“The real voyage of discovery consists of not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.”

Marcel Proust

Visualization as a pattern language helps us “see” data, stories, and themes from a different perspective. We can experience new insights when we minimize the baggage of language and look at a sketch, graph, image, illustration, etc.

As Dave Gray points out, visualization is increasingly used in business and science to simplify complexity: a picture is worth a thousand words. For this reason, Canopy Gap works with a Graphic Facilitator, Kevin Bain, who is trained to hear themes within a meeting or workshop and visualize them in the room.


The value of producing visuals is not to serve the “visual learners.” This has come under scrutiny, along with the idea that some people are left brained and others are right brained. (We’re all both!)

Everyone benefits when we are multi-modal. There is a reason that social media posts that include images easily outperform words alone. Our senses respond to stimulation. Our brains are wired to take in sensory data, more than they are wired to reflect and analyze. In some way, we are tapping into primal wisdom when we are not depending on words.

“For the newly sighted, vision is pure sensation unencumbered by meaning.”

Annie Dillard