If you’re a creative person, there are probably many ideas running through your head every day. Do you have these moments? It can happen on your vacation when you aren’t even thinking about work, or it happens before you go to sleep, or even in the shower.
Maybe you saw something that sparked your interest at some point during the day, or perhaps you were inspired by someone else’s project. Creative ideas can hit us anytime.
What about the moments when you’re currently working on an important project and suddenly you get an idea for something new? It sticks in your brain and you can’t stop thinking about it.
Yes, you’re creative and you can be proud of that, but nobody will want to pay you just for being creative. You need to finish the projects you’re working on. Losing focus every time you get a new idea will not help you. Your talent can be a blessing, but it might also be a curse.
Many creative people tend to never finish their projects. Sketching and taking quick notes of your ideas might be the solution.
Clear your mind and stay focused
To be honest, sketching is like mental therapy for me. Thanks to my sketchbook I can quickly get all the ideas out of my head and clear my mind. I can focus on what’s important at the moment.
I’ve learned through the last couple of years to ignore bad ideas but it’s worth it to spend a few minutes to save those really good ones.
Thanks to notes and quick sketches, you can always bring it back later, so nothing is lost. In the meantime, you can get back to your regular work because your head will be clear, and your ideas will be saved.
Train your brain to be more creative
Do you remember your dreams 30 minutes after you wake up? You may not be able to restore any images in your mind. Later, you may even think that you didn’t have any dreams at all.
One of the techniques to improve memorizing your dreams is writing them down right after you wake up. After some time practicing it, you can train your brain to remember all your dreams even 30 minutes after getting up.
I believe it’s very similar with ideas. By sketching your initial ideas you can train your brain. You’ll learn how to visualize and add more sense to your thoughts. You can train yourself to be more creative, improve your imagination and get the most out of your ideas. After some time you’ll realize that your design ideas are much brighter and logical.
Be your own judge
Unfortunately, not all ideas are good. Some of them may seem to be great at the beginning when you’re too excited to look objectively at them.
It’s very tempting to drop everything you’re currently working on and start the new project right away. Next day, you realize that the idea isn’t good at all and you wasted 4 hours of your work.
This had happened to me too many times and that’s why I decided to start sketching first.
So what happens in the sketching process? When I have a new idea, I make a quick sketch in my dot grid journal. I usually add some annotations to explain to the “future me” what I’m so excited about. This helps me to leave it for a while and get back to my normal work. I spend no more than 10-15 minutes on it.
When I look at it the next day, I can judge it more objectively when all the emotions are gone. I can also share it with someone else and ask for an opinion before investing too much production time into it.
Make it your routine
Try to make sketching your design ideas a daily routine.
First, get a relatively small notebook, sketchbook or
a dot grid journal like I have. Make sure it’s small enough so you can carry it with you everywhere. You never know when inspiration will hit you.
Second, get a pen. I used to use pencil but then I switched to a pen because you can’t erase it. It’s very tempting to erase your first pencil sketches as you think these are not good. With the pen I can only cross it out and draw something new. I go back to those crossed out drawings often and sometimes they appear to be much better than I originally thought.
Third, sketch everything. Sketch small design elements like the navigation bars, icons, logos or new website layouts. You can sketch some new typography ideas or full website design concepts. Try to keep them simple and remember these are only sketches and ideas.
Also, don’t forget to take some notes and describe what you want to present in your sketch; for example, how the button should behave on the mouse hover.
As you can see, sketching helps me to save my best thoughts, be more focused on my current projects, train my brain to be more creative, and objectively judge my own ideas.
How about you? Do you sketch your design ideas? Why or why not?