One Squiggly Line Blog

Hand-drawn pictures can make things clear, simple, and fun in blogs, too!

Visual Thinking Words & Pictures Together

Hand-drawn visual created in real-time
increase an event's impact by:

  • allowing the audience to see what they just heard — increasing engagement and retention.

  • literally showing the audience the big picture of each talk and, when displayed together, the event as a whole. (Great for social media!)

  • providing a visual document of the day that can be shared during and after the fact...for years and years to come!

  • bringing underlying themes and patterns to the surface and deepening conversations.

Creativity: Creative Combinations

Creativity

There's a myth out there that highly creative people just sit around and wait for inspiration to strike. Like a great big lightening bolt from the sky. Or a soft whisper from a mystical muse.

Truth is, creativity is not quite so passive. It is an active process. And there's a science to it, not just an art. There are even formulas, methods, and procedures for generating ideas and, equally importantly, evaluating them.

One classic way to create something new is to combine two things. Take the markers above, for example. Nothing new about a round tip marker. Or a brush tip marker. But when you put them both in one pen, you end up with a whole new product!

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Visual Thinking: Simple is Powerful

Friendly hand-drawn visuals can breathe new life into an old message. The topic of New Year's resolutions has been covered time and time again. So much so that people stop really paying attention to it. In effect, it becomes invisible. 

 

When that happens, a new approach is needed. Something to break the pattern and grab people's eye. No need to make it fancy or complex. Simple can be very powerful. Plus, when you keep things simple, they're less scary so you're more likely to follow through.

 Bring Visual Thinking To Your Next Project Or Event

Visual Thinking & Creativity: A Manifesto for Life

“Live deeply. Never let a moment go by where you’re not fully embracing the time you’ve been given. Be passionate. Don’t let anyone you encounter leave the same way. Talk deeply, talk real. Time is limited - Make the most of it. Don’t be afraid to speak up. Absorb the beauty in everything. Cry. Laugh. Dance in the rain. Kiss passionately. Don’t lock your voice in your mind-speak. Don’t be afraid of failure, embrace it. Love. Love life. Love everyone. Appreciate everything you’ve been given. Don’t become upset with what you don’t have. Don’t rely on materials. Sleep. Drink plenty of water. Take little adventures. Run outside. Go hiking. Go for a walk. Go fishing. Sleep under the stars. Be deep. Express your love. Be thankful. Be fully present. Always show appreciation for everything. Stay present and mindful. Absorb the experiences that will one day leave you with a burning memory in the back of your mind. Eat healthy. Treat your body right. Forgive. Be selfless. Don’t care too much about appearance. Be honest.”

By: Meredith Illig

@meredith.rose.poetry

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Visual Thinking: Adopting New Perspectives

I took an Uber home today and the driver dropped me off at a location near my apartment that I’m not used to getting dropped off at. Initially I was a bit frustrated because I had to walk a couple yards further than normal.

But, as I was walking, I started to appreciate it because it gave me a new perspective that I needed at the time. It was mid-week, and I had been going through my same routine without too much thought - wake up, go to work, go home, etc. This small instance changed my mindset for a moment and bumped me out of my normal routine. The scenery had changed, and I saw my apartment from a new perspective which I hadn’t seen before.

This brought me back to when I first moved here. To my mindset, and to the excitement I had. I felt different, as if I adopted a new pair of lenses. My day felt different from the other ones, and it got me thinking that I need to break more patterns.

So I decided to go to the gym. I also sat on the bench at my apartment, peacefully enjoying nature. And I prayed for the first time in awhile.

I decided to break up my usual routine, and instead fill it with new perspectives.

It was refreshing.

I didn’t feel so robotic. I felt alive.

It’s important to change our routines from time to time. New perspectives bring forth creative thinking patterns.

If we stay on the same path everyday, chances are we’ll tend to have the same thoughts as we’ve always had. If we don’t evaluate our lives on a regular basis, we can easily fall into the trap of forming habits that are not conducive to a creative life.

