The graphic design course blog for
HND Visual Communication at Edinburgh College

Some Advice on Sketching

1 November 2010

Michael Beirut's Notebooks

Our NC groups are now three projects into their course, and are starting to get the message - a good sketchbook is the holy grail of the design process.

At any given time, there can between 40 and 50 sketchbooks lying around in the studio, and the Design Team is looking at digitising selections of all our HND student's sketchbooks. Currently, these documents of the inner workings of a designer's mind are lost to us once the class has graduated and left for pastures new.

Which reminds me of a nice article by the American designer and critic, Michael Beirut, on the importance of sketching, and why sketchbooks should be archived.

Beirut has archived 26 years' worth of his sketchbooks - 85 books so far and still counting. Looking back through them, he hits upon two revelations that shouldn't surprise many designers, and which offer up some good advice -

1) a lot of good design ideas originate at the very beginning of a project


2) a lot of ideas are 'so simple and dumb that a simple dumb drawing is all it takes to describe them'.