The Art of Visualization

Periodic Table.jpg
Check out this excellent compilation of visualization methods called “A Periodic Table of Visualization Methods.” This came to my attention via a convoluted path from BoingBoing (who thanks Mike Love) to Seth Godin to Acorn Creative. Ralph Lengler and Martin J. Eppler created it. You might also enjoy reading their paper, entitled “Towards a Periodic Table of Visualization Methods for Management

On a related topic, some people are lucky enough to have the ability to transform the spoken word into graphics in real time. I gave a speech to the International Coach Federation, and Martha McGinnis created this graphic representation of it. You may find this useful as a quick summary of my Art of Innovation speech (you can watch the speech online here). Here is Martha’s chart in two sizes:

And I just found out about this mind map of the book at

By | 2016-10-24T14:22:52+00:00 January 10th, 2007|Categories: Pitching and Presenting|45 Comments

About the Author:

Guy Kawasaki is the chief evangelist of Canva, an online graphic design tool. Formerly, he was an advisor to the Motorola business unit of Google and chief evangelist of Apple. He is also the author of The Art of Social Media, The Art of the Start, APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur, Enchantment, and nine other books. Kawasaki has a BA from Stanford University and an MBA from UCLA as well as an honorary doctorate from Babson College.


  1. Yakito January 10, 2007 at 9:58 am - Reply

    Thanks for the speach, it would be imposible for me to listen to you in any other way!

  2. Joey Roth January 10, 2007 at 10:03 am - Reply

    Topography to Teacup

    Just as aluminum is sometimes called solidified energy because of the amount of electricity it takes to smelt, I sometimes think of products as solidified meaning. Guy Kawasaki recently linked to this Periodic Table of Visualization
    I l…

  3. Joey Roth January 10, 2007 at 10:23 am - Reply

    I’m glad you posted about visualization. Sketching has always been a part of my product design process, but I find it even more useful for designing a startup. I use storyboards of no more that eight squares to explore everything from customer behavior when opening one of my packages to warehousing and fulfillment. These “vignettes” of my future business play out like short skits in my mind- I want them to remain in the same form when I put them on paper. I’ve also found that storyboards, especially when you draw them while in dialogue, are a wonderful way to collaborate. The hardest part is forcing yourself to use sketches more than words in each frame.

  4. anthropocentric January 10, 2007 at 10:52 am - Reply

    Edward Tufte is the world’s expert on visualizations, if anyone is interested in learning more about the topic:
    His books contain some fascinating historical examples of dense-with-data yet informative-at-a-glance visualizations. Highly recommended.

  5. Achtentachtig January 10, 2007 at 11:16 am - Reply

    I wish I would have that ability like Martha has =) Another great resource on visualization that regularly visit and enjoy is

  6. Don Miller January 10, 2007 at 11:32 am - Reply

    I would second as a great resource. Great visualizations can be hard to come by and are often much more powerful than text at conveying information. Plus don’t they just give that warm fuzzy feeling. Here’s a great example I came across recently thanks to all the iphone hype

  7. Georgia January 10, 2007 at 2:33 pm - Reply

    Speaking about the art of visualization, please take a look here: []
    A very nice mindmapping approach using as example one of your super books

  8. Tim January 10, 2007 at 2:41 pm - Reply

    It is scary when blogs I read start to overlap.
    Here’s Stephen Few’s comments on the periodic table.
    His blog is great for those interested in visualisation, and I highly recommend his book on dashboards.

  9. Jeffrey Carr January 10, 2007 at 2:49 pm - Reply

    Visualization as applied to enhancing athletic performance has been around for years. I interviewed an Olympic Judo coach back in the early 80’s who used it as a component of the Feldenkrais Method. In my view, it’s a critical tool, and the Periodic Table you linked to is a terrific way to explore it. I’m going to share it with my peers at Microsoft.

  10. mary January 10, 2007 at 3:34 pm - Reply

    If you want some good mind mapping tips the folks at NovaMind provide a great free paper called The Laws of Mind Mapping.
    These tools make it easy to turn text into visual. It took a lot more left-brain training to learn to use them as change tools. I also like them for seeing synchronicity and patterns in seemingly disparate pieces of information..great for blogging.

  11. Vincent Wright January 10, 2007 at 4:30 pm - Reply

    In a nutshell, you know what I like about Guy Kawasaki? It’s that he can write about Linkedin one week and in the same space one week later write about “The Art of Visualization”.
    But what I really, really, deeply like about him is that he can write about such “seemingly” disparate things as Linkedin and The Art of Visualization on a blog called “How To Change The World” – and no one dares to challenge him for using such a seemingly audacious title for his outstanding little “practical blog for impractical people.”
    Thanks for sharing The Art of Visualization and KUDOS for breaking molds, Guy!

