think with your pencil
finding unique design solutions through human-centered, tactile problem-solving
In our current digital age, there is a virtually unlimited library of visual resources that can serve as convenient design solutions. The Internet is filled with un-vetted design appropriation which can result in students’ lack of unique creative problem-solving. With unending design tutorials, blogs, and inspiration sites, there is less creative thinking taking place. Creative processes have evolved with a stronger focus on final results and production rather than original exploration and “hands-on” development. When asked, students often replied that they lacked opportunities to explore sketching as a developed skill due to time restraints and polished, realistic expectations (Jonson). With this switch we see a lack of tactile problem-solving, and, in turn, a decline in creative thinking, a degeneration of the creative process, and a loss of originality in design solutions.
Through the past few decades, the educational system has seen an increase in technology, yet a decrease in hand skill. Many designers believe(d) their educational and professional experiences of drawing greatly contributed to their store of visual memory and their visual literacy. This influenced their capacity to see appropriate visual references for particular jobs, and also their responsiveness to sources of inspiration (Schenk 102). The goal of this research is to better understand the creative process and how technology can advance graphic design when used in tandem with human-centered, tactile problem-solving.
This study will explore ways to help designers understand the power of human-centered interaction, develop physical tools and practices, and reemphasize those practices into their exploration and creative processes. Thinking with one’s hands has many benefits—creativity, holistic and cognitive development, retention, and, in most cases, self-respect. Research indicates that physically sketching with a pencil and paper enables designers to explore ideas freely without limitations or boundaries in the early stage of design (Lipson and Shpitalni 2000). Drawing enables multiple ways of processing material through visualization—figuring out how to draw by visualizing the idea, experiencing the physicality of seeing that idea come to life, then assessing the successfulness of the solution (Stillman).