Vivid Thinking vs Visual Thinking

With this problem of trying to use Dan Roams Visual Thinking framework from The Back of Paper Napkin and trying to translate the House sharing data we have generated. I have side stepped and decided to move on to Dan Roams second book Blah Blah Blah which is geared around Vivid Thinking joining both words and pictures.

So the first exercise for the House sharing data on Thursday is translate specific words into pictures (from P78)

We saw a word, we draw a picture

To me this is easiest starting point as I have found it very difficult to match Dan’s first framework with the data. His original frameworks were around drawing business problems not clarifying data as such but that is possibly me missing the connection as he does translate a lot of data in one chapter of the Back of the paper Napkin.

9:30pm – Home


… TIME____S

A few weeks ago I experimented with Visual Timelines. Wow they are so useful once you input all your information.

My Timeline of the Project so far upto Week 14

My Timeline of the Project so far upto Week 14


Direction – Company Strategies

I have just been reading some of the book “Bold” and have found reading about the O2, Chilli Beans, Zappos, Six Senses strategies really interesting. They are all customer and staff experience focused.

I have been trying to work out what elements of these strategies may be useful in our Watch This Space project.

I will sleep on it.

20/05/13 – Home – 9:30pm


Coding information

This subject has been the hardest area for me to get my head around. Coming from such a logical engineering background it has been difficult to explore and code information. It has been very hard to work out a process of doing this and I have been confusing myself with all the different frameworks, plus some of these methods are around Visual Thinking and some are around Visual Language. So going back to basics with Sheilas presentations from the MDes 02 course I feel I may have got a method to follow and develop something.

From last weeks lecture I now have a more specific research title

Using Dan Roams framework to enhance understanding around the House Share data set

This research title now helps to focus my thoughts around how to code the data we have created through our House share project.

The process I am going to use now is the WHAT and HOW process. First the WHAT and then the HOW.

Sheila MDes 02 notes - The What and the How for information

Sheila MDes 02 notes – The What and the How for information

The WHAT – Organise the information 

I have previously done alot this.

1. Classify all the information – This is where previously I let myself down. I have tried today to pull all the material in and classify it.

So what information do I have, using my timeline diagram that I did for previous formaltive assessment I can piece together all the information I have.

My Timeline of the Project so far upto Week 14

My Timeline of the Project so far upto Week 14

Here is a photo of my workings for today.

Classify the Material I have from project. Working out Main data and Supporting Data and the heirarchies

Classify the Material I have from project. Working out Main data and Supporting Data and the heirarchies

– Textual material – Data set A, Data set B, Data Set C, notes, Findings

– Visual material – Photos, Sketches, Illustrations, Graphics and Tables

2. Define Hierarchies – This was not as straight forward and this was my first attempt to try and break down information for each piece of material. For me this is the identifying information on each piece of data “like the nutrient information on the back of a packed of crisps”

Started to define the hierarchies of information

Started to define the hierarchies of information

– Main information

– Supporting information

– Additional information

3. Filter and Select

4. Tell your Story

– Sections, parts and chapters

5. Develop Style

HOW –  Designing Information

1. Grid

2. Imagery

3. Coding

4. Legibility

5. Constants & Variables

6. Text & Image

20/05/13 – Uni 13:26

With my Studio Practice project coming to a close this has been a difficult process in terms of selecting the right data to use and keeping the research structured.

There are two processes going on here:

1. Reporting and claifying the design research. To create a clear report and final presentation.

2. Attempting to prototype House Share Data Set to understand it in different ways visually.

House Share Data Set - Initial Themes

House Share Data Set – Initial Themes

What next, I have to work through these processes this week for both of them. I will start with the reporting process as it will lead into the prototype process.


– Sheilas MDes 02 Presentations

– Bertins diagram

This is Bertins Retina Variable Diagram for coding information Reference Sheila MDes 02 Presentation 2012

This is Bertins Retina Variable Diagram for coding information
Reference Sheila MDes 02 Presentation 2012

… *#@

This is a great article on google and their creation of a unifying design language and consistent design. It demonstrates how teams can communicate together.

Google redesign

…Visual Narrative and Peter Anderson

Last night I went with a good friend to the Design Museum Talks. Peter Anderson was talking about his 20 years experimenting with language and visuals.

