Thumbnails at Work
Imagine that you hire a tile setter to retile your bathroom. And you have him spend the whole day laying out and grouting a pattern of his choosing based on a brief discussion in the morning. Then at the end of the day he presents you with the finished product. The pattern is precise and the craftsmanship is stunning. But something isn't right. There are four white tiles in a row followed by a black one. You thought it would be the other way around, and consider this pattern bad luck. He must tear it out and start over. If only he'd have spent a few minutes sketching out the design, you could both have been (literally) on the same page.
It's hard to envision a situation where this would happen, but it seems to be the norm in graphic design world. Designers routinely spend hours digitally rendering, refining and tweaking beautiful, elegant things. The problem arises when the design direction, no matter how awesomely executed, just isn't right. Often this means a day is wasted. And the everyone, not least of all the designer, is frustrated.
I'm pretty sure our designers sometimes get annoyed about this, but we have a have a "sketch rule" in our shop. That means the designers sketch out their ideas on paper before executing anything on the computer. When you sketch, you are thinking, and solving a problem. And putting those ideas directly on a page without being encumbered by software, fonts or whatever other distractions are coming across your screen. I love, love, love what computers can do, but they shouldn't be used at this stage. That's for later, when you know what kind of pattern you're going for at the end of the day.
Sketching. It's fast, fun and anybody can do it. And it will save you a lot of money.
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