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Visualization as Thinking

DESIGN 3305: Visualization as Thinking

An overview of concepts, processes and modes of communicating with visual media to effectively generate design proposals.
Credit Hours

Prerequisites: Open to all students eligible to enroll undergraduate Ohio State coursework. 

Keywords: design, graphic design, sketching, visualization, visual communication, visual thinking



How can visualization help me think more clearly?
How do observation techniques help me identify problems?
How can sketching help me imagine new ideas?
What type of visuals can help me clarify my communication to peers?


This course provides an introduction to visualization as a method of developing and communicating ideas. It presents content centered on visual theory and applications, as well as opportunities to practice visualization in multiple modes to support thinking and communication. It explores why and how we can use visualization, active observation, developing and organizing ideas visually, drawing/mark making techniques, and visually presenting information. These approaches aim to help us see, reflect, imagine, and share more clearly. 

  • This course is for anyone interested in improving their design skills, no prior knowledge of design or design software is required.
  • This course is required for the Design Thinking minor


  • Apply active observation of subject matter to leverage visible and invisible qualities to support visualization process
  • Define and apply foundational visual principles and concepts such as image composition and color theory
  • Apply visualization methods to analyze problems, reflect on ideas, organize information, and present it with specificity
  • Explore and apply drawing techniques such as linear perspective, gesture drawing, and visual note taking
  • Recognize opportunities for visualization to improve communication and idea generation in a variety of professional practices

Course Materials

Printer paper, pen, pencil, are required. free digital drawing software (optional)
No additional cost

Course Organization

This is a 3 credits course that meets asynchronous online.

Sample Coursework 

  • Weekly assignments that reflect and apply concepts from material through writing and sketching
  • Discussion boards to share and expand on applications of material
  • Projects that combine application of multiple concepts into a creative visual outcome

Semester(s) Offered:


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