Sketching is an interesting, yet a powerful element of graphic designing process. To put it correctly, sketching can be termed as ‘the mother of graphic arts’. Nowadays, the general perception about sketching is that it is either a part of initial training given to Fine Arts students or it’s a good hobby for anyone who can draw well. What most of us don’t know (and some of us don’t want to know) is that sketching is almost an inevitable part of graphic designing. Layouts for printed flyers, postcards, and posters can all be improved using sketching.

Some professional designers restrain themselves from sketching, often deliberately seldom, by chance. Reason for deliberate avoidance is that either the designers are too much ‘in the air’ that they consider sketching a freshmen’s way of designing or they are too lazy and don’t bother to make a sketched design before going onto computers. Lack of sketching talent is another reason for not indulging into this practice very often.

Most of the designers have no talent as artists, even though we may be top producing in the field. What all the above-mentioned types of designers don’t understand is that sketching is like a road-map for your journey towards a good design or basic frame on which your great design has to stand. Creativity is slippery and is like a stray animal, wandering in all the nooks and corners of your imagination. For creative thinkers, especially designers, it is important to get hold on their stray creativity. The sole purpose of the sketch is to guide our creative thinking towards our goal and don’t let it slip around in different (unwanted) directions.

I have tried to sum up a few benefits of sketching in the graphic designing process according to my understanding. My purpose is to remind the designer community about the ever so awesome importance of sketching.

Basic Layouting

Sketching is very important for creating the basic layout or composition of your print material. Sketches are also a quick way to create the framework of your design. Sketching for the basic layout is not limited to print ads, brochures, flyers or business cards etc. The practice can also be used in web designing to quickly evaluate the choice of layout that might suit your web.

You can make a series of thumbnail sketches, or they can be larger. Sketch after sketch, once you improve and reach the final and the best layout for your design, you will find yourself sitting at your computer smoothly moving your way towards the final design.

Concept Development

Creativity is risky business and requires to be caged in a concept as soon as you start the brainstorming process. Once you enter the brainstorming process, concepts keep bombarding in your mind and sketching is a great way to catch these concepts on the papers. It is an excellent way to quickly explore concepts and work out multiple interesting solutions to the design problem for your client.

To put it correctly, the design process stats from sketched concepts and both go hand-in-hand till the end result. This is an essential step in the design process. Although, you can create concepts on the computer as well, but sketching on paper is more effective and less complicated and manually it is faster too.

Communicating with Clients

Sketching is the most easy, fast, efficient and cost-effective way of communicating your ideas with your client. Showing sketched concepts and compositions to clients will potentially save you a tremendous amount of time, human resource and money. Basically, your design clients have two basic characteristics, first, they want options and second, they always make changes in what you produce for them till the final approval. Both these requirements can be fulfilled by sketching.

The more detailed your sketching will be the earlier you will get your client’s approval. As mentioned earlier, taking client’s approval on your designs is not limited to your printed material only. Even if you are producing a small animated movie for them or design their website, sketching will aid you in such cases as well. So for better flow of client communication, sketching is of crucial importance.

In-depth Thinking

Creativity is not at all a shallow-thinking process. When you first start brainstorming, there’s a tendency to automatically start coming up with different ideas. Initially these ideas may seem great, but in reality there are greater chances that your first ideas turn out quite obvious. There is no need to worry about it, as it happens to almost creative person.

To rectify this, you need to think beyond those concepts, and once you start thinking deeper than those initial concepts, your actual original concepts begin popping in your mind. Here sketching helps you to think beyond and scratch your creativity till you reach the best. Sketching lets you get all the obvious ideas out of the way, so you can start coming up with stronger, more innovative concepts. Also, you never know what will inspire your client, who knows, it could be one of those obvious sketches you did earlier!


Polishing Solutions

Designing and creativity is a continuous process. It does not stop once you sketch out a great concept. Sketching helps you along the way in refining the initially agreed upon ideas. Basically, when you and your client agree on one idea, then comes execution and during the executing process some unpredictable hurdles come up that prevent your idea from executing. In such circumstances, sketching is the instant and easiest way to find out visual solution for better execution of your ideas.

Also, sometimes it happens that the overall concept and direction of the piece may be working great, but one element does not work out. Often, this can be corrected or improved in further rounds of sketching. Of course, at some point the designer moves to the computer. The process of sketching then moves into digital drafts.

Knowing Your Design

Sketching helps you stay closer to your design right from concept to execution. It gets you in touch with your design work at a whole new level. By spending so much time developing a solid concept through sketching, you have a stronger understanding of the elements of to your design, and you are able to explain it more eloquently to clients and defend it more successfully.

Adding to Portfolio

Sketching can be a fantastic addition to your portfolio. Add your best sketches parallel to their final execution in your portfolio and now sit back and watch yourself landing the job in seconds. Such addition to your portfolio will prove to be an instant element to impress your employer or your client. Sketches in your portfolio also show your dedication in your work and your abilities of visual exploration in multiple fields of design.

Unleashing Your Aesthetics

There is a wide difference between mechanical designers and creative artists and sketching is the most important differentiating point between the two. Creative art designers sketch, mechanical artists don’t and that is why the former surpasses the later in career development and financial affluence.

As soon as you hold a pencil in your hand and start sketching, your creative juices start flowing in a much different way than holding a mouse and sitting on the computer. Sketching gives your aesthetics sense a personal satisfaction of being natural. When you get used to sketching, the movements of your hand become much more fluid and it becomes really easy to design.

Creative Mobility

These days you can take a laptop almost anywhere, but taking a pencil and a sketchbook is even more convenient. You can sit anywhere and work on your design through sketching, which is not quite a possibility in case of computer designing (no matter you use a laptop for that). Outdoors, indoors, working, traveling, wherever you are, you will be exposing yourself to different environments, which will inspire your designs and bring you new ideas to your mind.

Additional Skill

As a designer, the more skill sets you possess, the better it will be for your reputation and prospects. It pays off real good to have a varied skill-set on every platform. A strong ability to sketch will allow you to present your ideas quickly and easily on paper, to yourself, your art director, or to your clients.


It is quite evident that technology rules the world in almost every field of profession. Every other day there are surprising amounts of new technological advancements in computer technology, especially for the designers, and the good old pencil and paper get forgotten. The post will tell you as why you should turn off your computer and go back to the basics for a better design experience.

Remember, sketching does not require a higher talent for drawing with hand. As long as your sketches are good enough that they capture the necessary elements, drawing skill is not so important. Consider using rough sketches for composition or layout options in your next project.

My designer fellows may feel more comfortable to skip sketching in the designing process and jump straight to the computer to work out your solutions as digital sketches. Although there is nothing wrong with that, especially for your own experimental work, however, there is no quicker method for exploring multiple visual solutions than manual sketching. Hand-drawn sketches play an important role in the field of digital arts. The larger a project is, and the more concepts a client will need to see, and so sketching will prove its worth in your design process.