Visualisation of Service Design — Service Design without visuals is like consulting, words and more words

Service design cannot claim to own the idea of focusing on services. After all, developing services through dialogue with end-users has been a basic method for decades.

Turning ideas into a concrete visions with stories is perhaps the only thing that separates us from other user oriented methods of developing services. Illustrating and imagining a service or product is the fundamental offering which distinguishes designers from the consulting world.

Drawing, painting, song and play enjoyed as children sadly becomes a lost skill as we grow older. 

And yet this is the very technique we use to interpret observations and design service change.

The Western world is text oriented, everything is written and reported on. Cross-disciplinary teams attend meetings using words to explain what they do, which is so often confusing as text can be understood in different ways.


Visual means of expression form a shared language, one that all participants of the design process can better understand. They provide a common basis for discussion. Being able to turn new ideas, visions and perspectives into illustrations is a resource that allows complicated and complex ideas to be easily explained, sold and disseminated. Drawing is a rich means of communication, it can be used to make sense of a wider issue or the smallest detail in a very short time.


Drawing and the use of pictures comes naturally to designers, however, people from other fields may find it strange when you hand them the felt pen. We are so often amazed how even the stiffest accountant, or bank employee goes crazy with the crayon and has a whale of a time expressing their ideas.

Visuals should always be part of the work environment, they play an important role outside the actual processes, in the physical space.

Turning thoughts into images is a resource that enables ideas and concepts to be explained and sold. It is certainly something our clients are willing to pay for, ahead of the heavy so often wordy report.