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How Different Industries Use and Take Notes

Young creative coworkers

Taking notes is about remembering and sharing important information. It’s a valuable practice in any industry, helping all kinds of professionals keep track of reminders, project feedback, and even their own thoughts. From pen and paper to note-taking software, everyone has their own way of recording and sharing this information. It all depends on the project in question, how these notes will be used, and whether they need to be preserved or archived in some way. Learn more about how different industries use and take notes.

Everyone Needs Notes

Regardless of how or where a person works, there’s a good chance they’ll need to take notes at some point. Some professionals may have an “eureka” moment when they’re on the job, which usually means they need to write down or record an important piece of information so they can refer to it later.

Some jobs require professionals to take notes for a living. It’s their job to comment and mark up important documents and files, improving the project for the better. Others may want to take notes when learning a new program or task, during meetings and conferences, or when they’re juggling multiple assignments. 

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Note-taking has been shown to improve reading comprehension and information recall, which is applicable to virtually any industry. Whether it’s a blog post, novel, e-book, or industry report, all kinds of professionals still depend on reading comprehension when learning and retaining new information. Taking notes can help professionals remember information later on, so they don’t forget anything important or find themselves rereading the same document over and over again because they fail to grasp the main the point.

Now, let’s take a look at all the different ways professionals use and take notes in their respective industries.

How Product Designers Use and Take Notes

Product designers have a lot to consider as they bring new product designs to life. Every aspect of the product needs to be rigorously tested before it can be sold to the public. Product designers exist in so many different industries, from consumer goods to high-end industrial equipment. These kinds of professionals may take notes throughout the design, construction, and testing phases.

It all starts with a blueprint. The designer will first sketch or digitally draw their designs for the product before a prototype can be built. This includes the dimensions of the product, all the materials used, and how they expect the product to function. The designer may take notes during the process as they go about tweaking the design.

For simple consumer goods, furniture, and apparel, the designer might take notes using a pad and paper, or they might mark up the blueprint itself. For complicated products with lots of moving parts, designers might enter specific technical information into a database or using note-taking software.

In many cases, these notes need to be passed on to other engineers, designers, and company executives so they can sign off the new design, so preserving and sharing these notes is a must. The designer will then refer to their colleagues’ notes as they continue modifying their design.

Businesswoman taking notes

How Artists and Creatives Use and Take Notes

In creative fields, note taking can be an art in and of itself. All kinds of creative professionals will take notes as they work toward completing their projects, including filmmakers, painters, sculptors, graphic designers, and musicians. The type of notes they take and in what form usually depends on what medium they practice.

If an artist is working in a digital medium such as graphic design, photography, and virtual reality, the person may take digital notes that can be incorporated into the program or software they’re using. Analog artists will typically prefer taking notes with writing pens. They may put their notes directly on the file they’re working on, or they may put their notes off the to the side so they can review them later.

Artists working for another company or on commission will likely receive feedback on their work from their employer. The same goes for artists who collaborate with other individuals. The more parties involved in making or approving the work, the more notes need to be taken. Artists with complete control over their work may not need to take any notes at all, or they may keep their notes private. It all depends on what the person is trying to achieve and where the work will appear.

In the creative industry, notes may be used to comment on the work’s physical appearance, how the work needs to change, or how the work was made. Artists will refer to these notes when making changes to their work, especially if the project needs to meet certain technical specifications, appeal to certain viewers, or meet certain industry standards. Many artists prefer to take nonverbal notes, such as sketches or maps of their ideas. In fact, adding drawings to notes can have a significant effect on memory and learning.

How Computer Scientists and Developers Use and Take Notes

When it comes to the tech industry, notes can be crucial when it comes to perfecting a new website, app, or electronic device. These projects tend to be complex and extremely precise, with lots of moving parts. Websites and apps can be made up of thousands of lines of code. Professionals need to make sure their code is up to industry standards and free of redundancies and inefficiencies that can slow down the program.

These digital assets tend to be associated with businesses of all sizes, many of which might hire a third-party or development firm to create these assets for them. This means the company creating the website or app will need to exchange notes with the developers that created it. This can involve a lot of back and forth, so how these parties collect and share notes will be crucial to the project’s success.

If the company commissioning the website or app isn’t well-versed in technology, they may take notes related to the project’s aesthetics, including the overall usability of the website. If multiple developers are working on the same project, their notes may include more technical terms that refer to how the project was built.

