I think that I can safely claim to have created the *Visual Sudoku* puzzle. But I don't want to stop there. I want to design the *Visual Sudoku* puzzle that will make all other variations inferior by comparison. I want to create a design that when future generations refer to the "visual sudoku" puzzle, that is the design that they will be referring to.

So far I've created three different designs. The "Bubble Sections" design came first and it uses graphic symbols that I originally created for my **Labyrinthos** maze puzzle book. The "Squares" design came second and its simple graphic symbols were created especially for the *Visual Sudoku* puzzle. The "Braille" came last and it is technically not a *Visual Sudoku* but a numberic sudoku because the graphic symbols represent numbers. But to most people these symbols don't mean anything. They are purely visual. Only to those who know braille are they numbers. So for all practical purposes, the* Braille Sudoku* is a *Visual Sudoku*. And when I create the *Braille Sudoku* I don't think of numbers, I see only 9 different visual symbols.

Of the three, "Bubble Sections" is probably the most fun to draw when you are solving it. The symbols in the "Squares" design are the easiest to differentiate. That design is also conceptually the strongest because the symbols are closely related to the sudoku "spatial grid". The 9-column/row grid is subdivided into 3 sections with each section having 3-column/row grid. The graphic symbols correspond to this arrangement. There are three visually distinct symbols. Each of the three symbols is rotated two times to create a total of 9 different symbols. I did the same thing with the "Bubble Sections" symbols but the "Squares" seem to stand out from each other better. And the square symbols fit into the square sudoku puzzle better. The "Braille" symbols are the most unified. They are, also, the easiest to fill in because they all consist of different arrangements of dots. You can't get any easier tha drawing in dots. But for me, at least, they are the most difficult to tell apart. That may be a good thing if you are looking for the extra challenge.

There are other visual options that can be explored. One option is to create a set of curvilinear shapes. But that would make drawing in the solutions an unnecessary challenge. Sudoku is a logic puzzle, not an art test. Another option is to use abstract linear symbols like in Chinese calligraphy. But this again becomes more complex than needed and would take away from the puzzle.

So, so far my favorite *Visual Sudoku* design is the "Squares". I like clarity in design and the symbols of the "Squares" design seem to be the most clear. But all the designs have visual hierarchy that gives then clarity. The visual hierarchy is created by making the grid light gray. This pushes the grid back and pulls the black symbols to the front. In addition, the "Squares" and the "Braille" designs have small dots that help players to draw in the symbols with more accuracy. I did not include this feature in the "Bubble Sections" because I did not think it necessary.

Whether any of these designs are strong enough to stand the test of time, I can only find out in time. But my next **Visual Sudoku** puzzle book will use the "Squares" design.