Image Decks Overview

Broadly, our Image Sets fall into two different categories, the Exploring series, primarily for coaching and counseling; and our VisualsSpeak series, for more traditional organizational and corporate outcomes. We create all the images for our decks. Tom and Christine do the photography, supplemented by a couple of others. Christine does all the paintings. They are designed for the purpose of having transformative conversations and have been extensively tested.

Getting the best results for your clients involves getting the prompt right and choosing the corresponding image deck that optimizes your clients’ experience. This is not an exact science so don’t be overly concerned about choosing the ‘wrong’ deck as you will get good results no matter which one you use.

We encourage you to try all the decks so that you get a feel for which ones work best in a given situation. After you’ve used the different decks for a while, you’ll notice that when you can dial-in the right prompt with the best deck for the circumstances a new level of information emerges that makes you look really good. So go ahead and experiment with the decks.

Exploring Image Decks

The exploring decks are a combination of paintings and photographs.

  • Exploring Health
  • Exploring My Options
  • Exploring Passion
  • Exploring Relationships

VisualsSpeak Image Decks

The rest of the decks are photographs.

  • Icebreaker Deck
  • Team Building
  • Leadership Development
  • Visioning

Some Background

Not random images + testing, testing, testing

The decks are not made up of random images. We started out by laminating thousands of images from books, magazines, trade journals, catalogs and anything else we could get our hands on. Most of these types of images fell into the editorial, journalistic, artistic and advertising spectrums.

During all the cutting and laminating phase we then tested and tested the images some more to help us understand which parts of the underlying visual language of these images promoted breakthrough conversations and which derailed them.

Images with agendas

Most of the images we were looking at were laced with other people’s agendas. For example, there is always an agenda in any image used in advertising. They want you to buy products and so the images are constructed with that purpose in mind.

The classic business image of the glass half full is the perfect example of a conversation stopper because everybody already thinks they know what it means for everyone else. This is a widely used concept and yet it immediately falls flat when you want to have a conversation that goes just a little bit below the surface.

We have to create the images

We realized that if we wanted to create tools that consistently helped people to have transformative conversations, we would have to create the images ourselves. It’s not that we don’t have an agenda with the images we choose to go into our image decks, because we do: create images that set the stage for helping people have ‘Aha’ moments consistently and reliably. This is quite a bit different then trying to sell a new car or cruise vacation.

One year of photographing

We realized that we couldn’t go out and just find the images we needed sitting on a shelf, so we took a year to create a collection of 20,000 photographs. This was enough for us to start to assemble some potential products that people could use for a variety of purposes.

More testing

Just taking our own photographs wasn’t enough though. We then needed to test these photos to see how they worked across a wide spectrum of people and uses. It was a long process of using different images and narrowing down which ones ‘worked’ better than others.

Related to collage but goes way beyond

Traditional collage process involves having participants go through and cut out pictures from magazines. They then glue or tape the images onto a background paper, which is messy and time consuming. Because of the typically long duration of these processes, people have a tendency to overly intellectualize what they are doing and spend a lot of time in figuring out the design of the final outcome. Throw in the distinct probability that they will choose images that don’t help them get past surface conversations and the result is intellectualization of the process, which prohibits them from getting to the ‘heart’ of the matter and those ‘Aha’ moments.

Our work is, in part, based on collage, but we’ve taken it to a new level. We have pre-selected the images for people based on extensive testing. We also learned early on that giving people less time to assemble their images greatly increases the results. To do an individual exercise with one of our printed products, we learned that five minutes is the optimal amount of time. When working with the ImageCenter, we use six minutes due to the nature of having to manipulate the images on a computer.