Sketches classification

There are different kind of sketches in the design process. All focussing on a different goal and purpose in the following pages we’ll look further into these different types of sketches.


Ideation sketches is not about shape and form. It’s more about understanding the assignment. What does the client want? Who’s it for? What are my resources? What does it need to do? Examining the problem space, analyzing the context. These ideation sketches consist of doodels and text. It’s not that important that these sketches communicate ideas to others. The purpose is to translate the assignment in your ‘words’. These sketches are used to structure and understand a problem.


Explorative sketches are probably the most fun type of sketches. Many design proposals are generated and evaluated. These sketches are produced in large quantities. They are often very rough and do seldom make sense for others than the people directly involved in the design process. Important here is to grasp the overall idea and not to get lost in details.


Explanatory sketches are the next step in the research stage of the design process. The amount of these type of sketches is less than the previous type of sketches. Explanatory sketches are created to explain function, structure and form. They communicate a design in a clear and neutral manner, focusing more on explaining the idea rather than selling it. Explanatory sketches must be readable to other people then those involved in the design process. The first feedback from the client usualy happens after reviewing these sketches.


Persuasive sketches are drawn to influence the audience and to sell the design concept. Some designer tend to use a CAD-program in this stage of the design process rather then sketching the product. Although many people find that sketches have certain invaluable and exclusive characteristics, such as expression and artistic flair which can be difficult to achieve in 3D renderings. Unfortunately this booklet will not focus on these type of sketches Because  knowledge of more advanced sketching and rendering techniques are used to create persuasive sketches.


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