Within the previous post we discussed how pictures, symbols, signs and icons can be used to help you think visually. Within this post we will break down the remaining four visual thinking ingredients that form the bedrock of the visual thinking process: colors, written language, numbers and shapes.
Colors are not an essential ingredient for visual thinking, however they are extremely helpful because they enable you to highlight ideas; they can be used as boundaries to segregate and categorize concepts, and they allow your visuals to pop-out — making them more effective and memorable.
Colors can also be used to label diagrams, maps or charts to help make your content more meaningful. For instance, you could use a variety of colored sticky-notes to represent different kinds of ideas on a whiteboard.
It’s important to also understand that when it comes to visual thinking, there are some general rules for color selection and the meaning that they imply. Here is a quick summary:
- Yellow = Lateral thinking and opportunity spotting.
- Black = Critical thinking and innovation.
- Green = Imaginative thinking and innovation.
- Brown = Judgmental thinking and quality appraisal.
- Blue = Holistic thinking and environmental scanning.
- Orange = System thinking and design.
- White = Meta-cognition and thinking about thinking.
- Grey = Chaotic thinking and ambiguity.
- Purple = Strategic thinking and directing.
- Red = Decision-making and action.
You can use this list of colors to create meaning during brainstorming or idea generation sessions. You can also use them throughout the visual thinking process.