I used to keep a sketch book with me wherever I go in case I have a thought and I need something to write on. I call it “visual diary” because I draw, doodle, brainstorm, jot notes with it. Besides, that’s how we call it when I was in university studying design. It’s not just a sketch book, it contains the visual ideas. We don’t just sketch. We were highly recommended to have one with us any time. I would feel very uncomfortable if I don’t have mine with me. I hate jotting things on a piece of paper, even a scrap paper, then lose it. So, even if I write something on a scrap paper, I’d stick it into my visual diary and extend my thoughts later on. I also stick labels peeled from a banana, just to keep the graphic and text on top of it, a train ticket as a souvenir, or even candy wrapping paper for me to look at the graphic design later on.
Since having a visual diary means lots of visual possibilities, I also introduced that to my students. Some of them make very good use of their visual diary and make it a very enjoyable sketch book to read later on.
Diary? Definitely! I love to work on my “sketch books” every day. When I visited my cousin and the boyfriend in Australia and traveled in Beijing some years ago, I had a whole sketch book for each trip. Although those 2 trips got me 2 small sketch books, they brought me many good memories and ideas for the trip.
Although I don’t draw, doodle, jot notes, … as frequent as I used to be, I still think that drawing on a sketch book is an important process in design. To visualize what is in our mind will make an important and good starting point in our design process, even in our other projects.
Take a look of Daniel Weil´s sketch book for his ideas on his “visual diary”.