Visual variation

The Powerful Principle for Clear Explanations and Creative Explorations.

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About The Book

To see things clearly is an invaluable skill in today’s turbulent environment. This book gives you a versatile way to make the complex clear: ‘Visual Variation’ is the catalyst for swift analysis, creative ideas, and captivating communication.

With over forty illustrations, you’ll learn through fascinating examples and with the help of concise instructions, simple checklists, provocative thought starters, and instructive information boxes.

You will find crisp explanations on topics as diverse as quantum computing and career paths, lessons from the dying and blockchain, learning styles and project failures, creativity and fake news. You will increase your understanding on these and other topics through the five visual variation patterns presented in this book:

  • The elementary approaches pattern to visualize different ways to reach a goal.
  • The expansive scenarios pattern to visualize options, risks, plans, or opportunities.
  • The analytic segments pattern to better understand processes, routines, meetings, or even your life.
  • The entertaining mutations pattern to create and share memorable insights and find novel perspectives.
  • The rigorous configurations patterns to devise new solutions or rethink existing ones.

You will learn how to apply these five techniques to your own work and life so that you can be a more effective problem-solver and communicator – and you don’t need any drawing skills or software know-how to do so.

The visual thinking approach presented in this book is based on Variation Theory and makes this paradigm actionable for anyone wanting to extend his or her communication and thinking toolbox. It has been tested in dozens of projects and application contexts, ranging from education to business, and from very personal to societal issues. Isn’t it time you gave it a try?

Learn faster, communicate more clearly, and have better ideas with visual variation.

What’s inside


Clear instructions

A step-by-step guide to create high-quality visual variations.


A gallery of inspiring examples


Insightful research

Find out why visual variation works.


An approach for everyone

No drawing or software skills required

One size does not fit all.

5 Variation Patterns to choose from

Checklists to create high-quality variations

30 complex topics made clear:

Topics explored and explained in this book:

  1. Blockchain
  2. Business models
  3. Career paths
  4. Change communication
  5. Circular economy
  6. Cognitive biases
  7. Competitive strategy
  8. Creativity
  9. Curse of Knowledge
  10. Decision making
  11. Deep learning
  12. Effective learning
  13. Effective presentations
  14. Fake news
  15. Journaling
  16. Leadership approaches
  17. Learning types
  18. Life principles
  19. Meetings
  20. Negotiation
  21. Procrastination
  22. Project management
  23. Quantum computing
  24. Resilience
  25. Sketching people
  26. Strategy implementation
  27. Sustainability
  28. The geometry of thought
  29. Top regrets of the dying
  30. World religions



It is not just a book, it’s a guide to crisper communication, better learning, and brighter innovation.

About the author

Professor Martin J. Eppler, PhD, is a chaired professor of communications management at the School of Management of the University of St. Gallen, one of Europe’s top six business schools. He is a director of the Institute for Media and Communications Management and an advisor and trainer to organizations such as the European Central Bank, the United Nations, Swiss Re, and many others. He is the author of 24 books on visualization, creativity, and analytics and the inventor of numerous visualization techniques. He has been a guest professor at universities in the US, Canada, China, Finland, Peru, and the United Kingdom.

Martin J. Eppler

Other books by martin j.  eppler

Meet up! Better Meetings through Nudging (Cambridge University Press) - Winner of the getabstract International Book Award

Sketching at Work

Cover Life Design

Life Design


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