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Napkins Are Your Friend

If you are a designer like myself, your mind is always running, searching and evaluating ideas. Many times we find ourselves at lunch or dinner situations with potential clients, account peers or creative colleagues and we need the means to visualize an idea. Enter the handy-dandy napkin! Many ideas have spawned on this fast food ephemeral doily. Epiphanies happen on the fly. We can never accurate plan for our next epiphany. The lesson here is that nearly any surface (preferably paper) will do. I often use whatever is at my disposal – napkins, envelopes, junk mail, etc. The real key is to get the idea down in a tangible form. You can always return to the idea later when you have access to better tools, templates or sketchbooks. Another key takeaway with this post is that you still apply the same discipline and techniques, regardless of the surface or material. Use dark (black) pens, committed lines, straight strokes (no sketchy-sketch lines), indicate display text with the consistent squiggle marks, and no erasing. Practicing the techniques (see videos) will transform you into a human plotter, and you’ll be kicking out killer sketches, whether you have an expensive sketchbook or a simple napkin from McDonalds.

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