“Sketch” – make a rough drawing, give a brief account or general outline, perform a (gesture) with one’s hands or body.
All creative design projects should begin on paper. Digital or print, it’s important to get your ideas out of your head and down on paper. Even if drawing isn’t your strong-suit, sketching helps facilitate the brainstorming process in a visual way. Seeing certain layouts for a website landing page, learning how letterforms work together, or laying out a business card, it’s a simple and effective way to get ideas down quickly, removing the at-times crippling effect of over-thinking everything.
Sketching, by definition, should be rough, and that’s the hardest part. Teaching someone to provide simple drawings and have less detail is often difficult. In this case, it’s necessary to check finer details at the door. Perfection has no place in the early-stage concept process.
A sketch is more of a suggestion of where an idea is headed. It’s by no means ready to send to a client. Most of the ideas you sketch out will likely never see the light of day. It’s important in the preliminary rounds of sketching to draw alone (or by yourself). Everyone has different personalities and it’s sometimes typical for more vocal extroverts to kill an idea before it comes to fruition.
However, doodling lines and boxes on a sheet of paper is different from sketching. Sketching has a clear vision and direction that will represent meaning. It takes the form of an idea or thought that can then be fleshed out with purpose.
A good way to start the sketching process is to plan meetings where each participant is expected to sketch. During these meetings, it’s important not only to draw, but talk amongst the team about what’s working or what needs more exploration. The objective is to find concrete directions that can then move into design.
Sketching is important for many reasons, but the main focus is understanding the project. Words sometimes fail at painting a picture in the minds of others, but a sketch can always provide a clearer “picture” of an idea or concept in a tangible context.
Sketching has real-world usability. Not only is it great for brainstorming or quick concepts, but it can also go much further than that. For example, if you have a photo shoot and need a specific image for a website with negative space on the left, just quickly sketch it for the photographer. They can then use this to reference and be sure to get every shot you need.
Proof has a team of designers and we all lean on sketching to get our early ideas down on paper. Sometimes it’s on post its, scraps of old paper, or even with our hand movements. All are valid and each plays a vital role in the design process. Regardless of the project, sketching is a simple and easy way to get the creative process going.