Old fashioned pen and paper do not see the daylight in many design studios nowadays. With advanced technology and Adobe's creative software packages many designers are tempted to jump straight into using their Mac and cutting down on time in the design process.
However, will this ultimately lead to the best result?
I think there are still many advantages for sketching ideas with pen and paper and here are my five main reasons.
1. MY CREATIVE JUICES START FLOWING
Sitting in front of my Mac all the time doesn't do any favours for my creativity. My brain is better stimulated when I am free to do things with my hands. It is almost as though the process of sketching and the movement of my hands speed up my ideas generation.
It feels more like a step by step process where the designs and ideas evolve naturally.
2. IT CAN BE DONE ANYWHERE
Great ideas do not come on demand. Our subconscious is great for getting on with processing ideas in the background when we're doing other things and sometimes
out of the blue, a great idea pops up and needs capturing, even if I am not at my desk.
Likewise train journeys are great for getting in the zone and sketching ideas - or just time away my desk, makes me feel more free to think creatively in the initial stages of the design process.
3. A QUICK WAY OF ADVANCING IDEAS
One idea leds to another very quickly and before I know it there is a logical flow of ideas down on paper. The thoughtprocess it has taken to reach that point is important in the foundation of the concept. There is a journey of discovery and exploration. As it is only a sketch, I feel no pressure that it has to be perfect - it is not the final design - so I can work quicker and I am not locked into my computer's toolset.
4. SKETCHES KICKSTART AN ENGAGING WORK PROCESS
Sketches are open to interpretation and therefore great for discussion with colleagues or even clients. They often kick off an engaging work process as there is room for imagination. We all see things differently and this way of working I find allows people to participate with their interpretation, it is easier for them to edit it in their mind than seeing a finished product. Designs done on the computer seem more 'final' and can lock people's mind. Sketches leave an open door for bringing views from different angles which can sow the seeds of something unique.
5. ONGOING INSPIRATION
I find that going through old sketchbook is a great way of sparking creative thinking on days where perhaps new ideas are taking a bit longer to come to me. The great thing about sketchbooks is that you can see the whole process of the ideas generation and discarded ideas for old briefs can sometimes help create a starting point for a new brief - or certainly help channel my thinking in the right direction.
"It is ten percent how you draw and ninety percent what you draw." Andrew Loomis