Recently I delivered an online session for members of Club Workjoy entitled ’22 ways to bring more joy to your meetings’.

One of my tips was about the use of colour when creating visual charts both for and in meetings, and how being intentional with colour can serve the group in reaching their desired outcomes.

During the session a participant commented that this point reminded her of a children’s book she was currently reading to her daughter, called ‘The Day the Crayons Quit’. The story goes something like this…

Duncan is a boy who owns a set of crayons. When he reaches into his crayon box he finds a range of letters written to him by his crayons.

  • Red crayon is feeling overworked, colouring in the fire engines and Santas.
  • Purple crayon is frustrated by straying outside the lines.
  • Beige crayon doesn’t like playing second fiddle to Brown.
  • Grey crayon is tired after colouring in big animals including whales and elephants.
  • White crayon claims to be under-utilised, especially when white paper is used.
  • Black crayon wants to do more than just outline everything.
  • Green crayon is very happy, but is tired of Orange and Yellow crayons bickering.
  • Yellow crayon believes it should be used for the colour of the sun. So does Orange.
  • Blue crayon is feeling short and stubby after colouring in the big sea and sky.
  • Pink crayon doesn’t like being used only for drawing “girly” images and wants to colour something different .

Hopefully you are getting the picture. This is a lovely book in itself, full of wonderful illustrations, and I can see why the link was made between my meeting advice and the story.

My advice to you, when planning and leading your meetings, is to think carefully about your WHOLE colour palette when creating your charts when both preparing and running your meetings. 

It’s true that most meeting rooms contain the usual black, red, green and blue pens, but you can break free from this limited choice by being bold and thinking differently about the colours you use. In time this will become a helpful habit. Here’s a quick guide…

You’d be amazed at the impact that the small details have on participant experience and productivity. Of course, please be mindful of those who may not be able to see all colours too, and also bear in mind the impact of some colours from a cultural perspective.

Wishing you every success with more colourful and productive conversations!

Finally, a big thank you to Sophie Duncan for your book recommendation and inspiration for this post.

Content taken from ‘The Visual Meeting Coach’ bi-weekly LinkedIn newsletter by Tom Russell. To subscribe to Tom’s newsletters visit

About Tom …

Tom is a facilitator, graphic recorder and founder of Inky Thinking, a visual communication agency specialising in bespoke visual communication, enabling leaders and organisations to communicate effectively. Tom works with leaders and teams in global organisations to design and facilitate conferences, meetings and workshops.

Tom’s book – ‘Meet with Impact – 40 visual tools for productive meeting and engaging workshops’ was published by Pearson Business in 2019.