Using Artefact Cards - Ian Sanders

How did you think you'd used the cards? 

I wasn’t sure at first. All I knew was that I liked the *idea* of Artefact cards and that was enough to get me interested. I liked their simplicity and versatility. I guessed I’d use them to visualise and plan ideas using doodles and headings.

How did you actually use them?

I used them differently than anticipated. I must admit I haven’t really done much doodling, my main use has been to use them as a tool to construct stories. A regular gig is writing on entrepreneurship for the Financial Times’ ‘Business Life’ pages. In turning an idea into a 1,100 word article I have to tell a single story, at the same time weaving as many as five or six different voices in. It’s hard to order that story on the screen or even on the pages of my notepad. Artefact cards let me identify the different components of a story and then arrange them. To look and see if they make sense, to shuffle, to reorder. To screw one card up, to add a new one in. Once I have nailed the structure via Artefact cards, I can then start writing on screen. 



Have they changed the way you do anything?

Yes, they change the way I approach writing articles for the Financial Times. Hey, I even constructed a story on visual notetaking using them that mentioned Artefact cards within the piece itself ;)

How do you describe them to others?

You know how you used to doodle and scribble ideas on the backs of your old business cards? Artefact is a pack of blank cards for you to help you think. They’re like post-it notes but you can get them out again and again and the corners won’t curl up. 

Any final thoughts..? 

I knew these were a smart idea when I got them out at my local coffee shop and people asked me, “what the heck are they?”. It got people interested. Same when I first instagrammed and tweeted them out - everyone loved them. They’ve become part of my toolkit: moleskine notepad; Cross pen; iPhone; Artefact cards. And that feels good.




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