Start with a pencil

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.

Start with a pencil

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.

Start with a pencil |

3 thoughts on “Start with a pencil

  1. Pingback: Link Love: The Good, The Bad & The Postal Rate Increase | The Well-Appointed Desk

  2. Hello, good to find your site. I am a new pencil collector of sorts, an artist creating a roadside attraction and putting out the call for unusual objects in multiples. Wine corks, beer caps, can lids, etc. I recently purchased 15,000 plus vintage pencils from the 50’s, spent a few days sorting and high grading. Now I have access to the pencil hoarders framed panels. 28 uniform sized with some high quality (all advertising) and unusual individuals. Each panel has about 140 pencils wired on with copper, plenty of diversity among the pile. Curious what you might have to say about this find, a pencil “Hoard”. Sincerely Tony

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