December 16, 2015 0

Dan Roam and Vivid Thinking

61nPVlgFr4L._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_I’ve recently been reading Dan Roam’s book, Blah, blah blah. What to do when words don’t work. It’s an interesting read about visual language and why we should use it.


The most interesting aspect of this book for me is the vivid grammar chart, which I think can be used as a really good frame if you’re stuck on how to depict something. In it, he aligns visual language with grammar. Any sentence or idea can be broken down into parts, and each of those parts has a corresponding visual. At it’s most basic, it’s this:

Noun (who)= Portrait

Adjective (how)= Chart

Prepositions and conjunctions (where)= Maps

Tense (why)= Timeline

Complex nouns (why)= Combining maps and charts into multivariable plot charts

Complex verbs (how)= Combine maps and timelines to create flowcharts

Check out the link to the vivid grammar chart:

Screen Shot 2015-12-16 at 11.37.06 AM

There is a wealth of information on Dan Roam’s site, , including videos and downloadable pdfs.



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