Visual thinking

I like to read and I like to write. But I have admit something. I’ve always tried to solve problems and explain complex issues by using images and visual aids. I love comics and I love photography. I try to follow Seth Godin’s rule of “no more than six words pr. slide” when making presentations. I try to tell myself: “don’t tell it, show it”.

I’m also deeply fascinated by physics and mathematics. The first thing I did when I learned to code was to make software that visualized the mathematical problems we tried to solve at school.

So I’m not surprised of the fact that I love data visualization and ways to show complex patterns and huge amounts of data visually.

And here are two of my best resources:

Information Aesthetics.

“Inspired by Lev Manovich’s definition of “information aesthetics”, this weblog explores the symbiotic relationship between creative design and the field of information visualization. More specifically, it collects projects that represent data or information in original or intriguing ways.”


An example from Information Aesthetics
An article about Open Street Map and a visualization of how people have edited the growing database of maps in their open and free to use database.
OSM 2008: A Year of Edits from ItoWorld on Vimeo.

A wonderful visualization of the collective force behind a site like openstreetmap.

FlowingData explores how designers, statisticians, and computer scientists are using data to understand ourselves better – mainly through data visualization.


An example? How about “5 Best Data Visualization Projects of the Year“?

And of course. I can’t write anything about data visualization without mentioning Hans Rosling and his amazing presentations.

So what’s your favorite data visualization sites?

Visual thinking

10 thoughts on “Visual thinking

  1. Brainmapping? My angle are those for peronal use. Can help doing your own visualizations. Defined, traditional, but hey, if they get you around…

    The Brain
    is commercial. There’s an online-, a corporate- and a private version. I use the private version myself (has grown to approx 2000 notes, pictures, links, etc.), but I do not use it’s ability as a publishing tool.

    is a free tool but more creative&artistic enhanced with ability to integrate photos, etc.

    For music and find related artists. The linking may not be perfect, ‘up-to-date and complete, but anyway.

    This from the top of my mind. Interesting topic! Be back withifwhen I find more.

  2. Anna says:

    Dear Eirikso,

    I am also explaining complex issues by using images – more concrete, my own simple sketches.

    I am currently working on my Master Thesis in which I develop a concept for my future profession, called “TrendSketcher”.

    I deeply believe that explaining complex issues by using simple sketches is a very useful tool – now I am searching for kind of theoretical articles that undergird my suggestion. Do you now some or did you write some? (or anyone else here?)
    Thank you for your help!!
    Regards from Germany! Anna

  3. Øyvind S says:

    Probably a well-known classic, but I think Edward Tufte’s “The Visual Display of Quantitative Information” is my personal favourite.

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