wiikkis ⎮ Riikka Wallin

Cultural management and concepts

The power of visualization?


This is a really cool video about something. I can’t really even remember what the point was because I was so engrossed by the visualization, the drawing during the whole talk. So my question is when is visualization a tool to get across a point? And when does it become the main thing and the message is really lost?


2 thoughts on “The power of visualization?

  1. Hey Riikka,

    good questions! And there are multiple answers I think because there are different purposes for using visuals.

    One goal can be to enhance the content and emphasize the point you’re trying to make. Have a look at Obama’s 2011 State of the Union where they’re using infographics to create context and make his arguments clearer.

    Another goal can be to illustrate and “make pretty images” – when done well this can capture the viewer’s attention so much that it is perceived as more important than the language. I think this is what was happening when you were watching the RSA video. It makes for a great experience, but sometimes it lessens the understanding of the content.

    Last but not least, no matter what intention you have for using visuals, what the eyes see, what the ears hear and what the brain processes is different for everyone, depending on what and how you’re used to seeing and hearing. If there was a person next to you watching the same video, I’d bet he or she would remember different things than you.

    It’s a matter of how our attention is divided – and you can probably influence that as well. Try shifting your focus from the pictures to the words spoken, or the colours used, or the structure of the overall drawing. That might be an interesting excercise to discover how you perceive information.

    Anyway, hoped you enjoyed the video, I always do! I think they’re extremely well executed and fun to watch. Check out the RSA channel on youtube, there’s loads more.

    Love from Berlin,

    Anna Lena

    • I think you’re right Anna Lena. I get so sucked into watching the drawing come to life and how the different parts are drawn that the message of the whole thing gets lost on me and I get confused. But it’s great fun to watch definitely!

      I use visualization very deliberately to get my point across. Both as pictures inside of text, to complement it, and often when I give presentations I do them as Pecha Kuchas so that the spoken word is in dialogue with the pictures or key words shown. I guess this is why the video confused me so much. It was a totally different experience than what I try to give my “audience”.

      Now I’m going to go look at that enhanced State of the Union :)

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