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Why I draw in my silly little book when I have 32G of RAM sitting right here…

by David Bier
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Some of my earliest memories involve coloring and drawing. When I was young, I always had a sketchbook or even a ruled notebook with pencil and marker drawings. But for whatever reason, I stopped almost completely in my teens. It wasn’t until I began my studies in Industrial Design that I was confronted with the very need to start sketching again and at that point, computers, photoshop and rendering technology were all becoming viable tools in design.  As a result, it was hard to accept why free-hand sketching had any advantage over using computer tools. 

 First, sketches help to convey ideas, demonstrate functionality, visualize user flow, and illustrate anything that requires human interaction. Second, sketching helps discover potential issues and solutions early, prior to starting the design and development stages.

Before sketching, you need to have a clear understanding of the problem you are solving or the business objective for something new you are designing. Research is where the initial ideas begin to build, so that you can envision what you are designing. Sketching helps you extract numerous ideas out quickly before you enter into a graphics editor to start designing the look and feel.

 The beauty of sketching is that you are not required to be an artist to produce them. Sketching is only to help explore and explain design concepts. Here are some of the benefits of sketching:

  • Saves time in the workflow process
  • Your first idea is rarely your best.
  • Great for brainstorming ideas and collaborating with team members.
  • Refines the wire-framing process
  • Helps evaluate the feasibility of features and eliminate layout and functionality issues.
  • Keeps things unofficial, clients won’t be so focused on color or detail early in the design process.
  • Anyone can sketch ideas.

 And that is why I sketch in a silly little book when I have this computer, with all the design software imaginable and more fonts than I could possibly know what do with.

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