Empirical evidence suggests that humans are born with the native capacity to think visually. Indeed, the configuration of a human face - the position of eyes and mouth are hard wired in the human brain. Yet once we are schooled, most of us become language-centric in our thoughts and communication, leaving our visual intelligence to be stimulated by entertainment media. Sunni Brown's new book, "The Doodle Revolution", is a welcome wake-up call to reengage these innate visual skills toward immediately practicable communication skills and a richer cognitive existence.
Having fruitfully employed Sunni's "gamestorming" techniques to facilitate ideation in various workshops, I eagerly anticipated "The Doodle Revolution". I hoped it would extend my group facilitation repertoire with visual communication skills. It has turned out to be much more than that.
The first thing I noticed was an exuberant tone and dynamic style that kept me engaged. The next thing I noticed is that the book is filled with, well, doodles! Sunni practices what she preaches and employs her own methods as a communication device in the book, which effectively reinforces the methodology.
In addition to myriad doodles, there are activities and games throughout the book that guide the reader through a developmental process of visual literacy that is quite enjoyable. I also found that although the book follows a logical progression, it is possible to use the early concepts right away, so I could advance at my own pace and still get immediate utility from it. In fact, being able to use the basic concepts right away seems to help build the scaffolding for the more advanced techniques that follow.
One aspect of the book I particularly appreciate is that concepts are conveyed in digestible "nuggets", and while there is certainly an ordering to the book, I enjoyed jumping around and found it easy enough to get pulled into a new section without feeling lost; though it often compelled me to jump back to previous sections to understand related concepts. Tip: If you want to know how "doodling" is defined, turn to page 11 in the book.
Finally, I found that doodling helps improve thinking. The doodle philosophy recognizes that humans have limited information processing capacities and must be selective. Capturing concepts in "infodoodles" helps practice the art of selecting only the most relevant information, which trains us to be more efficient and effective thinkers, even when we aren't doodling. So, while I found the "group infodoodle" to be a compelling device for facilitating and capturing group ideation, there is much more than that to be gained from this book by aspiring visual literates.
In a nutshell, if found this book to be fun, practical, clear, useful, and thought-provoking. Sunni Brown took a deep dive into visual literacy and emerged with an epiphany, which she has shared with the world through this book. If you are receptive, it may change the way you think.