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Ideation & Visual Thinking

Ideation & Visual Thinking

Author: Mario Fierro-Hernandez

Recognize and differentiate between the methods of ideation and visual thinking in visual design.

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Ideation and Visual Thinking

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Hi, everyone. My name is Mario. And I'd like to welcome you to today's lesson on ideation and visual thinking.

So today's lesson will cover techniques on how to develop ideas and brainstorm. As always, feel free to pause, fast forward, and rewind at your own pace. And when you're ready to go, let's get started.

So I'm going to start us off with our first key term, which is ideation. And ideation is the process of generating ideas. And once you have your idea, we can jump into visualization, which is the process of transforming a concept or idea to a visual.

So this process should be about easy-flowing visual ideas and pointing out your goal, and then trying to figure out various visual solutions to that intended goal. And then one way to do that is by brainstorming. And a great strategy for brainstorming is what's called mind mapping.

And mind mapping is a brainstorming process, where one constructs a web structure through a chain of associative ideas. Mind maps are very useful for brainstorming individually or as a group, summarizing information, thinking through complex problems, and presenting information in a format that shows the overall structure of your subject. So let's take a look at just what this looks like.

So here's a good example here of what that looks like. And it can get cluttered, if you start to add lots of subdivisions. But in this particular example, it's mind mapping negotiation tactics, which could be very useful if you're a solo designer or a contractor. In this mind map, there are three major divisions-- during negotiation, which is the written portion, guidelines, which is the purple, and before negotiation, which is the blue.

Now within those divisions, you have subdivisions. Like during negotiation, it'll say don't followed by more division-- so don't corner, don't rush. Or the for negotiation-- do your homework by questioning or determine location. And guidelines, you have things like required mindset, skills to have, communication listening.

Let's take a look at another example here. It's a bit sketchier. And you can see here that this mind map is on prototyping. And again, you see these main groups-- software, materials, components, video, experiences.

And then that gets subdivided within those groups. So under materials, you might have what appears to be cardboard, paper, things like that. Or in the software, you have Photoshop, SketchUp, and so on, and so forth.

So this is, again, very helpful for a variety of reasons. And it really helps you grasp the project as a whole and plan your attack. And there are many options to brainstorming. And another common practice is a simple use of sticky notes. And you'd be surprised just how often these are used.

And I remember, personally, walls, desks, and monitors being covered in these things, when I was working as a designer. And it's very simple, but a very powerful tool. It allows you to present small intimate examples, but continue on a nice rapid flow of ideas, shared from person to person. And what's better still is that you're able to present small ideas, while also presenting the idea at large-- the big picture of the project, the scope. And what's really great, of course, as well is the nature of sticky notes allows you to add or subtract ideas premiere visualization process, allowing you to filter your work, so you're always free to add or remove, and continue building on your ideas.

And there's also, of course, the simple option of just using a bit of paper or material for thumbnail drawings. The thumbnail drawing is a small sketch technique designed to help the flow of ideas. And just like the other options, this is a fast and easy way to conceptualize an idea visually and share it quickly as well.

Well, everyone, that concludes today's lesson. We'll end with our key terms-- visualization, mind mapping, thumbnail drawing, and ideation. Hope you enjoyed this lesson with me today. My name is Mario. And I'll see you next lesson.

Terms to Know

The process of generating ideas.

Mind Mapping

A brainstorming process in which one constructs a web structure through a chain of associative ideas.

Thumbnail Drawing

A small sketch technique designed to help the flow of ideas.


The process of transforming a concept or idea into a visual.