It was such a deep and thoughtful talk in terms of designing visual language with a purpose rather than just to sell something.

I did not realise this was Peter Andersons work in Sherlock Holmes. Very Simple and adds to the story and the character of Sherlock Holmes.

Visual Language in action telling a story. This is Peter Andersons work in the Sherlock Holmes TV series.

I am already exploring this area of visual narrative in the other projects I am involved with. Time to prototype.

The areas Peter spoke about were:

– Is Language enough (why don’t we add words to pictures Flip our thinking)

– Experiment (Wordscapes and concrete poetry)

– Act as a Spark (Language as a mechanism)

– Fusing stuff (imagery with typography)

– Back to Basics

– Growing Information

– Language can start stories

– Living Language

– Thinking place

– Language vs Logo

– Animating Language

– Making knowledge accessible & information to progress knowledge

A lot of Peters work can be found on his website

Work 9:14am

…Project – Future Thinkers initial survey

As part of our MDes 04/PG 04 Module we are designing a disruptive new service which is aimed at helping other people now and us in the future. A new type of social benefit system.

I wanted to ask for your help, in that big world out there. Can you answer tow questions from this survey. This will allow us to test the idea with as many people as possibly.

Any feedback would be great to hear from anyone?

The survey can be found on here.


– The sketchnote book Handbook – Drawing

– The Art of explanation – Communication

– Change by Design – Time Brown – Prototyping

– Made to Stick – Making ideas stick

– Survey Monkey – Survey

…Timeline – Dance Music

Who would know how much fun you could have looking over a timeline. Just been having fun learning about the era and explosion of Dance Music through the ages. I had never heard of D-Train before.

We were shown two timeline creation tools one called Timeline JS  and another called Tiki Toki

Thanks Natasha for sharing this website with us yesterday.

…Design Thinking – Learn by Doing

Design Thinking Network

Going to the Design Thinkers Workshop – LEARN BY DOING on Wednesday was a fantastic experience in terms of helping me learn about working in teams and putting some of the models I have heard about to the test. However the most important element was discovering another way of generating ideas and businesses from a large Wicked Type problem.

I can see myself using this framework in both of the modules I am involved in now.

Back to the workshop:

We only had 4 hours to look into this. If we had had more time. But there is never enough time.

I love learning about new ways of thinking, being able to co-create and to use tools to actually produce new ways of dealing with problems.

The hardest element is co-creation, everyone is different and getting people on to the same page is the challenge.

A useful link I found on this subject was

Here are some photos of the afternoon:

Customer Journey Mapping

Customer Journey Mapping

Customer Journey Mapping

Customer Journey Mapping

Stakeholder Value Mapping of our company

Stakeholder Value Mapping of our company

Learn by Doing Workshop

Learn by Doing Workshop

Reflection Board

Reflection Board

…Creating Disruptive Innovation Pitch

Tomorrow we have been tasked with Pitching a Disruptive Innovation Pitch in 2 minutes.

My process for doing this today has been:

1. Read the notes from the previous lecture and get my mind around the disruptive innovation

2. Look at some of my previous ideas and compare to see if they are a disruptive innovation.

3. Use the Creative Whack Pack by Roger von Oech to try and create something new

4. Create a Metaphor for my pitch


The Creative Whack Pack

I have not tried these before, so I thought this would be a good experiment going through the process of creating and expanding ideas in a different way.

Reading through the cards and the booklet. I realised a block I have been having with idea generating and that was how do I judge and implement an idea. The whack pack has helped me become aware of four categories in the idea process:

– The Explorer – DISCOVERING places for new ideas.

– The Artist – TRANSFORMING Resources into new Ideas

– The Judge – EVALUATING and DECIDING on Ideas

– The Warrior – IMPLEMENTING Ideas

I did some of the initial exercises with the cards and had some interesting results.


Past Month – I am more of a Warrior and a balance of the others. I need to improve my Artist. My personal creative style has improved over the past year to being more warrior like with an decrease in the other three areas from a year ago. Meaning I have become more reliant on a few strategies to generate ideas.

Past Year – An even spread apart from the judger which was low.

Never – Lots of cards of each suit apart from the Warrior which only had one.

My strongest pile was the Warrior and the Weakest was the Judge


This was a hard exercise to compare some of my ideas with something else. I did come up with a few.

Lets see how it goes tomorrow.