Design Thinking and Drawing

19 Jul

Training in drawing skills and techniques is just as equally valuable to designers as physical training is to athletes or practice to musicians. In the same way a drummer practices he’s drum solo for the big night, a designer should practice drawing to communicate their ideas. Design thinking is a goal orientated process, its value lies in the outcomes it produces. It is used to solve problems and create world changing solutions (Tim Brown) Brown has also mentions the nature of design thinking. It is no longer a convergent process, only searching for the best option out of many choices.

Design thinking has become divergent. It looks to create an range of choices. Design thinking has no value until it is made tangible. Once made tangible, the designer can then act on their ideas. Improving them or finding reasons flaws in them. Making ideas tangible allows them to grow. Their are a variety of forms in which a design can make an idea tangible, these include drawing, prototyping, mock-ups or using computer software such as 3D CAD modeling. However drawing remains is one of the simplest and quickest ways of making ideas tangible. Although drawing only forms a part of design, a well educated drawer would find many benefits from the medium. With this understanding of the characteristics of and the nature of viewing and producing imagery and a large visual vocabulary the designer can greater level of communication through drawing.

This process is also evident in the approach to communication through other art forms and medias. Take sculpting for example, where an increase in the sculptor’s techniques allows them to communicate ideas, emotions and stories in a variety of ways. It can be said that increasing the visual vocabulary of a designer by studying various forms of representing information will make the designer more creative. We see this theory proven by the research of Goldshimdt and Smolkov. Who noted the difference between students who scored higher on creativity tests as their experience level in using drawing when solving problems. Goldshimdt and Smolkov showed that design training and experience increase the benefits a designer receives from being able to draw. They argue that drawing is useful to the designer and it allows for more creative representation of their ideas and concepts.

From this we can conclude an increase in the drawing abilities of a designer will yield far more creative design ideas and solutions, making the designer more creative. Goldshimdt and Smolkov also noted in their experiments that regardless of pre-design visual stimuli or training, participants still scored higher creative marks when they were able to draw. Thus showing that drawing is a useful fundamental skill when designing. With good drawing skills the design.

For more on Tim Brown, Watch his latest video or grab one of his books or visit his blog.

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