To sketch or not to sketch — that is the question when design projects begin and deadlines loom. For instance, taking a new ad concept and putting it on paper (or chalkboard, wipe/erase board, napkin, etc.) before working it on the computer is a crucial part of the design process. Some graphic designers — myself included at times, skip the manual sketch and jump right into designing on the computer. We consider our computer comps to be our electronic sketches. There are pros and cons to both techniques and designers are more than ready to debate their chosen modus operandi.
If I had to choose a side, my alliance would be with sketchers. And I do not consider myself a great sketch artist. But when I sketch first, it does help me see my vision in less time, with less effort, less distraction and I can be free to create more options. At times, it’s through sketching that I also come to the finer details earlier on which can ultimately save time and money.
Above is my sketch for a photo developing ad concept and its final outcome, a 3cx18″ ROP ad. I used the buyer’s ad list to sketch and collect props and product. When directing the photo shoot, this sketch helped me communicate my idea clearly and easily. I was still able to move things around and play creatively, but ultimately the photographer and I got in there, made good use of our time and ended with great photos that worked well for the ad. I produced this particular advertisement a while ago .. but I can still picture it!