Prep Time:
Time to run:
1-3 hours

Thumbnail sketching template

Create small drawings to visually explore your ideas

Courtesy of our friends at

Use this template to quickly generate ideas visually, and identify themes across your feedback to create actionable next steps.

Thumbnail sketching allows you to capture the essence of your ideas and communicate them visually, improving clarity and fostering better understanding and alignment.

The thumbnail sketching template helps you:

  • Ensure broad team engagement and generate a lot of ideas visually
  • Explore different perspectives across your team
  • Identify themes across your feedback
  • Align on solutions more quickly based on those themes

How to use the thumbnail sketching template

To use the Mural thumbnail sketching template, follow the below steps with your team.

1. Outline the idea or problem you’re looking to explore

The first step is to clearly lay out the central idea you want to explore with your team, or the problem you’re trying to solve.

2. Assign each participant to sketch two ideas

Next, assign each team member to a row of thumbnails within the template, and have them sketch two ideas — it can be useful to time-box each sketch so that you can move your session along according to your schedule.

3. Conduct a round of feedback

Have all your participants present their two ideas and gather any feedback about them in order to iterate and refine what they have presented in the next section. Again, set time limits for each presentation and feedback round.

4. Iterate and refine

Based on the feedback that each participant has gathered, have them refine their ideas into a finalized version.

5. Organize and analyze results

This is where you look for themes across the results from your team’s ideas. Where are there areas of overlap? How could these themes help guide your team towards finalized concepts or solutions? Assign next steps based on what you uncover.

Tips for running a thumbnail template workshop

To get the most out of your thumbnail sketching workshop, you should:

  • Assign any necessary pre-work and clearly define the central idea or problem you’re trying to solve, so that your session is as focused and productive as possible
  • Have your team use whatever image-making tools they are most comfortable with to generate thumbnails — Mural offers in-app images, GIFS, icons, sticky notes, and drawing tools
  • Get broad alignment on the best ideas and solutions with anonymous voting

How to create a Thumbnail sketching template

Brainstorming is collaborative and visual with Mural

Mural’s unique features and tools make brainstorming to create thumbnail sketches with your team intuitive, collaborative, and productive.


Visualize ideas, prototype, and quickly annotate for a better-than-a-whiteboard experience.

Icons, GIFs, & images

Icons, GIFs, & images

Express complex ideas visually or lead an engaging team-building activity with Noun Project, GIPHY, and Unsplash integrations.

Sticky notes & text

Sticky notes & text

Add ideas, action items, and more as a sticky note or text box — then change the colors and cluster to identify patterns and new solutions.



Add comments and tag collaborators for smooth asynchronous communication.

Real-time collaboration

Real-time collaboration

Add more productivity and engagement to meetings and calls with features to guide collaboration.

Anonymous voting

Anonymous voting

Gain consensus and reach alignment quickly, either in real time or asynchronously.

Thumbnail sketching template frequently asked questions

How do you create a thumbnail sketch?

What makes a good thumbnail sketch?

What is a thumbnail sketch layout in design thinking?

LUMA Institute

Template by LUMA Institute


LUMA offers acclaimed in-person training, custom innovation programs, and a unique digital platform (LUMA Workplace), used by innovators in over 70 countries. Leading organizations around the globe rely on the LUMA System of Innovation — a practical, flexible, and scalable approach to Human-Centered Design.