Questioning the Cult of the Sketch

"Designers must draw. We pretty much all agree on that one. Regardless of whether we're designing buildings, products, clothes or even web pages, a good number of us are judged--and judge each other--on our ability to snag a sheet of paper from the printer and quickly draft something beautiful and compelling.

This makes sense if you examine the history of these professions. Until the advent of desktop CAD, being a designer or architect meant being a draftsman too, for some or all of your career. The daily impression of pen on paper lent itself to the building of visual eloquence, and more importantly a lasting professional culture of valuing that eloquence.

In light of this culture, it's surprising to look back on the work of great designers of the early and mid 20th century and realize that what's usually depicted is the product itself..."