Visual ABC

To be able to concentrate fully on the conversation, you should know the visual ABC.

The following six dimensions are to be understood as a kind of ABC of sketching and can be used to highlight important points, distinguish different elements, or represent time histories. When creating conceptual sketches, be sure to use these so-called "retinal variables" or graphical dimensions effectively.


How you develop or animate your sketch in front of an audience is important. Start with the overall structure and then add details to it. In the end, emphasize key elements in your sketch verbally and visually, for example with a different colored pen or by circling them.


Do not arbitrarily place elements on a page, but rather use their position to compare and contrast them. Usually, things in the center position are perceived as being more important than those at the edges. Items that are positioned close to each other are seen as belonging together. Time sketches usually run from left to right, so events positioned on the left take place before events on the right.


Jagged shapes and contours draw attention and signal risks or new elements, while round shapes represent elements that are normal and work smoothly. If you pick the same shape or icon for different elements in your sketch, they will automatically be perceived as belonging together.


Make important elements in your sketch larger than the rest or use size to indicate differences in scope, importance, quality, or sales volume.


Use color coding to distinguish groups or highlight key elements in your sketch. The color red signals risks, disadvantages, or dangers, while green can be used to represent opportunities or benefits.


An upward orientation of text or symbols indicates that things are improving or evolving, while a downward direction implies that things are getting worse.