‘Must Haves’ for anyone in the field of graphic facilitation

Thinking Visually, A Strategy Manual for Problem Solving
Robert H. McKim
Lifetime Learning Publications, California.

This was the first book I found on the theory and practice of flexible and visual thinking., and I still think it is the best. Originally published in 1980, it has been reissued recently in paperback, making it an affordable resource. There are five sections to the book: 1. Laying the ground for thinking in visual images;
2. Preparation; materials, environment and attention;
3. Seeing; form, space, and patterns
4. Imagining;  fantasy, recall and insight
5. Idea-sketching; moving out of the ‘language rut’
Each section has theory and several relevant exercises.
On page 180 you’ll find an example of generative graphics, one of the forerunners to graphic facilitation. –Christine Valenza

Understanding Comics, The Invisible Art
Scott McCloud
More than just a book about comics, this gets to the heart of how we understand visual languages in general. Scott McCloud is one of the most knowledgeable persons that I’ve run across concerning the science and effects of the sequential art medium. Understanding Comics, is a brilliant how-to guide on marrying image and language. They are both very different approaches to understanding comics and I recommend reading both.–Christine Valenza

The Art of Looking Sideways
Alan Fletcher
2001, Phaidon Press

The Art of Looking Sideways is a primer in visual intelligence, an exploration of the workings of the eye, the hand, the brain and the imagination. It is an inexhaustible mine of anecdotes, quotations, images, curious facts and useless information, oddities, serious science, jokes, memories all concerned with the interplay between the verbal and the visual, and the limitless resources of the human mind. Loosely arranged in 72 ‘chapters’, all this material is presented in a wonderfully inventive series of pages that are themselves masterly demonstrations of the expressive use of type, space, colour and imagery.

Master designer Alan Fletcher has distilled a lifetime of experience and reflection into a brilliant exploration of such subjects as perception, color, pattern, proportion, paradox, illusion, language, alphabets, words, letters, ideas, creativity, culture, style, aesthetics and value.–Christine Valenza

Group Facilitation
Whole Scale Change; Unleashing the Magic in Organizations and
The Whole Scale Change Toolkit
Dannemiller Tyson and Assoc.
Some illustrations by Christine Valenza

This book is full of the authors’ collective wisdom and rich wisdom that walk the reader through their model for changing the whole organization.–Christine Valenza

How to Make Meetings Work ; The New Interaction Method
Michael Doyle and David Strauss
1984, Berkeley Press

This is the seminal book on the interactive style of meeting that began in the 1980s, challenging the I-talk-you-listen paradigm. Michael Doyle, a fearless and innovative thinker, was among the first consultants to use large scale visuals in organizational change work. He shows some of David Sibbet’s early templates in this little book that had a big impact.–Eileen Clegg

The Change Handbook
Ed. Peggy Holman, Tom Devane, Steven Cady
Barrett Koehler


The Mind Map Book:
How to Use Radiant Thinking to Maximize Your Brain’s Untapped Potential
by Tony Buzan,

Mapping Inner Space; Learning and Teaching Mind Mapping
Nancy Margulies, MA
1991,Zephyr Press
This is Nancy’s first book on mindscaping / mindmapping. Her enthusiasm is infectious and makes the reader feel that anyone can use this technique to organize their thoughts and be creative at the same time. The use of humor and a wealth of examples makes the process of learning mind mapping effortless. It also includes stroke by stroke exercises in drawing that can be quickly mastered and incorporated into your mindmaps or easelcharts.–Christine Valenza

Symbols, and Metaphors
Symbol, Story and Ceremony
Using Metaphor in Individual and Family Therapy
by Gene Combs, Jill Freedman
1990, W.W. Norton & Company

This book was inspired by the work of Milton H. Erickson and Gregory Bateson. Although it is a book primarily for therapists I found it particularly useful in thinking through the use of visual metaphors in my work. In the section on Co Creating New Meanings for Memories the idea of personal experience becoming symbols for ideas, as well as linking symbols to context  is explored.

Ariadne’s Clue
by Anthony Stevens
2001, Princeton University Press

A look at symbols that transcend ethnic and linguistic boundaries. The engaging text, a bibliography rich with recent references, a glossary, and a separate symbol index combine to make this a standard, if not the standard in the field. The most accessible book that I have read on the meaning  and development of symbols.–Christine Valenza

Thinking With a Pencil
by Henning Nelms
One of the best books I have read on how to make your concepts into recognizable sketches that can help convey ideas to other people. Now, a classic!–Christine Valenza