Visual thinking tools

A sketchnote showing nine popular visual thinking tools. These are roadmaps, quadrants, idea clusters, user journeys, tree maps, flows, mind maps, prototype sketches and timelines.

Here’s nine examples of visual thinking tools that can be used in group workshops or for your own thinking:


Great for facilitating strategy workshops when you’re trying to identify an agreed outcome and the things you need to get there.


Useful for making comparisons (such as a competitor analysis) and for categorising things (such as the Eisenhower Matrix).

Idea clusters

Clusters are great for sorting and synthesising lots of ideas, insights or artefacts to help you make sense of them.

User journeys

A way to capture the steps and feelings people experience as they progress towards an end goal.

Tree maps

Perfect for visualising hierarchies, creating categories and designing information architecture.


Ideal for mapping processes and user journeys at varying levels of detail.

Mind maps

When brainstorming ideas or capturing knowledge, mind maps are simple to create and keep the pace of creativity running fast.

Prototype sketches

Drawing rough concepts on paper (for both digital and non-digital products) is the quickest way to test and iterate your ideas with others.


Not only do timelines help with planning, they can also be used to tell stories and explain background context.

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