Visual thinking

Visual thinking is a tool that consists of transmitting and exposing ideas through simple  and easily recognizable drawings . The objective of this technique is to better understand ideas, define objectives, identify problems, discover solutions, simulate processes and generate new concepts. Sometimes it is known by its English name  visual thinking .

Seeing an idea through the eyes greatly expands the capacity for understanding and synthesis; in addition to facilitating the presentation of ideas when words are not enough, triggering shared processes of thought, dialogue, design and action.

80% of the brain is designed to assimilate and process images, so it takes less effort than reading a text, hence the success of visual thinking and its increasing use in recent years. The concept of visual thinking dates back to 1969, first used by Rudolf Arnheim’s.

Process of converting ideas into images

Dan Roam, visual thinking expert and author of the book “Your world on a napkin, the process of visual thinking”, points out a series of steps included in the process by which to convert ideas into images for better assimilation by the public:

  1. Look. Visual information is absorbed, data is collected and what is considered most important is selected.
  2.   After selecting the priority, we group this information through the relationships between the elements and guidelines that are being worked on.
  3.    Elements are interpreted and manipulated to create new and patterns that help create coherent meaning.
  4. To show. When a guideline is found and understood, it is shown to others to get feedback and their understanding of what is being shown.

This is the general process that takes place when working with visual thinking, although it is not mandatory that it is always linear.

How to draw to apply visual thinking

Not everyone has an innate ability to draw, but visual thinking encourages the creation of simple, clear, and direct images so that they are easily recognized. Some of the following options are used:

  • Doodles:dolls or characters to represent actions.
  • Basic figures:the drawings start with simple shapes such as arrows, triangles, lines, circles …
  • Pictographies:with the start of simpler figures, more complex figures can be created to develop.

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