How Industrial Engineers Use and Take Notes

Industrial engineers often deal with complex mechanical and technical processes, usually related to large pieces of equipment. They tend to work for companies that manufacture and repair this kind of equipment. Engineers will take notes when developing this equipment. These notes tend to be digital like the programs used to design and develop the equipment. Engineers can then pass their comments back and forth with ease as the project moves through different stages of development.

Once these products have been developed, the company will likely sell them to other companies, such as manufacturers, agriculture companies, and pharmaceutical facilities. If anything goes wrong with this equipment, the company will need to send a reliability engineer or industrial engineer to repair the equipment. In many cases, the engineer will carry around a laptop or tablet, so they can take notes in the field.

How Writers and Policy Makers Use and Take Notes

Few professionals use as many notes as writers. These projects are all about the written word, so taking notes is usually required. This includes poets, playwrights, screenwriters, policy advocates, speech writers, and investigative journalists.

Unless someone plans on self-publishing their work, these kinds of projects will need to be edited before they’re published or made available to the public. This usually involves extensive feedback and plenty of notes. Many writers will print off their work and have an editor mark it up manually with a red or blue pen, so their comments stand out amid all the black ink.

These notes usually focus on what’s not working with the material, including individual words, phrases, and lines of dialogue. Other notes may refer to the overall tone and theme of the project, problems with the plot, or notes on the character’s arc.

In more technical fields or investigative journalism, these notes tend to refer to the overall readability of the piece. They will also focus on the technical aspects of the work, double-check the facts, or follow up with the sources listed in the piece.

With the rise of Google docs and other digital platforms, collaborators can quickly share notes on documents. While many still prefer to use pen and paper when taking notes, adding digital notes to a document can speed up the collaboration process, especially if the collaborators live far away from one another or are working remotely.

How Retailers Use and Take Notes

Notes look much different in the retail industry. Retailers come in many shapes and sizes. Independent store owners may take notes on their inventory by hand, usually walking around their store with a clipboard, pen, and paper. They will comment on how quickly their products are selling, so they can order new supplies without having to turn away their customers.

Large-scale and corporate retailers may prefer to use digital notes. Many of these companies use digital inventory software and customer relationship management tools, so they may prefer to take digital notes that can be uploaded into the system. This also allows them to quickly share their notes with other team members.

Retailers will also take notes on their suppliers. If one of their suppliers fails to deliver goods to a retail location, it could have lasting implications. That’s why retailers will often record their interactions with suppliers, including whether or not their shipments were on time and the quality of their products or materials. These notes help retailers hold their suppliers accountable over the years, so they can better serve their customers.

signing document

How Marketers Use and Take Notes

There tend to be many digital assets in the world of marketing. From banner ads to long-form articles and videos, marketers may need to comment on and review a wide variety of marketing materials. These materials tend to feature taglines, images, and details about the company’s products. A marketing team may take internal notes on the design and overall quality of these assets. These notes may comment on the language used in the ad, how the ad looks, and the accuracy of the information displayed on the ad.

Marketing companies don’t make these ads for themselves. They are usually for a client in another industry, including businesses and organizations of all sizes. Once the marketing team has perfected their ad, they will share it with the client. The client will then add their notes on the project. The client usually has a better idea of what the ad should look like, including their target audience and the products or services mentioned in the ad.

Once the client has had a chance to review the ad, the marketing team will then perfect their work to make sure it meets the client’s approval. There tend to be several rounds of feedback in the advertising business, and some marketers will need to archive these notes for billing purposes, so the client understands the marketing agency isn’t overcharging them.

How Lawyers Use and Take Notes

Legal documents tend to be hundreds of pages long. Lawyers will need to add notes to these documents to make sure they’re factually accurate and on point. Lawyers preparing for their day in court may take notes on their opening arguments or things they notice during the trial. They may refer to these notes when countering the opposing counsel’s argument or adding their wet signature to an important document.

Words are crucial in the legal system, so notes can be extremely valuable when it comes to convincing a jury, winning a case, or pleasing a client. Notepads and pens are often handed out to jury members to keep track of their thoughts and refer to when deliberating.

Note-Taking Makes the World Go Round

Notes are ubiquitous across nearly every type of industry. At the end of the day, note-taking is about sharing and remembering all kinds of information. From verbal notes to pen and paper and even digital sketches, notes help people perfect their work and master their chosen craft.

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