We must evaluate and edit our lives on a frequent basis.


The only thing you sometimes have control over is perspective. You don't have control over your situation. But you have a choice about how you view it.”

-Chris Pine

bring visual thinking to your next project or event

Visual Thinking: Get it! Grab it! Go for it!

VisualThinking_GetitGrabitGoforIt_OneSquigglyLine

While visual thinking makes things simple, it certainly does not dumb them down. Part of the simplicity comes from removing unnecessary parts, leaving behind only what you need to work with. That allows you to really see exactly what it is you do have to work with. This often leads to that, "Oh, now I get it!" moment when everything finally seems to fall into place and make sense.

Once you can see things more clearly, you are able to make better decisions. Sometimes, things become so obvious it doesn't even really feel like you're making a decision at all. The right choice just jumps right at you. Or if you do need to think about it for a minute, it's much easier for you to grab it and run with it.

Check out One Squiggly Line's About Visual Thinking page to learn more.
 

Visual Thinking & Creativity: Use something in a new way

VisualThinking_Creativity_BusinessCards_OneSquigglyLine

There's a myth out there that highly creative people just sit around and wait for inspiration to strike. Like a great big lightening bolt from the sky. Or a soft whisper from a mystical muse.
Truth is, creativity is not quite so passive. It is an active process. And there's a science to it, not just an art. There are even formulas, methods, and procedures for generating ideas and, equally importantly, evaluating them. One way to get a new idea or find a creative solution is to use something in a new way.

Sometimes, I take stacks of business cards with me, like if I'm working at a conference or event. Regular rubber bands seemed to rip several of the cards, which meant I had fewer to give out. So, I looked around and found something different to hold my business cards together — stretchy ribbon hair ties. Not only do they hold my business cards together, they look better, too!

When it comes to creativity, the best ideas can be inside the box, not outside of it. You just need to use them in a new way.

Visual Thinking & Visual Notes: Live Graphic Recording

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 Hand-drawn visuals are far friendlier than standardized fonts and stock photos. And hand-drawn visuals are even more inviting when created live, right there where everyone can see.
The drawing above was created during the opening remarks at the Women in Cyber Security conference the end of March. It was then displayed near registration to welcome late-comers. Not a high resolution file shown here, just taken with my iPhone in the moment.

To see the whole set of visual notes from the Women in Cyber Security conference, check out this Flickr album.

Visual Thinking & Visual Notes: Live Graphic Recording

VisualThinking_LiveIllustratedNotes_OneSquigglyLine

People often think I do a lot of drawing while taking live visual notes. If you really look at the image above, you'll see there's really not much drawing there at all. Just some squares, a couple of circles, and an arrow. That's it!
When you write words inside simple shapes, those simple shapes start making your own notes a bit more visual. They become more dynamic. More interesting. The image and the message become more unified. And far more powerful. 

A great way to make your own notes more visual is to write some of your words inside simple shapes — circles, squares, triangles, arrows, etc. Give it a try!

The image above is a close-up of a 4'x8' drawing, created live, in real-time during a Design Thinking workshop. Be sure to check out the entire image!

Visual Thinking & Visual Notes: Live Graphic Recording at Events

VisualNotes_GraphicRecording_TechInclusion_OneSquigglyLine

There's never just one way to create visual notes, especially when they are created live. And at a large scale. That can make capturing a panel talk more of a challenge for some people. It takes a bit more flexibility than a clearly defined presentation.

I tend to capture panel discussions in a way that highlights the key points of the discussion as a whole. Not a series of summaries of what each person contributed. Since discussions tend to be rather fluid, the final visual makes much more sense that way. Speakers tend to like it better that way, too. So often key points build on what another speaker said, so there's no chance of misattribution when you capture the discussion as a whole.

The visual notes above were created during a panel discussion at TechInclusion last fall. You can see the whole set of visual notes created live, on-site there in this Flickr album