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Design 101: Your Most Powerful Design Tool is Closer Than You Think…

design tool

Your most powerful design tool is much closer than you could’ve imagined. So much so that’s it’s attached to you. Did you guess it? It’s your hand, and with it, you have the power of sketching. What you probably didn’t know is that making a habit of sketching and adding it to your design workflow is incredibly beneficial. Keep reading to reap all the benefits from a tool that doesn’t cost you a dime.


#1: Incredible Daily or Weekly Illustrations


Most of you who became graphic designers probably had to do some art classes. Well, don’t let those dollars, time and effort you spent go to waste. Get your artistic side going and take a sketch break. I’d recommend doing a 10-15 minute sketch daily, doodling random things like logos, words, symbols, icons, movie, TV, or video game characters, etc.… really, whatever comes naturally. If a daily sketch break doesn’t fit into your schedule, you could always try setting an hour aside during one day of the week to spend sketching.

“There’s something about holding a pencil in your hand that gets your creative juices flowing in a much different way than holding a mouse.” – Lou Levit (@ReliablePSD)

Let’s reap the benefits. You know those sketches you’ve been doing all week or during that hour of your week? Turn them into Instagram posts or downloadable posters (check out the downloadable poster I created above by sketching on a tablet)! Not only will you learn how to channel different creative juices, you’ll now have something tangible and incredibly unique that you can offer your followers or clients.

Check out this hand-drawn sketch by Kristine Osbourne that we’ve posted on our Instagram account!

#2: Construct Deeper Designs BEFORE Making them

design tool

Your hand is faster than your mouse. And because your hand is faster, you can get your ideas illustrated at the moment they pop in your head. If you choose to use your mouse, you’re going to lose the gusto of your idea. Since it takes more time to draw on your screen, your idea will either fade away, morph as you’re trying to illustrate it or you’ll lose interest. Don’t let that happen! Take no chances of missing out on your best work yet, and it all starts with sketching them out as they come to you. Do this and you’ll be able to make effective following iterations on the same page and when you’re done, you’ll have everything on one convenient, mobile, Wi-Fi-free place. Not good at drawing? Don’t worry, just make sure that your core elements are legible enough to decipher.

Check out how I sketched out an interactive infographic before I designed it above, and to visit the live infographic here!

#3: Instant Concept Communication


There are days that will come where you have this fantastic idea in your head, only to leave your co-workers puzzled when you try explaining it. Yes, reap the third benefit of concept communication by sketching. Recently, I’ve entered into the role of web design here at Red Branch Media. Since this was a particularly new skill I had to develop, I trusted my good ol’ pen and paper to help get my ideas out of my head. This was especially helpful when I wanted to explain page layout designs to my boss, Maren Hogan. Sometimes, there’s no better way to present your idea than having a physical form of it.

Feeling artsy-inspired now? Try something new with my step-by-step guide to create breathtaking low poly art! See what you’ll be able to create above!

Sketching 10-15 minutes a day or an hour a week, drawing out designs before hitting the screen and sketching concepts before communicating with your team will only benefit yourself and your career going forward. Over time, your sketches will get better and you‘ll be able to roll out new ideas and build upon them even faster. What are you waiting for? Tap into those creative juices you haven’t accessed since college and utilize them in your career.