Draw a Toast

A quick activity for warming up visual thinking and systematic problem-solving, often used as an icebreaker or before more complex design work.


Draw A Toast is a visual thinking exercise that prompts participants to draw the process of making toast. It's a fun and engaging way to explore system thinking, process mapping, and creativity. By breaking down a familiar task into visual components, participants can uncover insights into workflows, dependencies, and problem-solving. Draw A Toast is often used in workshops, team building, and innovation sessions to spark creativity, foster collaboration, and develop a shared understanding of complex systems.

Suitable for

  • Warming up visual thinking,
  • Realizing that design is not about beautiful drawing, but about bringing solutions,
  • Starting ideal work in a team


Workshop Agenda

An outline of the workshop plan, including the objectives, timeline, and necessary materials for the 'Draw a Toast' method.

Participant Instructions

A clear and concise step-by-step guide for participants to follow during the 'Draw a Toast' exercise.

Illustrated Toast Diagrams

Drawings created by participants, showcasing their understanding of the process of making toast, as well as their individual perspectives and creativity.

Grouped Toast Diagrams

A categorization or clustering of toast diagrams from participants based on similarities, differences, or patterns.

Insights and Observations

A synthesis of the learnings drawn from the participants' toast diagrams, including areas of confusion, innovation, user needs, and opportunities for improvement.

Actionable Recommendations

A list of specific, implementable suggestions for how to optimize the process or product based on the insights and observations gathered from the 'Draw a Toast' exercise.

Workshop Summary Report

A comprehensive report of the workshop process, findings, insights, and recommendations, including an analysis of the toast diagrams and their implications for the project or product.



Introduce the method

Explain to the participants that the 'Draw a Toast' method is a visual brainstorming tool aimed at discovering and understanding the components of a system through drawing, collaboration, and conversation. Mention that it's widely used as a design-thinking exercise and it gives insights into a user's mental model on a specific process.


Gather materials

Provide participants with large sheets of paper or whiteboards, along with drawing utensils like pens, markers, or pencils. Ensure that each participant has enough space for individual drawing, and that there's room for everyone to collaborate in a later step.


Individual drawing

Ask each participant to take five to seven minutes to draw the process of making toast detailed enough so that someone who has never seen toast before could understand it. Encourage participants to consider all aspects of making toast, including the appliance, the bread, and any actions required.


Share and discuss

Once the individual drawings are complete, ask participants to pair up or form small groups to share their drawings. Encourage them to compare and discuss their drawings, pointing out similarities and differences. Use this discussion to help participants understand various perspectives and question their assumptions about the process.


Collaborate on a new drawing

Now ask the participants to work together as a group to create a new, combined drawing of the toast-making process. Encourage them to incorporate the best elements from their individual drawings and ensure everyone participates in this collaborative process. This step is crucial for fostering group discussions and creative problem solving.


Analyze and discuss

Once the group has finished their collaborative drawing, have a larger discussion about what they learned from the exercise. Ask participants to reflect on their experience, address any challenges in understanding the process, and discuss the implications for the design or research project at hand.


Iterate and refine

Encourage participants to build on the insights and discussions from the collaborative drawing and previous steps. If necessary, have them refine the drawing further or repeat the process with new groups or perspectives. This iterative approach is essential for developing a deep understanding of the user's mental model and can be used to inform future UX research and design decisions.

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