"And thus decided, design was not a career choice for you! Not having drawing skills should not stop you from choosing the design career."
Well, visuals are an essential part of design communication. But it is equally important to convey information through design effectively and to have the visual aptitude to understand colour and determining differences and similarities between objects. Therefore, many design schools’ entrance exams and aptitude tests aim to evaluate a candidate’s visual aptitude for graphic design courses or communication design courses.
Recently a question regarding the usefulness of drawing techniques has come under the radar, as various design software programs like Photoshop, SketchUp, GIMP, Inkscape, Expression Design 4 and Illustrator are readily available to the masses.
Looking back to the time, as a child, when perhaps you had no concerns and drew freely, but then people started questioning your ability to sketch and draw. Wondering what went wrong?
In his famous TED Talk on Do Schools Kill Creativity, Sir Ken Robinson explained that creativity is essential in education as it helps explore the various contours of human capacity.
London-based freelance graphic designer and producer of TastyTuts Gareth David, said “a good designer is concerned with drawing to design to come up with concepts and creative ideas. Thus, to think visually and the sketch is the essence of design and is the most creative segment of the design process. During the sketching process, ideas are invented, tested, and start to shape a direction, concept or provide a possible design solution”.
Sketching is a great way to visualize. There are no physical rules within which one can experiment and play around with absolute freedom. It allows employers to view how you can conceptualize and come up with new ideas. It’s flexible and provides space for discussion and feedback, which further helps evolve and build on the design concept. The ability to visualize ideas on paper makes it tangible and helps people get a glimpse of the potential of your idea, making it real.
Former creative director of Saatchi and Saatchi, Paul Arden, said, “A simple artistic view that captures the first raw emotions and thoughts that combines logic and rough layouts sells the idea better than polished ones. Analysis of user behaviour creativity is a great way to tell the story, and people find it easier to understand”.
Most people think that drawing is the final result that showcases talent, skill, creativity, and even how true to reality it is or can be. But for the designer, this is not the main purpose. Programs in visual communication design and graphic design do not teach a designer to become a fine artist. They simply try to emphasize the understanding and importance of thinking about ideas and translating them into visual graphics. Drawing increases awareness regarding structure, form, line, shape relationships, spatial colour and texture. The language of basic sketches is in suggestion and exploration of possibilities rather than in definitive.
According to the Creative Director of the D8 design agencies, Adrian Carroll, he feels his drawings and sketches at the research stage are just scrawls that might be incomprehensible to anyone but him. He also said, “Drawing is useful but not essential. As long as you can communicate your ideas effectively, the means by which you do so are entirely up to you”.
Advancements in technology will always continue to change the way we create, helping us bring our imagination and designs to life. Furthermore, it enables us to achieve more smoothness in our designs. Yet drawings and rough sketches will remain the most effective techniques during the explorative stages of the design process. Thus, it is definitely a valuable skill to have but not essential or mandatory.