The Value of a Sketch
A design project’s aesthetics and cultural impact are usually the primary consideration as to the effectiveness and quality of a designer's approach to problem-solving. What is often overlooked in these perspectives are the various preliminary approaches that designers employ—how do we visualize and ultimately share our ideas with others?
Within design education, projects are usually conceived to help expose students to the “design process,” an often-complex journey of experiments and discoveries. This process helps guide students in the creation of future successful design solutions. With the progress of the digital experience (PowerPoint presentations, iPhone apps, and Virtual Reality), the art of the sketch seems to be a casualty of the current state of the design process.
What can we learn from a sketch? Is the sketch a dead art form, forever packed away in folders or archives never to be seen again? Or, can we reevaluate its historical contributions in the design process and creation of artful typographic syntax and hierarchy, image creation, and narrative development?
Most often, these small, thumbnail sketches speak only to a limited audience (Art Directors, other designers, or only the designer themselves) and therefore usually have a limited impact. But, in the hands of a skilled and creative designer, these sketches can mean the difference between success or failure, the green light or the idea being squashed.
As a supplement to several educational design projects, this collection attempts to expose students to the value of the simple pencil sketch. How can we use the sketching process to encourage young designers to visualize away from the computer and avoid the digital “sameness” pervasive in our visual world?
This collection attempts to chronicle the process of various designers and their projects (both large and small, complex, and simple) and presents their approach to preliminary ideation through the sketching process. The collection includes thumbnails, photographs, color studies, line reductions as well as the completed project in hopes of revealing The Value of a Simple Sketch.
Willi Kunz, Swiss-born Kunz played a major role in introduction of the new typography developed from Basel to the United States where he currently lives and works.
Dan Friedman, (1945–1995) noted American graphic and furniture designer and educator. One of the significant contributors to the New Wave typography movement.
Painter Piet Mondrian, (1872–1944) was the leader of the Dutch De Stijl movement where he implemented an extreme visual vocabulary consisting of planes of primary colors, simplified right angles, and linear accents.
Tom Engeman, stamper designer and Illustrator
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