Danielle Feliciano, an illustrator from Minneapolis with a passion for old-fashioned printing techniques, has a unique vision: To bring a design sensibility to the world of creative problem solving.
“There have been many books published about creative thinking and idea-generation techniques. But no one has helped people to visualize these techniques,” she explains. “I want them to think of these creative problem solving tools in terms of universal symbols or glyphs – in much the same way that most cultures around the world recognize that an eight-sided red street sign means ‘stop.’”
Her plan is to teach people how to be more creative through visually-oriented exercises, instead of long, written instructions.
She got interested in the connection between visualization and creative problem solving when she gave herself the challenge of designing 23 posters that had as their theme the number 23. “It was way harder than I ever imagined,” she recalls. “Then I realized that other people who needed to generate ideas for their work probably face similar challenges.” She began exploring visual techniques like mind mapping, but soon realized that there must be other ways to visually model ideas and information.
“Like most artists, I’m constantly doing sketches, always exploring alternative treatments of a subject. I believe that artists are naturally lateral thinkers, generating lots of diverse possibilities,” she says. “I want to create a set of visual resources that people can use to be more creative. That’s my goal with Unlocking the Right Brain.”
To bring her vision to life, Danielle plans to publish a soft cover book – featuring her meticulously-produced art prints – a CD of creative problem solving exercises and a workbook. It will be full of her watercolor illustrations and letterpress printed type. It will be written, illustrated, designed, printed, and bound by her.
She emphasizes that Unlocking the Right Brain will be very visually oriented, in contrast to the word-centric creativity books that are available today.
“This book is full of images, it’s not a lengthy tome of intellectual writing, but a usable, workbook for those who want to improve or access their visual thinking.”
To follow this fascinating project, I urge you to check out the Tumblr blog Danielle has created for Unlocking the Right Brain.