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Week 5.

The Notebook

A Donut by Kylie on 8 February

Firstly, apologies for the late post. It was entirely my fault. I blame uncooperative SD cards and foolishy having no backup plan.

In other news, I’m happy to report that the week that just flew by was a good week! So good in fact, that I don’t have much to report besides that it’s been nice to look back each week and organise my thoughts into what I hope is a coherent written reflection. It forces me to think clearly about where I’ve succeeded and where I’ve fallen short. The result of this being that I’ve started to progress through my weeks with a mini-plan or a mini-goal — “Be more productive”, “Try to do first and think later”, “Break down all of your tasks” etc. In short, this is helping.


In my post last week I wrote this comment: “Why are my sketches so messy?”. In my second week I wrote about sharing. This week I got to the end of one of my notebooks. So, with not a lot to report and a whole lot to share I thought I’d share a quick flip through. My notebook is messy, doesn’t contain any of those sketches you see in fancy flip throughs like this and it definitely doesn’t include any speccy refined wireframes (sadly). What it does include, however, is a large and important portion of my messy but very useful design process.

In this messy flip through you will most likely spot:

  • Word association lists: This gets me thinking on the right track when I first come in contact with a brief or if I’m stuck.
  • Obscure illustrations: If I’m feeling fatigued, need to kick start my ‘creativity’ or simply take a break, I’ll doodle something quickly. This usually helps me get out of any funk I’m in at the time. My drawings are usually of crazy looking dudes or half-animal or half-human creatures. I have no idea why.
  • Writing. Lots of writing: When I’m trying to clarify my thinking I’ll write a lot of stuff down. Sometimes it’s a direct copy of an email and sometimes it’s me just writing my thoughts.
  • (Messy) Sketches: This notebook isn’t my only source of scribble; I also sketch in a much bigger book with more space. However, if I’m quickly trying out ideas I’ll jot them down in here to remember them.
  • (Messy) Wireframes: While I have refined wireframes in places other than my notebook, during the actual production stage, I’ll find that sometimes I need to tweak some layouts. I’ll quickly draw out my ideas in the form of mini-wireframes. This saves a ton of time and I don’t have to fiddle around with drawing tools in Photoshop.
  • Me writing my name over and over again in different hand writing: When I was a kid I used to change the style of my handwriting almost weekly. I used to practice by writing words over and over again. I don’t think the obsession has ever died so I think this is why I do this, but it also helps in the same way taking a break to draw helps.

Anyway, see for yourself…

If you’re having trouble viewing the video, you can watch it directly on Youtube.

I’m really not sure if anyone will find this particularly useful, but I do know that I love seeing the way other people work. It’s also interesting to note that a process shot I once posted on Dribbble is one of my most popular shots. If all posting this video does is make someone else feel better about their chaos, then I’m happy.

This week's donut?

Silly as it may sound, I used to have a hard time dealing with how messy and chaotic my sketching looked in comparison to the crazy neat sketchbooks and notebooks of other designers. In the past year I've kind of come to embrace and be proud of my own style of ideation. It works for me, and that's all that should really matter.

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