04 December 2005

Visual thinking practice: Icons

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.

1. Make a list of common objects; things you see on a daily basis. Here are a few ideas: Camera, shoe, glass of water.

2. Divide a page into 12 squares. Label each square with the name of an object from your list. If you've got the Moleskine gridded notebook you can grid out your pages as shown here.

3. Now see if you can draw a simple icon that represents each object. This is not a drawing exercise and much as a simplification exercise. Imagine you are designing a computer desktop icon and try to use the fewest lines possible to represent the object.

This is a great way to hone your ability to distill the core meaning of objects and ideas into simple visuals. When you become comfortable with everyday objects you can move on to more difficult subjects, like actions, ideas and emotions.

If you liked this post you might also like:
Visual thinking practice: Expressing emotion
Visual thinking practice: Turning words into pictures
Visual thinking practice: Your life as a book

Send me your experiments and I'll post them for others to see.

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Anonymous said...

Dave - when are you offering an online course on "How to Sketch, with Dave Gray"? Sign me up! -Cliff

Anonymous said...

everyone can draw stick figures. I just knew this secret recently.:)