Despite the fact that most design work is done digitally today, many graphic and web designers still find value in sketching their ideas on paper first. In particularly when working with page layout design, logo design or web design, sketching can extremely useful in determining whether an idea is worth pursuing. It can save a tremendous amount of time by allowing a designer to get through a series of ideas without having to concern themselves with how to approach it in application or think of what tools they will need; a designer can focus purely on an idea by sketching.
One of the reasons less designers sketch first is that they don’t feel they have strong illustration skills. This is no reason to avoid sketching, as it as exercise that is purely about exploration, rather than producing a polished result. The capabilities of applications like Photoshop and Illustrator have overshadowed this process because you can produce a polished result very quickly with these tools. However when you don’t have a clear and distinct vision of what you want something to look like, you waste a lot of time in these applications guessing at what you should be doing, rather than executing on an idea you’ve already committed to.
How Sketching Helps Web Designers
Web Design is probably the area in which sketching will result in the largest amount of time savings, as coding even a simple layout can be time consuming. Different layouts for internal pages even more so. Sketching and developing the sitemap on paper can allow a web designer to commit to decisions and make changes without having to rewrite complex code and greatly simply the process.
How Sketching Helps Print Designers
In the print design process where you may need approvals from an Art Director a client, sketching first and then developing a simply wire-frame can allow you to get approvals on positioning and basic layout structure without getting bogged down in details like colors and fonts, particularly when working with multipage documents.
How Sketching Helps Logo Designers
Within the logo design process sketching is essential. Not only is it a good way to explore your ideas, but it is one of the best ways to put clients in a position to make quick decisions about the visual direction the logo should ultimately take. I recommend sketching as long as possible in the logo design process to speed things along and get approvals and revisions before committing a great deal of time and effort to working in applications like Photoshop and Illustrator. Working in these applications should be reserved for the final chosen logo concept and producing the final design.