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The Sketchnote Handbook is a fully-illustrated book and video, designed to teach regular people how to create sketchnotes.
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Mike Rohde (Color - Square)

ROHDESIGN is the website of designer Mike Rohde, who writes on design, sketching, drawing, sketchnotes, technology, travel, cycling, books & coffee.
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About Mike Rohde

Hello, I'm Mike Rohde. I'm a designer, author, illustrator and sketchnoter, living in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I have a passion for simple and usable design solutions.

Mike Rohde

I believe it's important to share thoughts, ideas and process, so others can draw insight from my experiences.

I've been writing here since February, 2003, covering design, sketching, drawing, sketchnotes, technology, travel, cycling, books and coffee.


I'm a interface and experience designer, working for Gomoll Research + Design, a human-centered research and design firm, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

I'm an author, having written two books on sketchnoting: The Sketchnote Handbook and The Sketchnote Workbook. I speak at events and present workshops that teach people sketchnoting techniques.

Conference organizers hire me to capture real-time sketchnotes at live events. Past commissioned events include Leadercast, An Event Apart, SXSW Interactive and Storyline Conference.

I'm the illustrator of the New York Times bestseller, REWORK and REMOTE by 37signals, The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau and The Little Book of Talent by New York Times bestselling author Daniel Coyle.

I also create custom illustrations for companies, agencies and design firms. View samples of my design process in the design archives or see my sketchnote work in the sketchnotes archives.


I'm fascinated by mobile technology, in particular iPhones, iPads and Macintosh mobile computers. My interest in mobile technology goes back a long way. I was a Macintosh Powerbook Duo 230 user, Powerbook G3 Wallstreet user, and Powerbook Titanium G4 user. I currently use a 13" MacBook Pro.

I was an early (1996) Palm 1000 user, which led me into the world of Palm OS handhelds. I founded The Palm Tipsheet, a free e-zine of practical tips for Palm handheld users.

The Tipsheet started with emails of interesting Palm tidbits, sent to a few friends and family in the fall of 1997. By the spring of 2003, it had grown to over 10,000 subscribers, when I sold it to BargainPDA.

My involvement in The Tipsheet and the Palm OS community, earned me an invitation from PalmSource to join the Palm OS User Council. We provided feedback to PalmSource from a real-world, personal perspective.

However, by late 2002, I felt the need to expand my writing horizons to more than handhelds. I sold the Palm Tipsheet and I began this site.

In 2006 I joined 9rules, a collection of people on the web who write, design, think and share their passions with others.


Here are a few recommendations from my LinkedIn profile:

“Mike is a graphic design genius. Mike took a simple idea of mine and turned it into something outstanding, and re-usable for many forms and shapes. Mike's talents and amazing vision are reasons I originally hired him. His ability to work quickly and efficiently to create an entirely new brand were pleasant surprises. I would hire Mike in a heartbeat for any new design project I was working on. He's not just good at what he does. He's GREAT!” 
— Phil Gerbyshak

“Mike is a creative, insightful and productive designer. He has designed awesome logos for two projects of mine. If you are looking for a designer who can think out of the box and create a lasting and noteworthy logo or design for you company, look no further - Mike is your man. 
— Chuck Teller

“Mike is a talented and hard-working designer with a broad skill-set and a high level of experience in the industry. He is also a good communicator, for his ideas and in project management via good practice in contemporary web tools.” 
— David McDonald

“Mike designed logo. We were very satisfied by the process and the final result. He is really creative and knows how to progress through the design process so that the end result is exactly what you want.” 
— Óscar Frías Barranco

“Mike can nail concepts dead-on through a methodology that address the visual problem at hand. First rate work. I look forward to further collaboration with Mike in the future.” 
— Matthew Pickard

“Mike is one of a kind when it comes to graphic design and personality. He understood VSur requirements (and wishes!) very quickly and came up with our corporate image, logo and web site, which feels exactly as we wanted. Should I start all over again, I would always take Mike on my side.” 
— Javier Marti-Canales

“Mike is a rare breed and a truly original mind. His mastery of the digital world is unquestioned, yet he has no problem taking pencil to paper to quickly sketch out an idea. In encyclopedic fashion, he can recall any reference he’s studied and use it to inform his own work. Have a conversation with him and you’ll notice his thoughts come in two speeds: fast and scary fast! Mike has a passion for problem-solving and it shows as he pursues a challenge. He can condense into minutes ideas and processes others would take hours to conclude. I’m happy to have him as someone to listen to my ideas, and as one of my most trusted colleagues. If you were trying to build a genius designer and you needed a template, you couldn’t do better than Mike!” 
— Barry Weatherall

“Mike Rohde is a true professional who delivers top end results that are always ready for review when he promises. He is my go-to-guy when a project need an anchor of solid design and followthrough. With an eye for color and design, and an understanding of the online environment that he leverages constantly in his work, Mike adds value well beyond the bottom line on every project he touches. With an easy-going attitude that takes rush jobs (aren't they all?) in stride, he's a joy to work with regardless of the pressures he's facing.” 
— Michael Compeau

“It's hard to start describing Mike Rhode's work without wanting to list out superlatives: clear, results-oriented, warm, talented, good communicator on status, great ideation person, wants you to be successful, a genuinely wonderful person.... that I love to work with. I consider MIke a member of my extended team and I send other folks there knowing they'll get just what they need. I'm a fan.” 
— Nilofer Merchant

“Mike is fundamentally a craftsman, and that's a very good and rare thing in design these days. Mike's superb sketching skills allow him to iterate much more quickly through multiple ideas than designers who mistake "digital" for "well thought-out". It was a pleasure to work with someone who could visualize a concept so quickly and clearly.” 
— Narayan Nayar

“Mike was one of the first MakaluMedia employees, and, in my opinion, his design talents are one of the keys to our company's successful products and services. He's skilled, professional and a pleasure to work with.” 
— Matt Henderson

“Mike Rohde has a real vision when it comes to design and his work for our company well exceeded our expectations. His Zen like style and attention to detail provide us with web presence that was professional, clean and stylish. We were so pleased with his work, that we're now using his services whenever possible, both for our company needs as well as those of our clients.” 
— Michael Ashby

“During his time as founder and editor for the Palm Tip Sheet Mike worked tirelessly to serve the Palm PDA community. His contribution to all those who subscribed to the news letter, or read it on line, has been enormous. Even now the tipsheet archive remains a useful repository of information, views, news and web links. In addition Mike is always generous with his time and expertise - helping me when I set up ( archive now available now at ). Mike is one of the 'good guys' and I cannot recommend him highly enough.” 
— John Winstanley


Rohdesign is written and produced by Mike Rohde. There are a variety of tools and services used to create and produce this site and my work:


iA Writer
iA Writer Pro
Notational Velocity
Pear Note