What is a Nonogram Puzzle? A Beginner’s Guide to Solving

What is a Nonogram Puzzle

Nonogram puzzles have gained a dedicated following among puzzle enthusiasts worldwide. But what is a nanogram puzzle? These intriguing brainteasers blend logic, creativity, and deductive reasoning, making them an engaging pastime for people of all ages. In this article, we’ll dive into the world of Nonograms, exploring the question, what is a nonogram puzzle, what they are, their history, and how to solve them.

Understanding Nonogram Puzzles

If you’re a fan of puzzles, Nonogram puzzles are a must-try. These puzzles are also known as Picross, Griddlers, or Hanjie. They involve a grid of squares that must be filled in with black squares or left blank according to the numbers at the side of the grid. When solved correctly, the grid reveals a hidden picture.

These puzzles are an excellent way to keep your brain sharp and improve your problem-solving skills. In this section, we will explore the origins of nonograms and the different variations of this popular puzzle.

Origins of Nonograms

Nonogram puzzles have a rich history that dates back to Japan in the late 20th century. They were first introduced by two Japanese puzzle enthusiasts, Non Ishida and Tetsuya Nishio, who independently developed similar puzzle concepts.

In the 1980s Non Ishida a Japanese graphic editor won a contest to beautify the cityscape of Tokyo with an idea to turn on and off the lights of skyscrapers to create pictures.

A puzzle designer named Tetsuya Nishio later invented Oekaki-Logic, which used the same concept of on-off artwork in cells.

Nonograms quickly gained popularity in Japan and later spread to other parts of the world.

Variations of Nonograms

Nonograms come in different variations, but they all follow the same basic principles. The puzzle consists of a grid of squares, with some of the squares already filled in. The objective of the puzzle is to fill in the remaining squares to reveal a hidden picture. The picture is revealed by filling in the squares according to the numbers on the side of the grid.

Some popular variations of nonograms include:

  • Hanjie: A variation of nonograms that uses black and white squares to create a picture. Hanjie is also known as Griddlers or Tsunami.
  • Picross: A variation of nonograms that uses colored squares to create a picture. Picross is also known as Crucipixel, Edel, FigurePic, Illust-Logic, and Japanese Crosswords.
  • Pic-a-Pix: A variation of nonograms that uses colored squares to create a picture. Pic-a-Pix is also known as Paint by Numbers.
  • Kare Karala!: A variation of nonograms that uses colored squares to create a picture. Kare Karala! is also known as Logic Art, Logicolor, Logik-Puzzles, and Logimage.
  • Paint Logic: A variation of nonograms that uses colored squares to create a picture. Paint Logic is also known as Fun.

The Structure of Nonogram Puzzles

Nonogram grid

If you’re new to Nonogram puzzles, then you might be wondering how they work. In this section, we’ll take a look at the structure of Nonogram puzzles, including the grid, rows and columns, and the numbers.

The Grid

The grid is the main component of a Nonogram puzzle. It’s a rectangular area made up of cells that can be filled in with either black or white. The size of the grid can vary, but it’s usually between 5×5 and 30×30 cells.

Rows and Columns

The grid is divided into rows and columns, which are numbered along the top and left-hand side of the grid. These numbers are the key to solving the puzzle. Each row and column has a set of numbers that tell you how many consecutive black cells there are in that row or column. For example, if a row has the numbers 2 1, it means that there are two consecutive black cells followed by one white cell, and then one more black cell.

The Numbers

The numbers are the most important part of a Nonogram puzzle. They tell you how many consecutive black cells there are in each row or column. By using the numbers, you can fill in the grid and create a picture. It’s important to note that the numbers are always listed in order, from left to right for the rows and from top to bottom for the columns.

How to Solve Nonogram Puzzles

Nonogram puzzles can be both challenging and rewarding. In this section, we’ll cover the basic rules of Nonogram puzzles and provide tips on how to solve them.

Understanding the Rules

The rules of Nonogram puzzles are simple. Each puzzle consists of a grid of squares that are either filled in or left blank. The goal is to use the numbers on the top and left sides of the grid to determine which squares should be filled in. Each number represents a consecutive group of filled-in squares, separated by at least one blank square. For example, a “3” on a row means that there are three consecutive filled-in squares in that row, with at least one blank square between each group of filled-in squares.