  12. Lucas McDonnell January 10, 2007 at 7:56 pm - Reply

    Two very different but very cool visualizations. Now if I could only learn to draw…

  13. Gubatron January 11, 2007 at 2:32 am - Reply

    The Art of Visualization

    Hi Guy Kawaasaki!!!,Trackback from on The Art of Visualization at

  14. A J Balasubramanian January 11, 2007 at 3:20 am - Reply

    Using Visualization in software development process is very effective and useful. But the challenge is to find someone who understands the requirement and also knows to draw the idea in visual forms. Thanks for the post on this interesting topic.

  15. I Really _Don't_ Know January 11, 2007 at 4:54 am - Reply

    A Periodic Table of Visualisation Methods

    Compilation of visualization methods called “A Periodic Table of Visualization Methods.” Interesting idea and some nice examples. I find a lot of these are about simplifying very complex projects into something everyone around a table can agree on. Usu…

  16. Kim Pallister January 11, 2007 at 9:24 am - Reply

    That illustration of your talk is wonderful! You and she should sell posters 🙂

  17. Thought Balloons January 11, 2007 at 9:38 am - Reply

    Visual Science

    Guy had an interesting featuring a visual periodic table of elements. Its pretty neat in that it interactive but would be nice to post on a wall as well. Man, is there really that many visualization methods? Maybe one day ConceptSharing&#…

  18. Uncommon Knowledge. January 11, 2007 at 1:18 pm - Reply

    FreeMind, visualization, mind-mapping and Guy Kawasaki.

    The great links on Guy Kawasakis blog are almost too many to keep up with.
    In a post yesterday, Guy posted a link to a periodic table of visualization methods, as well as a very interesting mind map of his latest book, The Art of the Start.

  19. Eric Blue January 12, 2007 at 12:26 am - Reply

    This is a great find! I posted an article a couple months ago showcasing some of the great work that’s been done in info/data visualization. You and your readers might be interested.
    Dataesthetics: The Power and Beauty of Data Visualization

  20. The Long Blonde Tail January 12, 2007 at 1:19 pm - Reply

    Links for Friday, 1/12/07

    The Luddite who helps Apple look so good Now 39, Apple’s chief designer is the man responsible for injecting the cool factor into 15 years of the company’s devices, from the iMac and the iPod to this week’s iPhone, and

  21. Daniele Galiffa January 12, 2007 at 3:48 pm - Reply

    Visualization is not only a relfection of some art processes, but also a scientific field of investigation ( as infovis is ).
    Among the resources listed above, I would like to give a look to Manuel Lima’s work on collecting complex systems and networks visualizations on his

  22. Thomas Wenzl January 12, 2007 at 5:52 pm - Reply

    Speaking of visualization – you guys may want to watch the presentation of Hans Rosling on TED Talks. He received great feedback for the visualization during his session:

  23. Stephi January 13, 2007 at 2:44 am - Reply

    Art of the visualisation, it really is amazing how you can simplify complex things using a table…quite an interesting approach.

  24. Harry J. Chong January 13, 2007 at 2:52 am - Reply

    Hey can you do a report on the iPhone? I would definitely Digg it. Incidentally I find it humorous that Steve Jobs said they were going to capture 1% of the market with 10 million phone — I’m confused now. What’s with the mixed messages Guy? It is still faux pas to say 1%?!

  25. oz har adir January 13, 2007 at 5:44 am - Reply

    This is the most useful post I have read for a long while.
    A new poster is already ready for my office wall, and I think I will use this technique to teach my students as well.
    Very impressive.

  26. Daniel Scocco January 13, 2007 at 10:28 am - Reply

    Very interesting, I also find it amazing how some people has the ability to transform words into images so effectively

  27. The ITIL IMP January 13, 2007 at 4:06 pm - Reply

    Thank you very much for this post – I absolutely love the periodic table for visualisation link!

  28. allenarnn January 13, 2007 at 10:39 pm - Reply

    I like those charts from Martha. I don’t usually have time for quite that much artistic creativity, but when I attend a conference I usually come home and make a one-pager laid out in a fun (maybe obnoxious) way to sit on my desk. While most people are forgetting what they learned, I’m continuously reviewing…
    Here’s one I did for the Willow Creek Leadership Summit 2001.

  29. rogers market blog January 14, 2007 at 4:46 pm - Reply

    Nice pages here. Great information. Will visit again and recommend.

