The Power Of The Pencil

In our technology obsessed world it’s crucial that we don’t forget the importance of the human creative process. As a design agency, PW lives or dies based on our ideas and our ability to execute them. Those ideas quite literally come from our pencils and the importance of this cannot be overstated. It is therefore Senior Designer Emma Gullick’s responsibility to introduce The Power of the Pencil…

By focusing on the power of the pencil we’re going back to basics. Every good design idea starts with a sketch, which comes from a very human place, rather than a digital one. When designers are drawing things and building prototypes, it’s much more creative than just relying on a computer for your design. Of course, there are clever things you can do with a computer, but the actual idea must come from something that isn’t digital at all. You cannot use software to give you the idea, it has to come out in a very emotive way.

If you rush the part with the pencil then you will lose a lot of design integrity. There are designers who will skip that bit of the process, they’ll draw something really quickly, just so that it can be put it straight into a computer, to see what it looks like. When you work in that way you won’t have the opportunity to discover a lot of your best ideas. You start thinking about how you’re going to use technology to make a design, rather than how to make the best design for the available technology. It’s a subtle but vital difference.

A lot of people forget about the power of the pencil. They’re so focused on the end goal that the actual means of idea generation is forgotten. It’s almost impossible to sit down, have one great idea and develop it into a whole concept. During the first stage, when you’re creating with a pencil, you might have ten ideas – nine of those won’t be good enough to develop, but one of them will be a winner. Those other ideas might have triggered that winning thought and have progressed in a way that wouldn’t be possible if we didn’t carry out that initial human stage.

So you can’t get to the digital design without the pencil. Digital technology should be being used to enhance the design, but that only comes after the human aspect has been applied. Any idea, space, brand strategy or design concept can’t get anywhere without somebody first picking up a pencil. It’s physically impossible to do so.


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