Design Development

Why every web designer should learn to sketch

There are a few skills necessary for everyone, no matter in what kind design industry does he work. Even though these skills require some theory as a background, they can be mostly learned only through continuous deliberate practice. However, if you are willing to invest your time and effort into developing them, you will be rewarded with huge dividends (i.e. benefits). One of these skills is sketching. You can also know it as drawing or doodling. Today I will give you four reasons why sketching can be good for you. Let’s take a look at them …

But before we start we have to debunk couple of myths (i. e. bullshits) you might hear or even believe.

First, you are creative person. If someone is trying to convince you that the opposite is true, don’t believe him. Everyone is creative, just go back to your childhood to see how creative you were back then before you start to believe what other people are saying. Forget these “truths” and bring back that child.

Second, you can sketch and draw. If you think you don’t, you are wrong. There is no official measure or classification to determine what is good and what is bad sketch. Everyone has his own taste and style.

Third, sketching is not wasting of your time. In a fact, when you sketch your brain can rest a bit and recharge while still working on problems “in the background”. Do you know that aha moments in the shower or under tree? Sketching is similar. By sketching, you are allowing your brain to redirect the focus somewhere else and work with your imagination instead of logic. Now, when we trashed some myths, let’s move to benefits of sketching.

Observation

First benefit to mention is enhancement of your observing skills. No one can be good at sketching without being good observer. Without an idea about some object, its form, shape, etc., you can’t sketch it appropriately. Imagine it like walking through the new house blindfolded. It will be difficult and also dangerous (you can try this at home). On the other hand, with clear vision, your sketches and drawings can be almost real-like. Sketching will also enhance your observation skills in term of understanding people-objects and people-people interactions. Instead of sketching simple objects, try to sketch more difficult topics like dialog between two or more people or people during some activity. You don’t have to be an UX designer to get some benefits out of it. Understanding all the stages particular activity goes through will help you get better in building better interfaces, products, services and other things.

Understanding fundamentals

One of the things every designer have to learn in school is to draw basic shapes. You go from simple ones like squares and circles to more complex elements such as decahedron or icosidodecahedron. These objects are hard to say and what about to draw … If you still want to at least try it (which you should), there is more feasible way to do that. All you need is to break it down to fundamental shapes. From there, you can sketch anything you want. Do you want to sketch human body? How about creating someone’s portrait? It might look scary on the first sight, but when you break it down to simple dots, lines, circles and squares, it becomes much easier. This is also the way how artists works. When they want to draw or sketch some object, the will break it down to these fundamentals and work from there up.

If you are struggling with sketching, focus on these simple shapes at first and practice them because every object around you, no matter how complex, is composed of them. After you get better, you will better understand how different shapes influence people’s actions. You will understand when it is smarter choice to use circular object instead of angular. As with object in our environment, websites too, are composed of fundamental elements interacting with each other and users in some way. By understanding these aspects, you will be able to create more holistic and user-friendly experience. So start sketching.

Better Communication

Dialog between designer and client sometime looks more like situation with two people talking different languages trying to explain something to their partner. Do you know that saying “Men are from Mars, women are from Venus.”? Well, this is similar. You are talking about A and client is hear B. One way to avoid this is to through sketching because the better in sketching you are, the clearer you are able to communicate. I don’t know why , but it’s true. One reason may be in ability to present your ideas through sketches. Since images are often easier to understand than words, sketches can take away the stress and many misunderstandings. Client will probably better understand your idea of layout in the form of simple sketch rather than two pages of design-related terms.

Better Memory

Let’s end it by talking about psychology. You can learn something in couple ways. You can practice it manually, read it, listen to it or you can sketch it. The best of these is practicing on your own, however, sketching and drawing is pretty close. This is also reason why mind maps are so popular. When you take notes in the form of sketches instead of plain words, you are engaging your brain much more. In that particular you are using your multiple areas of your brain together – imagination, language center, coordination, etc. You can also use your senses by visualizing how something smells or tastes. The more areas of your brain and sense you use while learning, the stronger the connection in your memory is. Imagine it like a Golden Gate bridge. One sense and are is one rope and each neuron involved in process is a tower. If you use more ropes (theoretically), whole bridge will be more stable and endure longer. Memory is exactly the same. So next time use your imagination add some sketches to your notes, it will enhance your memory and increase the probability of remembering it.

Summary

Sketching is great way to enhance your skills and enrich many areas of your life. You can use it on a daily basis literally everywhere. From shopping list to school and business. There are no limits. Sketching will also make you better designer by increasing your observing skills and improving your ability to understand interactions around you. It can also be a good way to give your brain chance to recharge and work on creating new solutions to hard problems. Since imagination and creativity are the most important tools of designer, sketching can be a magic pill for you and your work.

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