Sketches are primarily used by designers as a method of realising ideas or concepts. They are often hand drawn, quickly produced (in seconds) and cost-effective within a new product development process. Sketches can be used within an on-going dialogue as a focus for the conversation. A combination of words, diagrams, illustrations and flow arrows can provide a cost-effective way of enabling all within a group to receive the same message about a new product or service’s attributes.

Sketches can also be used to:

  • Record an event or phenomenon (Task analysis, ethnography);
  • Record a place (archaeological reference);
  • Communicate a specific statement that is technical (engineering drawing convention, circuit diagram) or descriptive (proportion /scale, shape, texture, colour) to another;
  • Translate an abstract concept (words thoughts) into a realised artefact (object, illustration);
  • Describe to others a mechanism or system with movement or process;
  • Used as part of an on-going formal (to engineering conventions) or informal (descriptive) conversation with others about a requirement or aspiration; and,
  • Act as evidence of decision-making within an audit trail of due care and dates of the generation of intellectual property.

Useful links

Downs, S. 2011. The Graphic Communication Handbook (Media Practice), Routledge,  London.

Duff, L., Sawdon, P., 2008. Drawing: the purpose, Intellect, Bristol. Available at: ( , Accessed: [5/10/2015]