Sheryl Connelly’s 2016 TED Notes

Armed with an iPad Pro, the visual note-taker created her most incredible documentation yet

Another TED came and went back in February and it was as inspiring as ever. Sitting in the audience is an all-consuming experience which, after five straight days of talks on stage and chats in between sessions, renders one with what regulars call “TED Head”—a beautiful, hazy blend of intellectual satisfaction, sleep deprivation and hangover. The thought of processing that entire experience in to real-time visual notes is daunting, yet longtime CH friend and confidant, Sheryl Connelly manages to do it better and better every year.

For TED 2016 Sheryl (who also happens to be Ford Motor Company’s Futurist) armed herself with an iPad Pro and Pencil and used Autodesk Sketchbook to get the job done. The result is a 195-page collection that we’re proud to share.

We sat together for many sessions and watching Connelly work was fascinating—she writes notes and draws pictures almost simultaneously, swapping between the two based on the best method for the message. Sometimes she leaves space to add illustrations later and almost all the time she’s working in black lines. The core of her capture is happening in real time, but the magic comes together when she goes back to the notes to add nuance and color.

“When I am taking the notes, the message goes in one ear and out the other. In fact, in the short-term I might have trouble recalling what I just heard; but once I refer to the notes—it takes me right back to the moment I heard it for the first time and reinforces the longterm memory,” she’s told us in the past.

While Connelly’s illustrations are fantastic refreshers for those who were in attendance, her attention to detail and decision-making regarding critical information to convey means that even those who weren’t at TED can glean a huge amount. From complex concepts like Black Holes to ever-growing and changing knowledge about climate change, Connelly’s work explains a lot—and in a delightfully accessible way.

Download TED 2016 Notes and Illustrations by Sheryl Connelly and enjoy.

Illustrations courtesy of Sheryl Connelly, lead image by Josh Rubin