Kevin Dench

Tweak your Ideas, Even if it Hurts

Written by , posted on 18 Sep, 2015

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Thomas Edison, as we know, invented the lightbulb.

Said Edison, “If I find 10,000 ways something won’t work, I haven’t failed. I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward.”


This iconic invention didn’t happen on the first try.


The lightbulb was an iconic invention. Edison had to work through the problems he was having creating the filament of his creation, just as a designer needs to sketch to work through potential designs. Even senior designers rely on this step of the process, arguably more, than the other steps. Sketching isn’t a passive act. You need to draw anything and everything that comes to your mind when thinking about the topic. Even your worst idea can be turned into a great idea with the right tweaking; just tweak your ideas until it hurts. There are literally endless possibilities for final design solutions.

There are lots of ways to accomplish this. If you are having “designer’s block” and can’t think of what to sketch, then draw from life. Make a logo sketch of your favorite chair, your computer mouse, your shoe—anything. Try to get your creative juices kickstarted. Ultimately you’re trying to come up with solutions that you will be happy to show the client. Consistently challenge your designs. It is usually a good idea to narrow it down to three sketches, the best three directions. You don’t want to show your client pages of sketches and run the risk of either them choosing a poor direction design-wise, or having them feel overwhelmed.

These sketches should be your “failed inventions” so-to-speak. You must think critically about your sketches. So the more you make the more ground you’ll cover and the more progress you’ll gain.

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