September 4


Unlocking Your Creative Genius: What is Visual Thinking and Why You Need It Now

By Joshua Turner

September 4, 2023

Visual thinking organizes information and ideas through images, diagrams, and other visual aids. It’s a powerful tool for problem-solving, communication, and creativity. This type of perception is not limited to artists or designers but is a skill anyone can develop and use.

Understanding the skill is crucial today, where information overload and complex problems are the norm. It allows us to see patterns, connections, and relationships that might be hard to perceive with words alone. Perceptible mindfulness helps us simplify complex ideas and communicate them more effectively.

Key Takeaways

  • Visual thinking is a powerful tool for problem-solving, communication, and creativity.
  • It allows us to see patterns, connections, and relationships that might be hard to perceive with words alone.
  • The skill is not limited to artists or designers but is a skill that can be developed and used by anyone.

Understanding Visual Thinking

Visual Learning

Visual learning is acquiring knowledge through diagrams, charts, and images. People who are discernible learners tend to absorb information better when it is presented in a graphic format, as opposed to text-heavy materials. This type of learning is an aspect of perceptible thinking, as it helps individuals to process and retain information more effectively.

Visual Thinking Strategies

Visual thinking strategies involve using images and aids to facilitate problem-solving and decision-making. Using visual aids, individuals can better understand complex information and concepts and allow individuals more easily identify patterns and connections between different pieces of information. These strategies benefit real picture thinkers, who think in pictures rather than words.

Visual Aid

Visual aids are tools that are used to enhance perceptible thinking and learning. These can include diagrams, charts, images, and videos. They help make information more accessible and easier to understand, particularly for individuals who struggle with traditional text-based learning methods.

This skill is an aspect of learning and problem-solving. Using visual aids and strategies can better understand complex information, identify patterns and connections, and enhance their overall learning experience.

The Science Behind Visual Thinking


The learning skill has been found to improve brainstorming sessions by allowing individuals to generate more ideas and make connections between them. It is because our brains are wired to process graphic information more efficiently than other types of information.

Using mind maps or diagrams can organize thoughts and ideas more structured and efficiently, leading to more creative and practical brainstorming sessions.

Spatial Learning

Spatial learning is understanding and navigating the physical world around us. Perceptible learning allows us to process and interpret graphic information such as maps, diagrams, and charts. This ability is vital in architecture, engineering, and science, where spatial visualization and manipulation are critical skills.

Visual Processing

Observable processing is the ability to interpret and make sense of graphic information. Studies have shown that individuals with strong graphical processing skills are better at reading, problem-solving, and decision-making tasks.

Perceptible thinking can improve discernible processing skills by allowing individuals to practice interpreting and analyzing graphic information in various contexts.


Research in split-brain patients has also provided insights into the role of perceivable thinking in the brain. Studies have shown that the brain’s left hemisphere is responsible for language and analytical thinking, while the right hemisphere is responsible for visual and spatial processing.

Individuals can engage both brain hemispheres using images, diagrams, maps, and techniques, leading to more holistic and practical thinking.

This type of learning is a powerful tool that can improve creativity, problem-solving, and decision-making. Understanding the science behind graphical thinking can harness its power to improve cognitive abilities and achieve goals.

Visual Thinking in Education

Teaching Strategies

Observable thinking is an effective approach to teaching and learning that can greatly benefit students in the classroom. Teachers can incorporate diagrams, charts, and images to help students better understand complex concepts.

Encouraging students to create their own, such as mind maps or graphic organizers, can also be an effective teaching strategy.

Learning Styles

Perceptible thinking is a learning style that is particularly suited to students who are visual/spatial learners. These students learn best through visual aids and hands-on activities.

However, it can also benefit students who could be more visual/spatial learners, as it can help them better understand and remember information.

Mathematical Visualization

The skill is instrumental in math education, as it can help students better understand complex mathematical concepts. Teachers can use graphic aids such as graphs, diagrams, and models to help students picture mathematical concepts. Encouraging students to create their own, such as drawings or diagrams, can also be an effective teaching strategy.

This skill is an effective approach to teaching and learning that can significantly benefit students in the classroom. Teachers can use images and models and encourage students to create their own to help students better understand complex concepts. This skill is particularly useful in math education but can also benefit students in other subjects.

Visual Thinking in the Workplace


Visual thinking can help organize ideas and information. Employees can better understand complex concepts and relationships using diagrams, charts, and mind maps. Workshops can also benefit from these learning tools, as they can help participants retain information and stay engaged.


Images can also improve communication in the workplace. Presentation slides can be made more engaging and informative by including images, diagrams, and charts. Whiteboards can be used to brainstorm ideas and collaborate with colleagues. Using this learning tool can better convey their thoughts and ensure everyone is on the same page.


Perceptible thinking can also improve collaboration in the workplace. Employees can work together more effectively by using collaborative tools such as digital whiteboards and graphic brainstorming software. This can lead to better teamwork and more innovative solutions. They can also help to break down language barriers, as images and diagrams can be universally understood.

The skill can greatly benefit organizations by improving organization, communication, and collaboration. Diagrams, charts, and mind maps can help employees better understand complex concepts and relationships. They can also improve communication by making presentations more engaging and informative. The skill can enhance collaboration by enabling employees to work together more effectively.

Tools for Visual Thinking

Several tools are available to help you think visually, including mind maps, diagrams, and flow charts.

Mind Maps

Mind maps are a popular tool for brainstorming and organizing ideas. They are diagrams that start with a central idea and branch into related topics. Mind maps are a great way to picture connections between ideas and can help you generate new ideas as well.

