22 December 2005

Visual thinking practice: Finding your visual voice

Finding a personal voice is about discovering what is unique to you. It's one of the things that makes you sincere, meaningful and worth listening to. Companies struggle with this as much as individuals. Which companies have a unique and personal voice? You know who they are:

- Volkswagen
- Apple
- Southwest Airlines

I'm sure you could name several more.

Visual thinking is the practice of using pictures to enhance your ability to solve problems, think about complex issues and communicate effectively. Are you ready to work on your visual thinking skills? You don't have to be an artist. Pick up a pen or pencil and try the following exercise:

Find your visual voice
Your visual voice is that intangible which makes your sketches, doodles, and whiteboard scribbles uniquely yours and no one else's. You could think of it as your visual signature. Here's a way to discover it.

This exercise will require a bit of time. You'll need an hour or two to complete it, and to be effective it needs to be done in one sitting.

1. Find an object that's visually interesting to you; something you wouldn't mind spending some time with. It could be big or small -- anything from a water tower to a stapler. The only rule is that you need to be able to observe it from life.

2. Get a pen and a stack of 100 index cards.

3. Now draw the object 100 times -- that's right, 100 times -- once on each card. It's important to do this in one sitting no matter how long it takes. Part of the exercise is to discover things that will only reveal themselves if you are bored or tired. In the corner, number each card from 1 to 100 as you go.

4. When you are done, put the cards away and don't look at them till the next day.

5. The next day, spread the cards out on a table, floor or other large surface. Take a few minutes to digest what you see. What themes or patterns emerge? As friend to arrange them in groups and put similar drawings in clusters or groups. You will have a few favorites. Ask yourself,
- Why do you like them?
- What do they have in common?

This kind of exploration works because the sheer volume of work breaks down any artifice or pretense and exposes your natural voice in its purest form.

Please share your favorites in the visual thinking school Flickr group.

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1 comment:

Mohamed Taher said...

Dave
I am back again.

Your communications are visual. I mean what I say. But, I don't see any comments from your visitors. Is it because they are visually illiterate? What do you think?

By the way, you have been cited in my blog's post on Visual signature.

Please have a look at the different shades of meanings of this term. And, would appreciate if you leave your comments, as well.
Best, Mohamed