Connor Sears is a software designer based in San Francisco, CA.

Sketch smaller

I love sketching. While it’s fantastic for working through ideas and brainstorming, I’ve grown especially fond of sketching tiny (2” x 2”) sketches for just about anything I do.

They’re versatile

Whether you are working on wireframes or hifi visual designs, these sketches help get you moving in the right direction extremely fast. For wireframes I usually just stick to basic shapes that help me think through where the main bits of content will live. By sketching out 5 or 10 screens in an app, you can quickly formulate simple layout patterns that help the site feel cohesive.

When it comes to visual design, I tend to explore more specific shapes and elements in the sketches. They aren’t too detailed but many times I arrive at visual solutions by sketching that I’d never reach otherwise.

They’re quick

Don’t like the direction? Good you only spent 20 seconds on it and you can move on to the next one.

In fact, the most important aspect of sketching is not so much making marks on paper, but rather being able to run through ideas quickly, with little cost. – Khoi Vinh

If you’re not working through at least 10, 20, 30 ideas before reaching your final solution, you’re probably leaving a lot of opportunity on the table.

They’re disposable

These sketches are wonderful for quickly giving your gut just enough to know if an idea is worth exploring or not. While they might not be detailed, they give you a quick read on the balance of the layout and the very simplistic grid.

I’ve also found these to be great tools for helping another team members jump start their process. I can’t remember how many times these little sketches have helped give another team member multiple directions in mere minutes. The direction might not be fully realized, but the sketches are just enough to get them going.

If you’re not sketching regularly, you’re doing yourself a great injustice. Try to keep a pen and paper around you at all times! You never know when you need to test out a new idea.