Get our posts emailed to you with our monthly newsletter, subscribe here.

I would class sketching as a tool, just as I would with Photoshop, Fireworks or any other app I use to help me create the finished product. For me, Sketching is an essential part of the design workflow that would make up a majority of projects.

As a tool, sketching is often the first thing I utilise during a project workflow, its use will vary depending on the project type, time restraints and your own workflow preference.

The Benefits Of Sketching

The role of sketching out ideas and mockups onto paper is essentially a personal choice, some people prefer to flesh out ideas and concepts with pen and paper whilst some people head directly into Photoshop or their code editor and simply start building from the concept they have in their head.

There is no right or wrong with either method, it is entirely your preference. I personally find sketching works for me and is a huge benefit both to my projects and clients.

Putting Ideas And Concepts To Paper

I find rapidly creating basic sketches, notes and concepts for projects helps me enormously as it provides me with direction and keeps me focused on the key concepts of the project.

By Sketching out designs and page layouts I am able to quickly get many ideas and concepts out of my head and onto paper.

This has a huge benefit in the long run as I am able to experiment with the various sketches and gradually rule out what works and what doesn’t, essentially keeping the project time down and avoiding the all to common creativity burnout syndrome.


Saving You Time & Improving The Finished Product

Without initial sketching I have found it all too easy to go straight into Photoshop or a code editor and endlessly play around with one often useless idea, only to loose focus of what the initial project brief is actually about and loose countless hours.

For me, spending time this way was simply inefficient, both in terms of cost and at the expense of the finished project.

Sketches Are Great Portfolio Additions

Keeping a sketchbook of your designs is a great addition to your portfolio, showing a finished product on your portfolio is often made more interesting by showing the process you used to create it.

Showing the projects life cycle from sketches to wireframes, to the code process to project completion is a great way to show how you work and the quality and value you can bring to a prospective clients project.

Improved Client Relationship & Communication

If your working on a project that requires regular client approval or communication, providing your client with your design sketches can help provide you with valuable direction and feedback.

A client will be able to quickly say what they like and dislike and this will save you countless hours, you will end up with a finished product that the client is happy with and one that they feel they have contributed to also.


Tools For Sketching Your Web Designs

When sketching I use an Action Method Dot Grid Book, the quality of the book is insane and it comes with me to every client meeting and has a place at my desk everyday, the Dot Grid Book uses 80lb Premium Blend paper with a dot matrix guide which is super handy when sketching and doodling.

Action Method Dot Grid Book

Action Method Dot Grid Book

Before And After – From Sketch To Final Product

Mike - Creative Mints


Mike - Creative Mints

Sean McCabe

Joachim Vu

Awesome Examples Of Design Sketches

Eddie Lobanovskiy


Mike - Creative Mints

Jackie Tran

Andrey Maxim

Kerem Suer

Damian Hernandez

Posted by David Martin

David Martin is a WordPress developer & entrepreneur from the UK. He owns DesignWoop, CardDsgn and WhoDesignToday. Catch up with David on Twitter.


  1. Yes, i’m still using sketching to create a logo until now. it’s help me explore more shapes rather than using a software.
    Great article.

  2. I would never dream of starting a site design without sketching it with pen and paper first. Photoshop is good to get the color palate, and get a rough idea, but I don’t finesse it to death. Once I’ve got the big details out of the way, that’s when I hit the code editor and get granular.

  3. I would certainly class my pen and notebooks as essential tools, but I consider the act of sketching more of a technique or process.

    The subtle but crucial difference is that you can have the best tools in the business, but without technique you’re not going to get much out of it.

  4. I totally agree that starting a project without a single sketch is probably the best way to loose your track and consume extra time (and creativity).

    I would suggest, though, that posts like this would also show bad sketches, you know, the ones from people who like (and benefit from) sketching but do it horribly. You know, bad looking sketches can still became great products ;)

  5. A lovely post. I find myself trying to remind myself to start with the pencil.

    Like most people, I am rushing through jobs but skipping sketching often is the first mistake.

Comments are closed.