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Holy Buckets!

graphic facilitation image portfolio Aug 29, 2012

Buckets are my favorite metaphorical container.


  • They are iconic and simple objects
  • Their use is crystal clear. They hold stuff. 
  • Buckets are designed to hold stuff temporarily. The opposite of stagnant. 
  • Buckets do physical, mucky stuff. Roll-up-your-sleeves, get-to-it work.

My #1 reason I love buckets is that they make an instant clear decision of what goes where. How to divide ideas into distinct areas. 

It facilitates discussion when you have to place each point in the appropriate bucket. 

 My graphic facilitation client today was in the thick of buckety work.

They came into their offsite with 6 buckets as you can see in the meeting's opener: 


We could go into depth on each bucket-topic, and allow for more to emerge: 


Into the session, those buckets proved to be not as clearcut, but the team could talk through how exactly these areas fit together with each other: 

And it's not at all hard to draw a bucket -- especially when you flatten it out as an icon: 

Practice the tricky bit a little bit and you are prepared for rapid-fire conversation.


Why do fire buckets have rounded bottoms?

The bucket is either half full or half empty. If you see it half full, the rounded shape helps direct the water more effectively. 

If you see it half empty, it is a theft deterrent shape. Round-bottomed bucket isn't so useful when swiped for backyard use. 

I'm no pessimist, but I go with the latter. But the triangular ones irk me. Just not enough volume.  

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