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How to Analyze Your Sketchbook (to Grow Design Results)

By Maria Lorena Lehman — Get more articles like this sent to your email HERE.

Image Credit: © FancyCrave1 | Pixabay

SHIFTING PARADIGMS

Look at your notes, diagrams, and sketches in your journal for the past year. How do these come together to yield your results? To start your analysis, look for patterns. For example, do you write about the same topics over and over again? And is this reflecting in your design work? If you default to the same design paradigm without deepening your insight from project to project, then you likely need to inject a catalyst that will prompt deeper thinking; and thus, designing.

EXPANDING BOUNDARIES

It is also important to ensure that your design work is "true" to your sketchbook ideas and visions. If not, how can you upgrade your design work to be better aligned with what your sketchbook reveals? This step in analyzing your sketchbook may call for a broader assessment of your design results. In other words, does your design project outcome fall short of your initial sketchbook vision for a given project? Or do your outcomes surpass your initial vision. If the answer is the former, then it is time to gain greater mastery during the design process. However, if the answer is the latter, then finding ways to push your initial design vision further will help to challenge your design process to help you take it to its next level of success.

YOUR THINKING PLACE

Finally, is your sketchbook lacking or non-existent? Having a sketchbook (whether it is made of a physical paper book or a digital sketch system) is a place to think (to really think). Because of this, a sketchbook system is an invaluable way to grow the quality of work. This can be achieved by setting up a sketchbook curriculum for yourself, where you give yourself space and time to deeply explore your designs, your client presentations, your building occupants, and your overarching design philosophy.

Your sketchbook holds a world of useful insight that you can use to push your design process even further. Thinking is a critical part of design, and a sketchbook helps you to unlock how you can exponentially improve your own design thinking. How do you use your sketchbook to design? What pages are your favorite? And how can you strengthen your sketchbook system?

A sketchbook is the place where visions are born, grown, and deepened. Be strategic with how you use yours to design environments. This intentionality will make your design outcomes even more poetic.

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NEXT STEP: YOUR DESIGN PARADIGM SHIFT

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Maria: I came across your website through a reference in today's Architect Weekly ezine and am delighted I did. I'll bookmark your site and check back often. I read the first article and then the second and thirty minutes later realized how much time had passed. I've been practicing for thirty years and have always missed the stimulation of academia. I find each of your brief dissertations sort of like a day in design studio. Thanks for the inspiration.

Ron Ward
AI Group Design
I am excited to see you touch a vein of values in architecture, I have been chasing myself for years. Your depth of involvement in these very deep subjects is really beautiful and passionately dealt with and well written. Sound, color and value, shape, texture, scale, smell.... all definitive measures of the spaces we should be alert to. [...] I will savor the rest of your investigation of sensuality in architecture. I'm Glad I found you.

Dennis McLaughlin
McLaughlin Architect
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Maria Lorena Lehman is a multi award-winning visionary author, designer, and educator from the United States. Maria holds a Bachelor of Architecture with Honors from Virginia Tech and a Master in Design with Distinction from Harvard University Graduate School of Design. CLICK HERE to learn more.

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