Visual Thinking

Why Drawing Doesn’t Matter When Visual Thinking

Ben Shneiderman quote

The purpose of visualisation is insight, not pictures.”

– Ben Shneiderman

Ever been involved in a Visual Thinking exercise? Did you need to be able to draw to get involved?


Part of the fun of Visual Thinking exercises is NOT being able to draw.

Why spend 15 minutes drawing a cartoon figure when a stick figure drawn in 30 seconds will communicate the same idea?

We use drawing to communicate the idea and to discuss the idea, not to discuss the drawing.

It always surprises (and pleases) me that complex ideas can be broken into simpler terms by combining simple dots, lines, squares, circles, triangles or squiggles. My own lack of drawing ability doesn’t hinder me from getting involved.

If we combine the visual with a metaphor (see my 10 JUN post) then we can explore and elevate an idea even further.

Do an internet search for ‘visual thinking examples’ and you’ll see some impressive ideas created with basic shapes. And yes. They are works of art as well as works of meaning.

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