As I network and talk with other designers about how they go about the process of designing something, I found that many, graphic designers in particular, go straight to the computer to conceptualize. Firing up their favorite application, grab their mouse or tablet and go to town! If you CAN do that then more power to you! When I mention that I doodle or sketch my ideas first, some designers say “Well, I can’t draw well” or if they see a sketch I’ve done, they may say “WOW, you draw really well!”
Unfortunately, they are missing the point!
It’s not about making a pretty drawing, it’s about letting your creative mind flow. A lot of my sketches ARE NOT works of art but they allow me to jump start the creative process, get it out of my head and let my eyes give me feedback. Since my background was drawing comic books (back in the day), I naturally transitioned that pencilling skill into how I formulate my designing. The pencil and paper allow me to “be foolish” with my ideas and most times, that foolishness will help me come upon a great idea! I can relax and not force it. Let the ideas and concepts come to me. I can highlight or cross out elements and let my pencil scribble away and eventually I will come up with something that I can take further and translate to the computer.
Unfortunately, some designers forgo this step and jump right to the computer. I say, make sketching a part of your brainstorming routine. Keep some writing utensils at hand and some paper. Some swear by Moleskin notebooks which are very good. But it can be anything you have to just get the idea down onto something….I sometimes sketch on napkins ( Just don’t get it wet…lol). I also use sticky notes as you can see in the bottom right pic. I can then attach them to my job log notebook and keep them in some type of order. Then, later on, you can flip through the sketches and maybe use some of the unused ideas for another project.
So for your next project, sit down and put on your favorite brainstorming playlist off your iPod (mine being Marvin Gaye or Marcus Miller) and put pencil to pad and see what you come up with. Come back to the sketches after giving them time to marinated and see what good ideas you’ve cooked up!