Using Hints and Clues

  • Nonogram puzzles can be challenging, but there are several strategies you can use to solve them. Here are a few tips:
  • Start with the rows or columns with the most filled-in squares. This will give you a good starting point and help you eliminate possibilities in other rows or columns.
  • Look for rows or columns with only one possible solution. If a row or column has only one possible way to fill it in, you can confidently mark those squares.
  • Use reasoning to eliminate possibilities. If you know that a certain row or column must have a certain number of filled-in squares, you can eliminate possibilities in other rows or columns that would make that impossible.
  • Nonogram puzzles require careful attention to detail. One mistake can throw off the entire puzzle, so take your time and double-check your work.
  • Nonogram puzzles can vary in complexity, from easy to highly challenging. Don’t get discouraged if you encounter a difficult one. Keep using logic, and with practice, you’ll improve your solving skills.

Nonogram Puzzles Collection

If you’re looking to build your collection of Nonogram puzzles, there are many options available. Here are some famous Nonogram puzzles you can try:

Famous Nonogram Puzzles

Window Art: This Nonogram puzzle was created by James Dalgety and appeared in The Sunday Telegraph. It features a beautiful window design and is a great challenge for puzzle enthusiasts.

Puzzler Media: Puzzler Media is a company that produces a wide range of puzzles, including Nonogram puzzles. They have a large collection of Nonogram puzzles that you can purchase in book form or play online.

Binary Coloring Books: Heroglyphix is a company that produces coloring books with a twist. They offer Binary Coloring Books that feature Nonogram puzzles as well as regular coloring pages.

Paint by Sudoku: Paint by Sudoku is a website that offers a variety of puzzles, including Nonogram puzzles. They have a user-friendly interface and offer video tutorials for beginners.

Picma: Picma is a mobile app that offers a variety of puzzles, including Nonogram puzzles. They have a large collection of puzzles and offer daily challenges.

Nonogram puzzles are a great way to challenge your brain and pass the time. With so many options available, you’re sure to find a puzzle that suits your style.

Nonogram Puzzles in Digital World

Nonogram puzzles have been around for decades, but with the rise of digital technology, they have become more accessible than ever before. Nowadays, you can find nonogram puzzles in various formats, from mobile apps to online websites. In this section, we will explore some of the ways you can enjoy nonogram puzzles in the digital world.

Nonogram Puzzles on iOS

If you are an iOS user, you are in luck! There are many nonogram puzzle apps available on the App Store. Some of the most popular ones include Logic Square, Oekaki-Mate, and Grafilogika. These apps offer a wide range of nonogram puzzles, from easy to challenging, and you can play them anywhere you go. Plus, they often come with additional features such as hints and undo/redo buttons to help you solve the puzzles more efficiently.

Online Nonogram Puzzles

If you prefer playing nonogram puzzles on your computer, there are plenty of online websites that offer them. One of the most popular ones is Picross Online, which features a vast collection of nonogram puzzles of different sizes and difficulty levels. You can also try out Logic Square, which offers both nonogram and futoshiki puzzles. These websites often allow you to save your progress, so you can come back to the puzzles later.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does nonogram differ from Sudoku?

Nonogram puzzles involve filling in squares to create a picture, while Sudoku puzzles involve filling in numbers to complete a grid. Nonograms also have numbers on the side of the grid that provide clues, while Sudoku does not.

What are the different sizes of nonogram puzzles?

Nonogram puzzles come in a variety of sizes, ranging from small 5×5 grids to large 30×30 grids. The larger the grid, the more challenging the puzzle.

Are there different levels of difficulty for Nonogram puzzles?

Yes, Nonogram puzzles come in varying levels of difficulty, from easy for beginners to extremely challenging for experienced solvers.

Additional Reading


Nonogram puzzles are an excellent way to exercise your brain, sharpen your logical thinking, and indulge in some creative problem-solving. Whether you’re a seasoned puzzle enthusiast or new to the world of Nonograms, these puzzles offer hours of engaging entertainment. Give them a try, and you might find yourself hooked on the grid!

We hope this article has provided you with an understanding of what Nonogram puzzles are and how to tackle them. Stay tuned for more puzzle-related content on AllThingsPuzzles!

Have you done nonograms before? What was the one thing you liked the most in doing them? Please comment below.

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