Shut Up And Sketch It — SUASI

Get your ideas out of your head and on paper ✍

In a team meeting earlier this year my team and I met for eight hours straight! It was crunch time. We needed to find a design direction to pursue so we stayed over and talked through it. After eight hours we finally landed on a design that we wanted to explore and left for the night. However, as I got in my car and drove home I realized that I still was a bit fuzzy on the exact direction we had agreed on. I didn’t feel confident that we were on the same page.

We met the next day and it turned out that we weren’t on the same page. We had spent so much time talking the night before that we all had different interpretations of what the design goals were. We had agreed on a direction but everyone had a slightly different idea of what that was. It was clear we had a communication problem.

When reflecting on this experience after the project was over we realized that we had spent most of the eight hours talking. We talked and talked. However, nobody was able to explain their ideas in a way that allowed everyone to get on the same page because it was all abstract ideas inside our own heads. We had wasted precious time talking to on another trying to describe our own ideas to one another. Instead we should have shut up, quit talking, and sketched down our thoughts.

Sketching helps you communicate ideas to your team members easier and faster than trying to describe it verbally. Drawing a simple sketch on a piece of paper or whiteboard cuts through the noise and confusion often generated by talking to one another. When you shut up and sketch it down somewhere everyone is able to see your abstract ideas in front of them and work from that point together. A sketch is a talking point. You can waste precious time talking about ideas in the abstract. Get it down on paper and out of your mind. Sketching helps you think through your ideas. Get it out in front of everyone and use that as the reference so everyone stays on the same page.

As designers, it’s important to just shut up and sketch it instead of talking so much. Lesson learned 😊


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