Using Sharpies For Ideation

By September 21, 2012Usability

I’ve started using fat-tipped Sharpies for ideation. Granted, there are many uses for Sharpies. But using a Sharpie for sketching out ideas, design, and workflow keeps it real without getting too wrapped up in the details. Plus, they smell good (just kidding).

I wish I could take credit for the idea, but I have to give credit where credit’s due.  I read about it in Jason Fried’s blog post a few years back. He was mostly referring to using a Sharpie in the context of web design and user interfaces.

I’m a long-time follower of Jason Fried’s company, 37signals. For those of you who don’t yet know 37signals they’re a hugely successful small software company. Jeff Bezos is their advisor.

Because of his overwhelming success and unconventional approach to design, Fried has become a popular speaker and book publisher. He offers cogent advice about how to bootstrap a successful business. And he’s not just blowing smoke. His company is killing it.

Anyway, one of the tips Jason promotes is to use a fat-tipped Sharpie to sketch out designs and ideas. He siggests that the lack of detail will help deter you from becoming myopic with the details. Rather, you’ll stay more focused on the distilled essence of the design and therefore accelerate your design or re-work process.

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