A List Apart

Issue № 322

Respect the doodle. Use visual thinking to create and share ideas.

Sketching: the Visual Thinking Power Tool

by Mike Rohde · 33 Comments

You don’t have to be a great singer to write a great song, just ask Bob Dylan. Likewise, you needn’t be a Leonardo to draw your way to more and better ideas. Sketching helps you generate concepts quickly, exploring alternatives rapidly and at no cost of resources. The looseness of a sketch removes inhibitions, granting clients and colleagues permission to consider and challenge the ideas it represents. Mike Rohde outlines the practice, surveys the tools, and shares ways to become confident with this method of brainstorming, regardless of your level of artistic ability.

The Miseducation of the Doodle

by Sunni Brown · 24 Comments

The teacher who chastised you for “mindless doodling” was wrong on both counts. Far from shutting down the mind, the act of doodling engages the brain in the kind of visual sense-making people have practiced for over 30,000 years. Doodling sharpens concentration, increases retention, and enhances access to the problem solving unconscious. It activates the portions of the visual cortex that allow us to see mental imagery and manipulate concepts, and unifies three major learning modalities, visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. Doodle Revolution leader Sunni Brown introduces strategic doodling and presents the ABCs of our shared visual alphabet.

More from A List Apart


Ask Dr. Web with Jeffrey Zeldman

Looking for Love: Standing Out from the Crowd of Web Job Seekers

You have a solid resume, but can’t seem to connect with the right job. Maybe it's not you. Jeffrey Zeldman suggests reconsidering your career niche or refocusing your work persona. It could open fresh hiring tracks just waiting for the right candidate—you.

From the Blog

Career Consultation with Dr. Web—Live

Your career is alive, complex, and trying to grow in the right direction—but finding that path can be confusing. When you don’t know what you don’t know, or need just a nudge to kickstart your next step, a healthy dose of guidance can do the trick. In a live Q&A this December, Jeffrey Zeldman brings “Ask Dr. Web” to ALA events, answering viewer questions in real time with cohost Sarah Parmenter.