Before you launch InDesign, do this
Author: Robert Giorgio
How many times have you found yourself staring at your InDesign file, wondering what to do next? Many times, designers get excited about their first idea and leap right to the computer. This is often warranted. Urgent deadlines and multiple projects demand efficiency. But instead of rushing to the screen, you should pause and clarify your objectives. And the best way to do this is to first write down your ideas and sketch them on paper.
If you slow down and make your thoughts visible on paper, you will be more productive and creative. This doesn’t apply only to designers; anyone who needs to solve problems will benefit.
Here are three reasons why you should write and sketch first:
- 1. Clarifies your thinking
- 2. Enables quick generation of ideas
- 3. Allows you to iterate your ideas
It clarifies your thinking.
Years ago, I learned an important lesson from my dad. Whenever he faced an important decision or had to solve a problem, he would write it down on a piece of paper. The physical act of writing focused his attention and crystallized his thinking. Research suggests that writing on paper activates more regions of your brain than creating on a keyboard. Visualizing his thoughts made the problem more manageable and actionable.
I learned that I, too, thought clearer, spotted connections, and developed better solutions when I put pen to paper before accessing the computer. Now, when I face a design problem, I follow suit. I jot down my ideas and externalize my thoughts. The issue I’m working on becomes clearer, and I gain focus.
It enables quick generation of ideas.
Once I clarify the problem I’m seeking to solve, I crack open my sketch book. I draw multiple options. Saving time is the main difference between using the computer instead of paper to create layouts. If I’m drawing wireframes for a website, it’s quicker to visualize the text placement, information hierarchy, and the overall layout compared to the computer. Or if I’m brainstorming logo ideas, I can generate pages of concepts in a matter of minutes.
When you begin on the computer, you tend to censor and prematurely fixate on certain ideas. There is a place for refinement in the creative process, but not during brainstorming. You need to be quick, uncensored, and free to explore all of your ideas, even the unexpected ones.
It allows you to iterate ideas.
Now that you have several sketches and ideas visualized on paper, it’s time to take a closer look. Back to the logo example. Which ones look interesting? Which ideas solve the problem? Your rough drawings won’t always hit the mark on the first try. But, if you squint at them, you may see elements that show promise and require more exploration. For example, you observe intriguing shapes in a few of your initial logo sketches. What happens if you combine some of those elements from option A with option B? What if you redraw the letterforms so that they interact with the icon more?
After playing with these ideas, you will have options that are ready for further development. Now is the time to shift from pencils to pixels.
The next time you’re tasked to develop a design, create a campaign concept, or solve a problem, resist the impulse to jump to the screen. Even if you spend 10 minutes exploring the problem on paper first, the investment will be worth it. You will emerge with a clearer focus, more diverse ideas, and a selection of options to take you to the next level.
BlogJob-Searching Postgrad Amidst a Pandemic Author: Marieli Valencia Anyone who graduated during the year 2020 would most likely agree with me when I tell you this pandemic threw me into a postgrad situation I would have never imagined. When I was younger, I...
BlogGetting back to a “normal” working environment Author: Proximyl Health A flashback to not so long ago Ahh, remember the good ol’ days back in early 2020 (pre-Covid, of course) of commuting into the office every weekday morning, bagel and coffee in hand,...
BlogPut on your client hat Author: Todd Jackson After 10 years of agency life in account services, I made the decision to try something new – make the jump to the client side. While many of my skills and experiences were transferable, the move was also...
BlogWhen you make every word count, you make it work Author: Ron Kellow Aside from meetings, my days are spent writing – mostly promotional pieces targeted to healthcare professionals. It’s a good kind of “selling” as I’m informing physicians about something...
BlogPromoting Vaccine Efficacy in A Digital Age Author: Andrew Maiorino Behind my role in market research and serving our clients, I’ve always had innate layers of trust and understanding in scientific principles and ideas. After all, physicians practice daily,...
BlogWhat Would Cy Twombly Do? Author: Glenn Hauler A few years ago, my brother Jack, who is a very left-brained kind of guy, was grilling me about my job—a career which, by the way, he cannot fathom. At one point he asked me, “But what if you run out of ideas?”...
BlogWork Out Your Mind Author: Michelle Leung Behind the development of unique ideas that give voice to my work as a graphic designer lies the creative process. This out-of-the-box thinking can be challenging at times because it’s hard to determine what will...
BlogImproving Health and Wellness in the Time of COVID-19: Working From Home Author: Truth Serum NTWK The arrival of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has caused changes that for most of us are unprecedented. The World Health Organization (WHO) has now...
BlogHelping through understanding Author: Truth Serum NTWK In late 2008, I was getting ready to start a new job as a medical copywriter at an agency. New beginnings, new people... everything looking up. Then, my father was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. And...
BlogThe difference between a ‘boss’ and a ‘leader’ Author: Marilyn Aquino “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” —John Quincy Adams I’ve learned through experience that there is a big difference...
VideoThe importance of a proactive medical strategyRecent VideosRecent Blogs
PodcastNailing It: How to Get the Best Work from Your Ad Agency's Creative TeamRecent VideosRecent Blogs
PodcastBest practices in market research operationsRecent VideosRecent Blogs
PodcastInclusive language and fostering an inclusive and diverse work environmentRecent VideosRecent Blogs
PodcastThe Importance of a Strong Art/Copy Relationship Recent VideosRecent Blogs
PodcastAre you analyzing social data wrong? The key to success could be social listening.Recent VideosRecent Blogs
PodcastInspiring Teams That Inspire Great IdeasRecent VideosRecent Blogs
PodcastMarketing, Meet PR & PR, Meet Marketing: The Importance of an Integrated ApproachRecent VideosRecent Blogs
Video2 min of Truth podcast with Aron BrandRecent VideosRecent Blogs