I’ve always been a fan of doodling. The margins of my notebooks are littered with winged skulls, really bad attempts at hand-lettering and a ton of other random scribbles and they are there for a reason. Whether I’m trying to solve a creative problem or trying to stay focused during a coma-inducing meeting, doodling in my notebook will ALWAYS be an important step in my creative process.


I’ve noticed many junior designers begin the design process by immediately going to the computer and aimlessly moving shapes around or beginning a search for the coolest new typeface. For me, there are numerous benefits to beginning with pen and paper. Here are four ways doodling can be a critical tool in the creative process:



  1. Communicating with clients — Sketching, to me, has to be the fastest and cost-efficient way of communicating ideas to a client, either internally or externally. Clients always want options and, you know, a client is ALWAYS going to have changes. So, showing them a handful of fairly detailed concepts is far more efficient when changes come about. Not to mention, it gives the client the feeling of participation in the initial stages of the creative process.


  1. All thumbs — Thumbnail sketches are quick drawings that are, almost, only decipherable by the designer. They are the fastest way a designer can move through different iterations of visual elements in a layout. Believe it or not, a large percentage of the webpages, on the internet, probably started out as a thumbnail sketch!
  2. A brainstorm is brewing — During the brainstorming process, ideas and thoughts can come at me like a torrential downpour, and what better way to catch all of those drops of creativity than capturing them on paper. It makes exploring different concepts and solutions a breeze!


  1. Staying close — By spending so much time going through the creative process with sketching, I tend to understand the inner workings of my design. That way, I can explain my approach more succinctly to the client.


As a designer, sketching is inherent to who I am as a person, an artist and a professional. It’s how I live and it’s how I think. In addition, as my colleague Tammy Tufty mentioned in a previous post, there are numerous brain-building benefits to doodling as well. So, next time you feel stuck in a design rut or would like a different way to communicate your idea, consider grabbing a pen and stack of paper and begin doodling. You might be amazed at the genius designs you create!

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