updated: 12 March 2020