Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Sketch vs CAD-If you are ever curious about what Industrial Designers are viewing online, the view stats on the videos on my youtube account show no doubt- Sketching wins hands down- a 2:1 walloping in some cases. This has always been a interesting factoid to me- given the amount of time I slog in CAD. Also when putting together training sessions with schools, a sketch presentation seems to generate far more visceral excitement. Is this simply a function of in-house design vs consulting?

Typically the farther into a project the exponentionally greater is the stamina required- you get pounded on the details from tooling, mech engg, marketing and the normal bunch of crazies. Unless the designer is embedded you dont get to participate in these scrums.
I would be the first to tell you that sketching is one of the super-weapons at my disposal, especially at meetings when the rest of the team has a hard time jotting down visual suggestions- but I have been trying to figure out the most ninja ways to use my tools- most bang for least effort, and it seems to be at odds with what the profession at large thinks.

I notice that with certain Engineering teams that are evaluated on throughput, they have less tolerance for potentially awesome but risky ideas, simply because it takes more time. I wonder if sketching is so highly valued in the profession because many consultancies are involved in the initial phases of a project and the great ideas are handed over to the internal teams to further develop. Internal teams rarely if ever advertise. They are tied up by so many NDAs you only know of their existence from job postings or design awards. Consultancies on the other hand are compelled to talk of their projects at every opportunity. They control the evaluation metrics so to speak, and I wonder if tools such as breadboard prototyping, CAD and model making are not proportionally valued as a result.

PS: This is my subjective view into the ID industry. Please comment if this resonates with you, or if you have had an opposite experience

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