Visual thinking is innate to the human condition. Since the oldest times, human beings have done visuals to express ideas, tell stories, confront and solve problems. The clearest example is the cave paintings. Thanks to them they were able to organize hunting, village and community tasks.
Visual thinking is a way to organize your thoughts and improve your ability to think and communicate. It’s a great way to convey complex or potentially confusing information.
Nowadays it is being used increasingly in education and in business to support conversations, to join up the dots and to make the bigger picture more visible to more people.
It is somehow changing the ways people communicate and interact, especially in business contexts.
In order to introduce this interesting topic we have interviewed Verity, Somos Más Community graphic Facilitator.
Her story is quite inspiring since an unexpected change in her life converted visual thinking into her way of being and living.
Hello who are you? Introduce yourself briefly
I’m Verity Harrison, born in the UK and based in Madrid since 1999
What do you do for a living?
I’m a graphic recorder and visual storyteller. I capture meetings and conferences in real time, putting words and concepts into compelling graphics, leaving attendees with a visual memory of the event. I also help companies engage with their employees/clients through illustration. That can be one off images for presentations or a series of images that explain concepts, processes etc.
When and where did you start with the visual thinking?
I think I’ve always been a visual thinker. I have a degree in textile design and for me it is much easier to explain a concept when there are images involved. Having said that, I spent many years working in a corporate environment in conventional sales roles, and it is only quite recently that I have had the chance to put both my creative and business experience together.
What happened then?
When I was made redundant at the end of 2013 I knew that I didn’t want to go back into another sales role, I really wanted to go back to my creative roots. I just wasn’t sure how to do it. I had 15 years of commercial experience on my CV, and apart from a short period of working as a freelance photographer, absolutely nothing creative. I wanted to make my CV stand out so I decided to do an infographic CV. And then one potential employer asked for a superpowers certificate as part of the application process – I decided to make one. I didn’t get the job, but I started to get hooked on putting everything into a visual format. I shared a lot of what I was doing on social media, and I started to get a lot of encouraging feedback, so I continued until one day I discovered something called ‘graphic recording’. It looked like fun so I started practising using TED talks as a source of inspiration.
Through Twitter I discovered several communities and a couple of UK based companies who were looking for freelance collaborators, I auditioned with one of them and now work on a regular basis with them. At the same time I started to build up my own business here in Spain. I looked for conferences locally and contacted the organisers offering my services. After that, one thing led to another and I haven’t looked back.
— Verity (@larebe40) junio 17, 2015
Well, I’m now working doing something I love.
How do you think visual thinking can help organizations and companies?
Numerous studies have shown that we retain more information when visuals are involved, and in our increasingly distracting world companies are having to work harder and harder to keep employees engaged. Graphic recording is a much more effective way of capturing the key points of a meeting and much more likely to be referred back to than a set of powerpoint notes. The use of tailor made illustrations in internal communication is becoming increasingly more widespread to. I have worked on several projects now for companies who have wanted to communicate new strategies and processes through visual storytelling.
Even things such as company Codes of Conduct are much more likely to be read when accompanied by eye catching visuals.
The possibilities are endless!!
More about Verity: www.thinkdoodly.com
Verity on Twitter and Instagram: @larebe40