I don’t care what they say; I still love Medium. Despite all the spammy, markety, Seth Godin-ish posts filling it up, and the hushed, opaque ways they recommend artricles to the reader, I still stumble across some gems. Like this post, “Start with a pencil“.
I’ve linked a similar article here before, and this is a great, natural follow up to it. If you work in a creative agency setting, and you’re in charge of concepting a product, start with a pencil. Don’t be afraid if it’s a little messy or unrefined.
From the post by Twitter designer James Buckhouse:
Time spent with a pencil is cheap, fast and totally within your control. Don’t like your design? Erase, crumple or cross it out. Iterate quickly and find a better solution before pushing any pixels. Also, a pencil can be your bridge between Designers, PMs and Engineers if you use this trick to draw together as a team.
I would agree, though I don’t want you to think that by “cheap”, he means not valuable. A pencil is one of the most raw, basic ways you can create a real-life expression of what’s in your head — rubbing a stick of carbon onto a flat surface. It’s a sneeze away from one of humanity’s earliest forms of communication; burnt sticks on cave walls.
I especially love Buckhouse’s thesis that creating beautiful, refined mockups in Photoshop will mislead the client into thinking that what you present this is a finished concept. We’ve faced that numerous times — often, a quick sketch of a particular page’s layout gets them actively involved in the collaborative process we’re looking for (though admittedly, most of our designers prefer Sharpies to pencils — the philistines).
Read it for yourself! I hope to be back with some actual products to review soon.