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The Sketchnote Workbook is a fully-illustrated book and video, showing how to use sketchnotes in new ways, along with advanced tips and techniques.
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The Sketchnote Handbook is a fully-illustrated book and video, designed to teach regular people how to create sketchnotes.
Learn about and buy the book →
Download a FREE chapter →

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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The Dispatch: Let's Go Invent Tomorrow

Let's Invent Tomorrow

I'M EXCITED to share my second Dispatch with new links, appearances and workshops to announce.

But first, let's talk about the image above. That's from an all-hands meeting at LifeLock I sketchnoted in January. I love that quote so much, I've created an 11 x 17 poster from the art you can download and print. Grab the PDF and enjoy.

We have a winner!

Congrats to Leslie Mollner, who wins the The Designer's Pricing Class, a $200 value, from my friends at nuSchool. Leslie is a former college librarian and is currently in training as a web designer and front-end developer. Go Leslie!

Interesting Links

The Shape of Things to Come - I enjoyed this long, detailed look at Apple's Jony Ive, written by Ian Parker at the Atlantic. If you're curious about Ive and his design process, this is a great read.

The DeLorean DMC-12 is an outlier's legacy - As an 80s guy who loves Back to the Future, I thoroughly enjoyed this short video from Petrolicious about Geoff Ombao's classic 1982 DeLorean.

♥ Creating Content with Markdown Video - Markdown Jedi Brett Terpstra uses video to teach markdown, a lightweight writing syntax that makes a plain text file the easiest way to create formatted HTML, PDF, and even Word documents (yuck). I wrote both of my books in markdown and loved every minute of it. Save 35% on Brett's video with code PEACHPIT35.

Sketchnote Moleskine Sketchbook Re-Run Questionnaire - I'm talking with my friends at Moleskine about a possible limited edition re-run of these custom branded Sketchnote Moleskine Sketchbooks. Gimme feedback!

The Unmistakable Creative Podcast - I had a fantastic time talking with Srinivas Rao about how sketchnotes came to be, keeping a logbook, embracing constraints and determination. Listen in.

Workshops & Appearances

Hooray! I have new appearances and workshops to announce:

  • Sketchnote Meetup (Public): Thursday, March 12 in Ann Arbor, MI - I'll be at the Songbird Cafe hosting a casual, free meetup. I'd love to see you there. Sign up right here.
  • Sketchnote Workshop (Private): Friday, March 13, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI - I've been brought in to teach Ross School of Business students how to sketchnote. How awesome is that?
  • Sketchnote Workshops (Public): Saturday, April 11, Nashville, TN - Two Half-day Sketchnote Workshops are happening! Hosted at The Skillery in Nashville, I'm offering both a morning and an afternoon workshop. Pricing is $199 and space is limited to 20 students per workshop. Sign up quick!
  • iCON Conference Keynote & Workshop (Public): Saturday and Sunday, April 25-26, Prague, Czech Republic - I'm giving a keynote and workshop at the popular iCON Conference. My buddy Mauro Toselli from Sketchnote Army will be there, along with the new Czech edition of The Sketchnote Handbook. We'd love to see you there too!

Say Hello!

It's great to hear your comments directly from these dispatches, so keep them coming. Your encouragements are what keep me going.

For those who read to the bottom, I'm giving away 3 codes to Marked 2 for Mac ($13.99 value) from Brett Terpstra, a excellent tool for previewing your markdown files. Drop me a note with how Marked 2 can make your writing life better and I'll announce 3 winners in 2 weeks.

Follow me on Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr, and Instagram.

Buy My Books

If you like what you see, you'd dig one of my books on sketchnoting:

The Sketchnote Handbook

Learn more and buy →

The Sketchnote Workbook

Learn more and buy →


12 Years of Rohdesign

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Hard to believe I've been writing here on Rohdesign for 12 years. It all started as a blog to share my thinking after selling The Palm Tipsheet in 2003.

Thanks for your support al these years!

New Feature: The Rohdesign Dispatch

After 12 years, it's time to try new things. Starting today, a Rohdesign Dispatch like this will happen every 2 weeks, with an image, comments and links I've found interesting. This is an experiment, so I'd love your feedback.

Interesting Links

Honesty, Clarity and Action - Shawn Blanc talks about the common denominator between the people we admire and follow: A commitment to honesty and clarity with a bias toward action. Shawn is also working on his new book The Power of a Focus Life, which I can't wait to read.

♥ A Coffee Lover’s Guide to Tea - As a big fan of coffee, I found this post from Michael Allen Smith a helpful primer in better understanding tea, so I can explore and enjoy it fully.

♥ Free Tools in Paper by FiftyThree - I'm enjoying Paper and Pencil on my iPad from my friends at FiftyThree. Now they've made Draw, Sketch, Outline, Write, Color, and Mixer tools free in the app (formerly in-app purchases).

♥ Inquisitive #27: Behind the App #1: History - Myke Hurley has created a fascinating, story-driven, documentary-style podcast series about how apps, so integrated into our lives, came to be. Future episodes will explore how apps are made, giving listeners insight about the lives of app developers.

Say Hello!

I've especially enjoyed hearing your replies to my posts, so please say hello. The more I hear what you like (and what you don't) the better my posts will be.

For those who read to the very bottom, I'm giving away 1 pass to The Designer's Pricing Class ($200 value) from my friends at nuSchool. Reply with a comment about why you should win the class and I will choose and announce the winner in 2 weeks. Good luck!

Follow me on Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr, and Instagram.

