Designer preparing to just get in there and sketch it outOctober 8, 2015
Junior designer at San Francisco based startup Disaroaming, 22 year old Abe Damon has declared that he will spend the morning just sketching it out.
At approximately 5pm the previous day, Damon was found in a meeting with members of Disaroaming’s marketing, growth, and design teams, discussing the development and implementation of a new feature to hack their social graph. Arriving at the Mission district office at approximately 9:43am this morning, Damon assertively announced that the first step was to sketch it out.
“Yeah, with big projects like this, it’s important to start by just getting it on paper.”
On Damon’s desk was a fresh Moleskine notebook, one designer pen that definitely wasn’t a waste of money, his 13” Apple Macbook Air, and a $6 coffee from the local spot.
“Before jumping right into the nitty-gritty design stuff, I like to spend some time just getting ideas out of my head and onto the page,” Damon told us as he opened Facebook to just quickly check what he’d missed overnight.
“A lot of time can be wasted just overthinking the high fidelity details when you go into Photoshop. First of all I like to just do a really rough sketch in my notebook,” he declared, simultaneously checking the photos shared from ex-girlfriend Dany Morris’ housewarming party in the Pacific Heights area. “Where it would take me, I don’t know, two hours just to put together a basic website wireframe in Photoshop, here I can just quickly draw up the layout and work from there.”
A challenge that has long faced designers is where to place their time. Due to an infiltration in the market of many new design tools, the ability to rapidly prototype and bring ideas to life is becoming more accessible to designers of all levels, though the beauty in quickly sketching out is still not lost on many.
As he scrolled through Twitter to read the latest from those he follows in the East Coast and European timezones, Damon informed us of the importance these sketches play later on in the process. “You have these sketches now and you can always refer back to them later. It’s just great to see how the brain progresses.”
Now 10:31am, Damon highlighted another great benefit of taking some time just to sketch your ideas out. “There’s something just quite authentic about it being on paper, so much of stuff is digital that—“ (Damon’s thought was lost as he laughed out loud at a gif of a cape-wearing pig on Reddit, spraying a gentle layer of spittle across his keyboard in the process) “—wait, what was I saying? Oh yeah, it’s the analog thing I just really dig.”
Ellen Marat, a colleague of Damon’s in the senior designer role at Disaroaming, approached his desk to ask how things were progressing.
“Oh, I’m just sketching it out for now. Just putting it all on paper before I jump into Photoshop so we know where we stand,” Damon replied, before turning back to his Tumblr dashboard where a favourite blog of his thewetdisappointment had produced a fan mashup of Terry Richardson’s most controversial work.
As designers we are more enabled than ever to create any medium of design using any tool, but often forget to start with the basics, unlike Damon here.
While messaging a friend to see ‘if anything weird had gone down at Dany’s party’, we asked if it was time to take it digital. “Oh, well, still just kinda sketching it out for now”. After noting that he’d mentioned this already, Damon retorted that it’s all part of the process and such things take a bit of time to get out of the head and into real life.
As lunchtime approached, Damon flirted with opening Photoshop. “I just don’t want to rush it. It’s quite dangerous to overthink in the early stages and let the user experience be damaged by that. It’s all this weird process stuff you pick up after a few months at a company like this.”
As we left the office, Damon’s attention turned to a small debate on Twitter about the benefits of Pixate against Principal, rendering him unable for final comment. However, the fruits of his morning’s labour were to be found in a sketch of two rectangles on his notebook and an arrow pointing to the word ‘GREEN?’ in the top right hand corner of the page.