These trends that are boosting visual thinking

We see around us more and more mind maps, sketchnotes, infographics or graphic facilitation murals. There is also a real trend for a return to paper and hand-drawing with techniques such as Bullet Journal, Lettering or Zen Tangle. There are a thousand ways to use visual thinking that are impacting the way we work and learn. I would like to give you an overview of the main trends that "speak the language of visual thinking" and make it advance. 


We often talk about "Agile methodologies". In reality, Agile is more of a mindset. Coming from proven software development methods, Agile is now used in various areas of the enterprise. It makes extensive use of visual tools such as mind maps, graphic facilitation techniques, Kanban, etc... 

Bullet Journal

Invented by American designer Ryder Carroll, Bullet Journal is a notebook where everything is drawn and written by hand. It gathers agenda and notes to better organize oneself. It also has a strong creative and visual dimension that is very close to sketchnoting. In addition to Bullet Journal, we can also observe the rise of other visual techniques related to the use of the hand and the notebook: Zen Tangle, Lettering, Urban Sketching .... 

Design Thinking

It is a methodology that is inspired by the way designers think about innovation and new products development. It is nowadays considered as strategic for companies that innovate.

In Design Thinking, visual thinking plays an essential role. At the heart of the design method, in brainstorming, drawing is a tool for dialogue, exchange and sharing creativity.

Cognitive Enhancement 

Nowadays there is a real trend around cognitive enhancement: speed reading, personal productivity, memory development, ... The tools for cognitive enhancement draw abundantly from mind maps, concept maps and sketchnoting techniques. 

Graphic Facilitation

Graphic facilitation takes advantage of visual tools to lead people toward a goal in meetings, seminars, workshops and conferences. The graphics are usually drawn by hand, by a person called a graphic facilitator who may create the graphics in real time during the event.

Legal Design

The aim of legal design is to find an innovative way to explain law in a way that makes it more interesting, easy to understand and more accessible. Legal design involves graphical representation, clear and simple language, and new technology.

Presentation Design

Inspired by Nancy Duarte  and the contributions of Garr Reynolds and his Presentation Zen approach, this movement seeks to make presentations more visual, simpler, and more memorable. New digital tools support the Presentation Design movement, among which we can mention Canva, Genially or Haiku Deck. 

Visual Management

Visual management is based on the visual perception of information. Inspired by lean management, it seeks to limit waste for greater efficiency and performance in the workplace. 

The Future

We can see three main trends for the next few years: the growth of emerging professions related to visual thinking, the continued development of visual software and the rising prominence of visual thinking skills among the workforce.  

New professions have emerged during the last years. They are related to visual thinking: Visual Thinking Facilitator, Graphic Facilitator, Graphic Designer and Design Thinking Consultant to name a few.

We also believe in the growth of software related to the practice of visual thinking. This is a phenomenon of great magnitude that leads to the development of software companies like Canva, Mural, Miro, Milanote and so on.

On a global scale, what is at stake is the growing role of graphicacy (the ability to understand and present information visually) in a world in which innovation and creativity are becoming more and more strategic.