Putting ideas quickly on paper is the only way to evaluate them to see if they are worth exploring further. Computer renderings and modern CAD tools are great, but thinking on paper with a good old-fashioned pencil, pen, marker, sharpie, crayon is always the place to start.
Sketching is awesome. Personally this is the only way I know of starting the design process. Why sketching is great.
Your first idea is rarely your best.
Sketching is fast, rough, and dirty.
Learn to embrace your pencil and paper, and you’ll be thrilled at your speed of ideas. You’ll wonder why you ever fought it. You can make a series of thumbnail sketches, or they can be larger. As long as your sketches are good enough that they capture the necessary elements, drawing skill is unnecessary. By giving yourself the freedom to scrawl out rough ideas, you’ll get to creative places you could never have imagined.
You’ll save time.
Sometimes you have no choice but involve the client in all of the steps of the design. We don’t like the “big reveal” because when the process is kept a mystery, the end result is often a disappointment. We show clients a lot of sketches to show our intent. When a course correction is needed, we spend a few seconds sketching a revision, rather than taking hours to move pieces around in Photoshop.
It separates concepts from details.
It’s natural for people to focus on the wrong details when you first present a concept. If you take your idea straight to a design program, clients tend to zero in on that single blue color, or the first style of typography presented. This creates road blocks for communication when all you simply need is to know is, “Are we heading in the right direction?”
Sketching is for everyone.
I often hear people fret about sketching based on their lack of confidence in their drawing ability. Don’t worry! It is all about visual communication. Sometimes its about getting the idea/concept out of the client’s head and to the drawing board. Doodles from the client sometimes helps the process.
Lastly, sketching is fun!
When you stop worrying and allow your ideas to evolve, you’ll discover how enjoyable it is to sketch. Especially when you find your perfect pen and paper combo! Mine’s is a Sharpie Finepoint permanent marker and copy paper.
Here’s my challenge to you: The next time you’re given any sort of communication task, whether it’s a logo, a brand concept, or even a map with directions to your favorite coffee shop, try your hand at sketching. By incorporating sketching into your everyday tasks, you’ll find it makes an appearance in your professional routine as well.