Have you ever forgotten a great idea? That’s ok. It happens to us all. After all, you have so much going on during the day. Emails, meetings, chatting, and social media keep adding to your cognitive load and before you know it, that great idea you had just disappeared. We overestimate the amount of information our short-term memory can hold at any one time and also how long that information stays in our memory.
Sketching is a great way to quickly save the ideas we get by transferring them from our short-term memory and onto paper before they are lost forever.
Here are some tips to help you collect and save you ideas:
#1 - Always carry a pen and a sketchbook with you. You never know when you will get an idea.
Make sure to get a good pen and a sketchbook you can easily carry around with you. Going to a meeting? Take your notebook with you. Meetings are a great place where ideas happen. Sketch your idea as soon as you get it to prevent losing it by the time you get back to your desk.
#2 - When sketching an idea, add annotations such as source, description, date, and other relevant information for easy reference later.
You never know when you will come back to your idea. Annotating additional details will help you pick up where you left off. Adding context will also help you make connections for new ideas.
#3 - Collect ideas you find interesting by sketching them or taping them into your sketchbook for reference.
Ideas come in all shapes, sizes, and materials. Having a central place for all your ideas is a great way to access them when you need to. To record your ideas, you can sketch them, cut out ideas from magazines, or print out screenshots from your computer. Remember to annotate your ideas!
#4 - Improve your skills and gain confidence by consistently sketching ideas in your sketchbook.
The compounded benefits of small actions done consistently provide large gains over a short period of time. The more you sketch the faster you will be able to get your ideas out and validated.
#5 - Embrace the roughness of your sketches.
Sketching is about having the right conversations, not the sketches themselves. Sketches are meant to be quick, cheap, and rough. They are meant to facilitate the conversations to move the right ideas forward. Bill Buxton, the head of research at Microsoft calls this “Getting the right design”. Remember you’re not making art, your sketching. Your sketches should be easily understood, so they need to be clean and error free but not a project unto itself.
#6 - Use a pen to sketch.
When you use a pen to sketch you will learn to trust your strokes. You can always sketch over your mistakes or get a new piece of paper. Using a pen also prevents you from overthinking. It keeps you from erasing your mistakes so you can sketch your ideas faster.
Let’s make sure we keep all the ideas we get no matter how small or big they are. You never know where they will lead to but if you loose them you will never know their possibilities. By incorporating these tips into your design process you will be able to boost your sketching skills and harness the power of sketching to your advantage.
Want to share sketching tips for part two of this article? Share them in the comments below.
Have a wonderful week and remember to carry your sketchbook and pen with you.