Some popular mind-mapping tools include MindNode, XMind, and Coggle. These tools offer a variety of templates and customization options to help you create the perfect mind map for your needs.


Diagrams are graphic representations of information that can be used to explain complex concepts or processes. They can show relationships between elements, highlight key points, or provide a step-by-step guide.

There are several diagrams, including flowcharts, spiders, and Venn diagrams. Each type of diagram has its strengths and weaknesses, so choosing the right one for your needs is important.

Tools like Lucidchart, Gliffy, and make it easy to create professional-looking diagrams quickly and easily.

Flow Charts

Flow charts are a diagram showing the steps involved in a process or procedure. They can be used to identify bottlenecks, optimize workflows, or simply represent a process.

Flow charts can be created using specialized software like Microsoft Visio or SmartDraw or with more general-purpose tools like Google Drawings or Lucidchart.

Using these tools, you can create powerful representations of complex information to help you think more clearly and make better decisions. Whether you’re a student, a business owner, or just someone who wants to organize your thoughts more effectively, a graphic thinking toolkit is an integral part of your arsenal.

The Power of Drawing in Visual Thinking


Drawing is a powerful tool that helps clarify complex ideas and concepts by breaking them into simple, easy-to-understand images. Drawing out your ideas lets you see the elements’ connections and identify gaps or inconsistencies.


Drawing also stimulates creativity. When you draw, you are forced to think outside the box and come up with new and innovative solutions to problems. This is especially true when you combine different elements and ideas unexpectedly, creating something entirely new and unique.

Critical Thinking

Drawing can also help to develop critical thinking skills. Picturing your ideas can let you more quickly identify potential flaws or weaknesses in your arguments. This makes it easier to refine your ideas and make them more compelling.

Drawing is a powerful tool for discernible thinking that can help to clarify complex ideas, stimulate creativity, and develop critical thinking skills. Whether you are doodling in a notebook or creating detailed diagrams, drawing can help you to communicate your ideas more effectively and make them more engaging for your audience.

Famous Visual Thinkers

Temple Grandin

Temple Grandin is a well-known visual thinker who has significantly contributed to animal behavior and welfare. She is also an advocate for people with autism, as she has autism and has used her unique way of thinking to improve the lives of animals and people.

Grandin has written several books, including “Thinking in Pictures,” which describes her perceptible thinking process and how it has influenced her work.

Rudolf Arnheim

Rudolf Arnheim was a German-born author, art and film theorist, and perceptual psychologist. He is best known for his work on graphical perception and artistic expression, particularly his book “Art and Visual Perception.” Arnheim believed that the skill was critical to understanding art and that our observable experiences influence how we perceive the world around us.

Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein is one of the most famous discernible thinkers ever. His thought experiments were observable and helped him develop his groundbreaking theories of relativity. Einstein also used graphical models and diagrams to help explain complex scientific concepts to others.

These famous visual thinkers have made significant contributions to their respective fields and have helped us better understand the power of this learning skill.


Visual thinking is a powerful tool that can help individuals process complex information and solve problems innovatively. Visual language can communicate ideas and concepts more effectively, and evidence suggests that this approach can provide cognitive benefits for people with various thinking styles, including musical and kinesthetic learners.

Research has shown that individuals with photographic and eidetic memory may be particularly adept at this skill, while those with visual agnosia may struggle. However, with the correct methodology and training, even individuals who struggle with word blindness or reversing letters can learn to harness the power of the skill.

One of the key benefits of this learning skill is its ability to make abstract concepts more concrete and understandable. It can be especially helpful for individuals who struggle with auditory processing disorder or who have a preference for verbal thinking styles. Using color terminology and other visual tools can create a more transparent and accessible way of presenting the information.

Overall, this learning skill has hidden gifts that can benefit the general population in many ways. Researchers like Linda Kreger Silverman, Brent Berlin, Paul Kay, Steven Pinker, David A Sousa, and Roger Sperry have all contributed to our understanding of the cognitive benefits of this skill.

Psychologist E.R. Jaensch was one of the first to explore the concept, and his work paved the way for further research.

It is a valuable tool for anyone looking to process complex information, solve problems, and communicate ideas more effectively. Whether you prefer verbal or visual thinking styles, there are many benefits to be gained from exploring this approach. Individuals can unlock their imagination and tap into their hidden potential by harnessing the power of visual language and other aids.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some examples of using visual thinking in daily life?

The skill can be used in various activities, such as creating mind maps, drawing diagrams, making flowcharts, and even taking notes. It can also be used to remember things better by creating graphical associations between words and images.

What are the advantages of being a visual thinker?

It can help individuals to process information more efficiently and effectively. The skill can also help individuals better understand complex concepts and ideas and communicate their ideas more clearly and persuasively.

How does visual thinking differ from verbal thinking?

Visual thinking involves using images and other graphic elements to process and communicate information, whereas verbal thinking involves using words and language. Visual thinking is often more intuitive and holistic, while verbal thinking is more analytical and linear.

What are some strategies for incorporating visual thinking into business and communication?

Some strategies for incorporating the skill into business and communication include using visual aids such as graphs, charts, and diagrams, metaphors to explain complex ideas, and mind maps to brainstorm and organize ideas.

Can visual thinking be helpful for individuals with autism?

It can be conducive for individuals with autism, providing a more concrete and tangible way of understanding and processing information. It can also help individuals with autism to express themselves better and communicate their ideas to others.

Who are some famous individuals known for their visual thinking abilities?

Some famous individuals known for their perceptible thinking abilities include Leonardo da Vinci, Albert Einstein, and Steve Jobs. These individuals were able to use their skills to come up with innovative ideas and solutions to complex problems.

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