Buy My Books

If you like what you see, you'd dig one of my books on sketchnoting:

The Sketchnote Handbook

Learn more and buy →

The Sketchnote Workbook

Learn more and buy →


Das Sketchnote Arbeitsbuch!

I'M EXCITED to announce Das Sketchnote Arbeitsbuch, the German translation of The Sketchnote Workbook, is out. I just received my author copies and this translation of The Sketchnote Workbook looks fantastic.

Das Sketchnote Arbeitsbuch Cover

Das Sketchnote Handbuch has been so popular in Germany, that mitp Verlag wanted to complete the set.

Das Sketchnote Arbeitsbuch: Dokumentation

Purchase: Das Sketchnote Arbeitsbuch at mitp Verlag or

Frauhoelle's review: Hip, hip, hurra, das Sketchnote Arbeitsbuch ist da!

More book photos: Das Sketchnote Arbeitsbuch (Flickr)


A Year of Daily Logging

Logbook 2014

THIS YEAR I decided to keep a logbook, thanks to Austin Kleon.

At the end of 2013, I ordered a one page per day Large Moleskine diary in yellow, starting the process of logging on January 1st, 2014. Now that the year is over, my weathered logbook as a treasured item, full of memories.

I've already started a new logbook with a Hobonichi Techo from Japan, with a slightly smaller size and thinner paper than the Moleskine. I'm loving it.

Techo vs moleskine

Hobonichi Techo vs. Moleskine.

A Logbook is Not Necessarily a Diary

Trying to sustain a year-long logbook was a bit of a risk. I’ve never been great at consistently keeping a traditional "dear diary" book. I’d start hot for a few weeks or months before flaming out.

The shift away from a "dear diary" to fill at the end of the day, to a book where items are logged as the day unfolds is a key difference. My logbook is a living document. I fill it as the day progresses, rather than working to create a narrative of the day from memory.

Of course that doesn't limit me from adding thoughts after the fact. I’ve made use of empty pages to sketch out concepts and ideas. On one occasion, I sketchnoted a TV documentary as an experiment as I worked on The Sketchnote Workbook — it worked great!

Logbook ss titanic show

Sketchnote of a TV show: Titanic's Final Mystery.

A Space for Tasks and Ideas

Along with logging daily activities, I use my logbook to set key tasks for the day, using hand-drawn checklists. Sometimes I'll add icons with notes and comments to log entries. I manage my detailed tasks in Things, but it's helpful to keep 2-3 key tasks in my logbook as a reminder.

Logbook sa trip

Sketchnote Travelogue of San Antonio, TX.

I'll often sketchnote experiences, like visits to restaurants or cities. It's great to freely use pages to capture whatever strikes me.

Capturing ideas is another great use for my logbook. I use space to draw something I'm thinking about to work out the details, like this image of a pinewood derby car my son wanted to create.

Logbook baconator

The Baconator Pinewood Car concept sketch.

That's the beauty of a logbook — it's your space to capture whatever you'd like. There is no correct way — whatever you want to log is fine.

Logbook nathan 2014

My son Nathan's favorite things from 2014 page.

Try a Logbook!

Experimenting with logbooks has been an enjoyable and valuable experience. I challenge you to start a logbook, even if you're starting late. Think of all the free pages in January you'll have for sketching ideas!


Favorite Sounds for 2014

AT YEAR END, I'm sharing my favorite sounds — music and podcasts.


I listened to a lot of music this year, while creating The Sketchnote Workbook, here are some of the favorites I came back to again and again:

Ásgeir - In The Silence

In the silenceÁsgeir's In The Silence was suggested by my friend Brian Artka. I pre-ordered the album and once it arrived, I've had it playing at work, in the car, and traveling. It's a blend of folk, rock and ethereal vocals from Icelander Ásgeir. Favorite tracks include King and Cross, Torrent and In Harmony.

RAC - Strangers

414dWmYAtJL SS280RAC's Strangers came through the Song Exploder podcast. I love the 80s vibe. It provides me with an upbeat, energetic working soundtrack. Favorite tracks include Tegan & Sara's Hard to Hold, Matthew Koma's Cheap Sunglasses, and Katie Herzog's We Belong.

Reporter - Guggenheim

41kW7CvMNML SS280This album from Reporter turned out to be just what I needed to get deep focus while writing the manuscript for The Sketchnote Workbook. Repeated use created a habit: when this album started, I was instantly in a writing mindset. Favorite tracks include Bilbao and Berlin.


I've been a commuter since starting a contract design project in June, so I have more time for podcasts. Here are a few that stood out this year:

Song Exploder

Song ExploderMy pal Kris Hunt recommended Song Exploder with Hrishikesh Hirway. This is a podcast that deconstructs songs slice by slice using audio and interviews with the artists that create the track. Favorites include the Jeff Beal's House of Cards Theme and RAC's Let Go.

Unmistakable Creative

Unmistakable CreativeA recent addition to my listening list is Unmistakable Creative with Srinivas Rao. He has a great interview style that brings out the best discussions in his guests and make for good long-form listening. Favorites include Sarah Peck, Cal Newport, Jeff Spencer, and Joe Loya.

Dan Carlin's Hardcore History

Hardcore HistoryI hesitate to call Dan Carlin's Hardcore History a podcast, as his shortest episodes start at about 2 hours. This is effectively an audiobook feed on history, disguised as a mild-mannered podcast. It will get you thinking. Favorites: Wrath of the Khans, Blueprint for Armageddon, and Thor's Angels.

I hope you enjoy these audio discoveries as 2015 unfolds!

- Mike

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