  30. No Silver Bullets January 15, 2007 at 7:24 am - Reply

    Consultants gonewild

    I came across a crazy post on Guy Kawasakis blog last week about the Art of Visualization. The Periodic Table format to display different methods of visualization is very cool, but it points to too many consultants, not enough work. As a forme…

  31. Anecdote January 15, 2007 at 1:52 pm - Reply

    Wow, is this really what a knowledge map looks like?

    Heres a good idea. A neat compilation of a range of visualisation techniques arranged in the form of a periodic table. I was checking out all the different examples by rolling my mouse over each element and then notice this…

  32. Mike January 15, 2007 at 10:25 pm - Reply

    Guy –
    I always appreciate your insights – this post misses one fairly obvious connection. One of the leading (if not the primary) consultant groups in visual facilitation is and always has been The Grove Consultants International.
    If you look around, you will realize that a lot of what is out there now, comes from their method. It is a testimony to their vision in many ways. Since they are from the Bay Area, I would be surprised if you haven’t run across them before, but it is always good to revisit old friends.

  33. JF Declercq January 16, 2007 at 2:07 am - Reply

    I also try to be creative these days but it’s hard (Engineer + MBA, so rational ;-))
    Here are 2 attempts :
    Value Chain & SOA
    A web 2.0 Architecture

  34. Dan Keldsen January 16, 2007 at 7:09 pm - Reply

    The Art of Innovation

    Ah, Guy Kawasaki – always good for some inspiration and provocative posts! As a longtime fan of Guy (great insights into Software Evangelism, startups, power networking, and attention capturing presentation styles, among other topics), I have to remind…

  35. The Last Mile January 16, 2007 at 7:16 pm - Reply

    The Way Things Look for 2007

    The beginning of the year is a good time to rethink everything from personal finances to the extra stuff in your closets to your business plan. I looked at many of those things thinking through possible resolutions for 2007. There is growing

  36. high January 16, 2007 at 7:50 pm - Reply

    Quantitative Graphics

    Effective quantitative graphics are, like, cool.

  37. Gubatron January 21, 2007 at 1:15 pm - Reply

    The Art of Visualization

    Hi Guy Kawaasaki!!!,Trackback from on The Art of Visualization at

  38. Vol. 2: January 22, 2007 at 5:07 am - Reply

    Design Management Tools

    More and more I discover the range of visualization tools andpower of visualization in general in business contexts these days (even though this is not a too groundbreaking insight ;-). Let it be for examplefor my current MBA class at the …

  39. Verschmelzungsbericht January 23, 2007 at 8:09 am - Reply

    Periodensystem der Visualisierung

    Immer wieder steht man vor der Frage, wie man Themen am besten grafisch darstellen kann. Durch einen Blogbeitrag von Guy Kawasaki bin ich auf die Idee von zwei Schweizer Kommunikationswissenschaftlern aufmerksam geworden, Visualisierungsmethoden in ein…

  40. Robert January 23, 2007 at 9:35 am - Reply

    I’ve posted a similar article at with a reference to this post as well. Thanks.

  41. Ciaran Mulloy January 25, 2007 at 3:57 am - Reply

    Great article Guy, I believe that the origianl concept of mindmaps was coined by a Tony Buzan and he has writen a number of excellent books on the subject. His basic concept was that mindmaps mirror the way the brain thinks and relates to problems, using related links. The use of PC applications that can create and manage mindmaps is a definate advantage over paper maps. I have found it a wonderful way of creatively analysing a new sales account opportunity, positioning our companys offerings or managing my sales pipeline. My favorite Mindmap software is Mindjet which links into Outlook and MS Office.

  42. Tohubohu January 25, 2007 at 4:27 pm - Reply

    The Art of Visualization

    How to Change the World: The Art of Visualization

  43. Alkamae Blog March 27, 2007 at 9:14 pm - Reply

    Adding Vroom Vroom to Your Visualizations

    Today . . . I am thinking about the amazing results my clients are achieving by adding vroom vroom to their visualizations. Up until a few shorts months ago, when asked if I visualized I would say, Yes. Now, when

  44. Rodolfo Carpintier July 24, 2007 at 2:43 am - Reply

    To me, if you need to visualize a business model or a project, are the masters. I sold them my visualization company in Spain (Ideamaps) and I am still learning from them.
    Dave Gray, its CEO at: See XPLANE´s next generation search engine visualization as an example in this page.

  45. celinarpinkston February 13, 2017 at 3:09 pm - Reply

    Visualization generally means skill to visualize or imagine something before it is created. It may be anything a building or product. 3D visualization is prominently found in the discipline of Architecture. It will help an end user get a feel of how a building outside, interior or site looks after it is constructed Technique that gives a realistic look and feel to the building or site is called “Rendering” .

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