The Cognition Behind Design Visualization: A Primer

Innovation Roundtable

May 3, 2011: 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM

When we look out at the world we recognize objects and spaces with an ease and automaticity that makes the very act of seeing feel effortless. Perhaps then it’s only natural to assume that designers and architects effortlessly see ideas in their heads and merely sketch them out on paper so that others may share their ‘vision.’ This is of course not the reality: the visualization process undertaken by designers is a complex form of visual thinking. In fact many of those skills are now being used in the boardroom to help businesses imagine the unimaginable


University of Chicago, Gleacher Center
Room 600
450 North Cityfront Plaza Drive
Chicago, Illinois

Event Details

Visualization can take many forms from the traditional sketch of a mechanical artifact, the storyboard of a time-based scenario, or the simple napkin-sketch diagram of a business strategy. What unites them all will be the topic of this presentation. Industrial designer, author, and Columbia College Chicago professor Kevin Henry will explore what goes on in designer’s brains as they work to visualize ideas. Combining current brain science research with psychology, aesthetics, and a brief history of visualization spanning more than 500 years, the author will illustrate why visualization is so crucial in this age of information.


No Charge


Register Online

Deadline: 5/3/2011


6:00 PM-6:30 PM: Registration

6:30 PM-7:45 PM: Presentation and Q&A

7:45 PM-9:00 PM: Midway Club

Speaker Profiles

Kevin Henry (Speaker)
Full time faculty and coordinator of Product Design, Art and Design Dept. Columbia

Kevin Henry is an industrial designer, educator, curator, and writer interested in the intersection between design, technology, and culture. He has lectured widely in a variety of contexts on a variety of topics including sustainability, hacking and modifying technology, design visualization, and the changing nature of photography in the era of social networking. He has published articles in a variety of journals and on-line websites including the industrial design supersite Core77. Curated exhibitions include a recent show on contemporary Chinese industrial design and d.i.y. culture. He is finishing up his first book due out in early 2012 on design visualization with the UK publisher Laurence King.


Mary Drotar, '94 
Partner, Strategy 2 Market