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  • Writer's pictureedwardjamescoco

Happy 2019. . . Let's talk about pride. .

No, not that "Pride". I'm just talking about regular pride; specifically pride in your work. I know, it sounds like a pretty heavy discussion for so early in the year. So I'll try to keep it relatively light. What I'm specifically talking about today are those situations I face as a designer when someone says "We don't need anything fancy. Can't you just do a quick pencil scratch drawing?" First off that's such a misleading request. I've found that most of the time they aren't really talking about the quality of the sketch/rendering/visual. They're really saying that they don't have a lot of time and they need the visuals turned around extremely fast. Sure, they want the same quality of design that you'd give to a full rendering. They just need it fast. So by insinuating that I use a pencil they assume that the same creative process will exist, but I'll get it to them faster.

Uggghhhhh. That's my "designer's moan". It comes out when I get those requests. I'm sure that, deep down inside, they realize that the creative part of a project is the thing that can take time. But when I hear that phrase I feel like they picture designers as a bunch of cavemen sitting around in a circle pounding their heads because they can't articulate the creative thoughts they're having. As if the presence of a pencil will suddenly create the required conduit to allow thousands of ideas to stream smoothly from our brains.

Sure, as artists we're always seeking the myriad of ways to process our concepts into physical manifestations. But pencils, markers, computers. . . they're all just tools that we have as designers. Some people are fast at one method but slow at another. It's just a preference for how we, as designers, get our ideas from ideation to presentation. ("Ideation" is my word for 2019. I'm going to abuse the hell out of it. It just means "the process of forming ideas" but it sounds so highbrow.)

This is currently my favorite way to "quick sketch".

Ok. . . so where does "pride" fit into this rant? That is, after all, in the title of this blog post. Well my point with all of this is that we. as designers, need to have pride in what we're presenting. It doesn't matter if it's going to the client or if it's being thrown around internally. When we're sending something out we're proposing an extension of ourselves. It's a reflection of our skills as artists and our ideas as designers. It's important to remember that this is often the only thing that people are going to be able to use to gauge the quality of what we do. Hopefully it isn't the only interaction we have with clients; but that doesn't mean we shouldn't have the attitude that our work always reflects who we are as designers.

We used to have this game back when I was in school for Creative Writing. It was called "Dead Writer" (or "Dead Poet", depending on the assignment). You wrote something for class then someone else would read your work out loud, as if you'd died and couldn't read it yourself. You had to sit in the classroom like a ghost and listen to everyone try to deduce what you'd intended with your work. You couldn't say a thing. It inevitably led to people making judgements about you, as a writer, and not just the material. People would say the most outlandish things. It would spin horribly out of control. and was almost unbearable. But it taught you a good lesson about how people can react to things when only given a small sample-size with which to work. As designers those sketches can be the small sample. Quick or not we have to have pride in what we're putting out there, and we have to make sure they're an accurate representation of our creativity and talents.

Another example of my current way to "quick sketch"

So I guess my lesson today is to have pride in every aspect of your design process. Don't be rushed into things, but also find your way/method to quickly get your thoughts conveyed to people. Remember that everything you send out is a representation of you and your abilities. Never let "well they asked for a quick pencil sketch" be an excuse for submitting work that you can't stand behind. I often change the way I make my version of a "quick pencil sketch" (see above examples) but I don't let those methods become a obstacle for producing something that I consider professional.

Thanks for reading!

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