CIW Stories: Ink Factory’s Ryan Robinson & the CIW Springboard

Have a CIW story yourself? We’d love to hear it!

Ink Factory’s graphic recordings are an iconic part of the Chicago Ideas Week experience. The company’s ink-on-foam-board drawings provide a visual, creative, interactive take on all CIW Talks and Conversations, documenting the events with notes that are something beyond what you scribbled in high school.

Ink Factory has been a part of CIW since day one; the two organizations have, in many ways, grown up together. “[CIW 2011] was our first real gig as Ink Factory,” InkFactory Co-Founder & CIW Co-op Member Ryan Robinson explained.

“That basically [was the] springboard to our entire business, and every year CIW really is our marketing tool. That’s how we meet people that we want to work with,” Robinson continued.

The experience also cemented that Ink Factory’s unique graphic recording style was in high demand by a wide range of organizations—from large-scale events to nonprofits to large corporations. Since 2011, Ink Factory has worked with Fast Company, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, Leo Burnett, the Museum of Science and Industry, and Target, just to name a few. The group has expanded its offerings to include action sketch videos and experiential projects. Their newly redesigned space on North Milwaukee Ave. gives them the freedom to host events and teach others the joys and practicalities of graphic recording.

And, through all of this, you’ll still find them in the hallways of the Cadillac Palace Theatre, recording CIW Talks. After all, it’s Ink Factory’s “favorite event of the year, period.”

Erin Robertson is managing editor at Chicago Ideas.

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