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Visual Thinking for Design

Visual Thinking for Design
T ere has been a revolution in our understanding of human perception that goes under the name “active vision. ” Active vision means that we should think about graphic designs as cognitive tools, enhancing and extending our brains. Although we can, to some extent, form mental images in our heads, we do much better when those images are out in the world, on paper or computer screen. Diagrams, maps, web pages, information graphics, visual instructions, and technical illustrations all help us to solve problems through a process of visual thinking. We are all cognitive cyborgs in this Internet age in the sense that we rely heavily on cognitive tools to amplify our mental abilities. Visual thinking tools are especially important because they harness the visual pattern fi nding part of the brain. Almost half the brain is devoted to the visual sense and the visual brain is exquisitely capa- ble of interpreting graphical patterns, even scribbles, in many different ways.

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