What is visual thinking?

According to wikipedia, Visual thinking, also called visual/spatial learning or picture thinking is the phenomenon of thinking through visual processing[1]For us it is simply a way to work, where we draw our idea, think out loud, make our thinking visible and make our point.

To some, who are still confused what is visual thinking , this video would make more sense.

To those who already know about visual thinking , you should probably know about the benefits, that include

  • Generates better ideas
  • Clarifies existing ideas
  • Helps to solve problems easily
  • Helps to make decisions
  • Improve the quality of communication
  • Enhances memory
  • Helps to focus
  • Increases time efficiency

It is a very useful tool and we encourage our students to use it as much as possible. We, ourselves , use it so much that most of our pictures in our smartphones are of ideas that generate from visual thinking.

It hasn’t been that long since we started using visual thinking at Karkhana. One thing that has helped us the most are white-top tables from ABARI. We were setting up our space in 2013 and we wanted to use something different and searched for different types of tables. Our friend, Nripal Adhikari was experimenting with bamboo furniture. We looked at some samples and decided that the unique furniture design would suit our office space.

In one of the hangout with Nripal, he suggested he has a table of bamboo design and we can also write on top of it with markers. It had a glass top. At the beginning, it didn’t seem like a good idea because we work with young students and glass didn’t look good as an option. later we asked if we can get it replaced by white table laminate. He agreed to do it and we bargained a lot for tables and he agreed again.

We have ordered 15 tables from Nripal till date and we are really happy with them. These table serve so many purposes. They are used as normal tables to keep our stuff,  as our dining tables at lunch times, as whiteboards to explain our ideas, as newsprint papers to brainstorm and to work on. It has also helped us to use less paper in our office. The interesting part is that these tables are lightweight and detachable which made it possible to be transported from Chitwan, where ABARI has their manufacturing space.

There are few useful tips if someone wants to use visual thinking using these boards or tables. You will need a lot of markers in your space. One might wonder if it would increase the expenses, but there are blogs that explain how you can elongate the life of a marker and how you can refill it by yourself.

There are also some amazing apps that can help you document the discussion in your smart phone. These apps are Camscanner, Evernote and other photo documenting apps, I personally use Camscanner which has a built-in feature to take pictures from whiteboard.

These techniques and apps have been an important part of our brainstorming, discussions and meetings. If you’ve come to our space, you’ve probably noticed our white boards and tables filled with a lots of ideas, doodles, sketches and plans. Our cleaning staffs have been directed that these whiteboards should be cleaned every morning no matter what is written in those tables. Although these ideas evaporate, the white boards are primed for a new day.