ARE DESIGNERS DEFINED BY THEIR DRAWING AND SKETCHING SKILLS?
Now that’s a complicated question. At first consideration, I would definitely say no, designers are not defined by their drawing and sketching skills. It doesn’t really matter how simple your sketch is, as long as your clients or colleagues can use it to visualise your ideas. Drawing a picture of something will get your idea across so much more effectively than trying to describe it using words. As Aristotle said, “without image, thinking is impossible”. We drew picture of things before we even really knew what they were, sketching and drawing come to us more naturally than speaking, reading or writing. As we grow up we lose sight of the ease with which we used to express our ideas and thoughts through drawing as a child. A child doesn’t care if their drawing isn’t a photorealistic representation of whatever it is that they’re depicting, just like it shouldn’t matter if a designer spends two minutes making a basic but not amazingly skilful sketch of their ideas rather than spending hours and hours creating an incredibly detailed one.
After having read the majority of what’s on the reading list, it’s given me lots of angles to consider in terms of the answer to this question. One of the most interesting articles on the reading list was all about doodling, and the benefits it has for designers. To quote, “Designers don’t just doodle to keep their minds focussed – we also deliberately sketch ideas in order to problem solve and to get immediate feedback from our clients and peers.” Doodling was always something that became frowned upon in school, you’d be told by the teacher to pay attention and stop wasting time. But what if doodling could have helped us learn? After all, 37% of the population are visual learners. That’s a large percentage of people who would benefit from transforming information into sketches, regardless of whether they have sketching skills at all. Doodling as a word has always had negative connotations, it meant a simpleton or a fool in the 17th century, then meant to make fun of someone in the 18th century. Nowadays, it officially means to scribble absentmindedly. But why does it have to be absentmindedly? If we doodle with intent, use it as a tool to take notes to help us retain information, that is obviously not “scribbling”, nor is it aimless. Doodles don’t have to be masterpieces, that’s not their purpose. Their purpose is to be simple, to be quick.
IMAGE FROM “https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2012/08/i-draw-pictures-all-day/” (accessed 5/10/16)
Visually recording information increases recall by 15% so producing a basic sketch of your idea automatically increases how memorable it will be to whoever you’re pitching to. As a designer, your job depends on how effectively you pitch your ideas. Your initial sketches don’t have to be incredibly detailed or accurate. Most designs are rendered using computer software as the project develops, but initially all that’s necessary is a quick sketch to get your point across. To spend the time processing and rendering full ideas in the early stages of the design process may turn out to be a waste of time. So many changes take place at the beginning of a project that it would be pointless spending hours creating perfect sketches of your ideas.
Part 1 of Reflective Blog Post Submission for Ways of Seeing module, under the title “Are designers defined by their drawing and sketching skills?”