Call us ‘old school’ if you must, but even with the latest Adobe Creative Suite at our disposal we often still present initial ideas back to clients with the help of hand-drawn sketches (a.k.a. scamps).
They can be loose black-and-white scribbles or more finished drawings shaded with tones of grey, but the key is that the focus remains squarely on the idea, rather than its execution.
From video storyboards to ad concepts the drawings don’t need to show every minute detail: this would be an exhaustive task at the concept stage. Personally, I find that a sketch that sums up the key elements, accompanied by a descriptive note and reference images from the web suggesting visual styling fits the bill. After years of experimentation this seems just the right mix to convey thinking.
So what are the benefits for clients? We’ve found that by using sketches you can:
Creative teams are freed from searching for the ideal image or typeface so can quickly generate and review a greater volume of ideas. This helps eliminate so-so routes sooner and arrive at a better result.
A blank canvas can be daunting but is liberating when it comes to new ideas. Drawing is closer to thinking, meaning the work isn’t held back by which elements are available or what’s gone before.
On a purely practical level it’s usually much easier (and faster) to amend a sketch than to manipulate a multi-layered Photoshop document or complex Illustrator file.
No-one has to buy stock imagery to create comps that are unlikely to see the light of day. And, by nailing down the central concept, photographers, 3D artists and animators are more likely to get it right first time, avoiding the expense of false starts.
Creative people tend to be visual animals: a sketch or series of drawings serves as a more stimulating brief for production or roll-out teams than a dry written Word document.
It’s important to point out that this approach doesn’t suit everyone: it requires the confidence from creative people to set aside their MacBooks and dust-off the skills they honed back at art college.
And it also calls on account teams and clients alike to be able to look past what’s in front of them and imagine how great the end result will be.
Footnote: Of course, sometimes original hand-drawn elements make it through to the final work. Take our recent piece about Cleantech for example. Even though it was created for digital channels such as LinkedIn and Instagram it used stylized pen-and-ink sketches, helping the content stand out against current illustration trends.
For a quick outline of how our creativity can help your brand contact the Emberson team at firstname.lastname@example.org