Visual facilitation

22. 5. 2017


How would you draw the word "ubiquitous" ? Here is my take on it. But first...

I am currently working on an animation with illustrator and visual facilitator Roland Siegenthaler ( He invited me to participate in his visualization workshop. I recommend this workshop to anybody who would like to surprise his or her colleagues during the next office meeting with visuals that support the group’s decision making.

During the course, Roland guides his participants from the initial fear of drawing to lift up the pen and create sketches of complex definitions such as gender equality, sustainability, or procedure. In a playful way you learn how to draw simple characters that look like they are doing what you want them to be doing.

Paper > iPad

Roland prefers to draw on paper rather than on an iPad. An electronic device keeps you focused on the app’s possibilities and software glitches (no app is perfect!), rather than on actually doing it. If you would like to use your image on your computer, draw on a sheet of paper then scan it with CamScanner. The free version lets you take a picture of your image and adjust the colors so that white is white and black is black. - My tip for animators: If you want to create a vector image from your drawing, use the Adobe Capture CC app.

What should I draw?

How to find the perfect image for your concept? As a visual facilitator during events Roland sketches live while listening to the participants. He draws on key words translating then into images. How quickly you associate complex ideas with an image is pure practice. The way you find your image is a well structured process:

Ask yourself: Is it a concrete concept I would like to visualize? Then there is a concrete image such as a house, a car, or a tree. Or is it a general concept such as fruits, mammals, motorised vehicles. Then you need to draw a few of the elements that make up this group.

But what to do with concepts/words such as trust, synergy, thematic focus, or ... yes ... ubiquitous? Here you enter the realm of metaphors. Good metaphors draw on our every day experience or general knowledge. So if you can't think of a good image from your work environment, find an image from another realm, such as:

  • The animal kingdom
  • The circus world
  • History
  • Hobbies
  • Objects
  • Transportation
  • Sports

I really had my fun during the workshop. And as the day progressed I hand glided over the white paper with increasing ease. And so comes the moment of truth: How would you draw the word "ubiquitous" ? Enjoy!