When I was driving around Oporto about a year ago I saw a strange structure in the distance and couldn’t imagine then that this creation would appear in one of my posts on the very subject of “imagination.”
According to Wikipedia, “the imagination (from the Latin imaginatio, -onis) is a higher function that allows an individual to manipulate information generated intrinsically with the end of creating a representation perceived by the mind’s senses. ‘Generated intrinsically’ means that the information is created within the organism in the absence of environmental stimulus. With respect to the “mind’s senses,” these are the mechanisms that make it possible to ‘see’ an object previously seen but which is no longer present in the environment. It’s worth clarifying that when one imagines it is not reduced only to the visual sense, but also to other sensory areas”. And this definition is perfect for explaining the necessary intermediate step that naturally arises between the processes of “SEEING and DRAWING” ideas, which we spoke about in other post.
In that post, we focused on the first process: “Seeing ideas” to be able to communicate them effectively. And to that end, we proposed – based on the Visual Thinking Codex by Dam Roam – answering six key questions that allow us to fully see ideas:
- How many
- And why
Nevertheless, even after answering these six questions, we do not manage to completely understand what “we see,” so that consequently we are not prepared to communicate it.
“Until now, we concentrated on the eyes and on sight, and seeing the tools and steps we rely on in order to process visual information that we receive from the external world”, says Roam. It is the moment to turn on the mind’s eye and begin to imagine.
According to Roam, “to imagine is like giving the mind’s eye permission to take over so we might be able to see things that are not physically visible in the moment. That means taking the coordinates, patterns and components that we see in the world and translating them into abstract drawings that we can manipulate in our heads.”
Knowing how to handle this manipulation is something very familiar to Janet Echelman, creator of the sculpture mentioned at the opening of this post, who after losing her drawings just before an exhibition, was forced to rely on the “mind’s eye” to find a way out, and did she ever: Janet Echelman: Taking Imagination Seriously.
So to imagine means to let oneself go and look in our brain for a way to complete what we have already seen in reality, with all the details that are continually stored away in our memory bank each time we see them.
The best way to see something that is not present is to look with eyes closed, and that is where the act of imagining enters the stage,” explains Roam. As we saw in the previous post, once we are able to “see” an idea, we are able to draw it and show it to others. And in order to draw it in the best way possible, we need to use the imagination.
Dam Roam suggests a tool, involving an odd name whose initials we saw here: SCVID.
SCVID is a tool for the activation of the visual imagination that works on its own and can be used at anytime and anyplace. It helps us accomplish the three basic tasks of the imagination:
- It activates all corners of the mind’s eye in order to complete a mental image and
- It helps us see that image through the eyes of our potential public.
The abovementioned is the perfect tool for executing drawings that seek to explain an idea or concept to a person or public (clients, suppliers, friends). The SCVID works with 10 different perspectives, namely:
Simple <-> Complex
Quality <-> Quantity
Vision <-> Execution
Individual <-> Compared
Change <-> Status quo
Roam proposes two main ways for using SCVID:
First. Consider the five variables from both perspectives and think about how the idea could be visually described according to each of the options: a simple and a complex representation, a qualitative and a quantitative, etc. “If we run our ideas through the five questions and produce a visual description for each extreme, we obligate mind’s eye to produce at least 10 different perspectives.”
Second. The second way is motivated less by our idea and more by the expectations of the recipient. In this way we would use SCVID as a graphic equalizer by means of which we identify what “gradations” are the most useful for the public, that is to say, if we know that our speaker knows about numbers and about graphs, we would go straight to the quantitative perspective, etc. “If we organize the sliding controls of the graphic equalizer towards the points of view that seem most pertinent to us for our public, we put the focus onto what type of drawings would be better to show.“
And after all these posts, do you know on which side you are?
I think we’re ready to start drawing…