Being inspired by Apple's design, I came across some of Jony Ive's earlier work, and noticed he produced these drawings-- I have seen their 'style' before and it seems like industrial/product designers adhere to this style, if that's in fact what it is.

If it is a style and not just my perception, what is the classification of this type of style?

For context, compare the bottom two images done by Ive with the screengrab of the concept motorbike(?) seen on fiftythree's Paper app media page: http://www.fiftythree.com/paper

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2 Answers 2


This is called Marker Rendering, is a sketching technique to present design ideas. It's a very common presentation technique used by any designer attending early stages of design, arts or architecture school. It is also used by professionals that become masters at this technique. This skill kills any computer aided illustration technique, becuase is ten times faster. And if you are a master on this techinique you can perfom it in front of the customer and blow away his mind. For this, you need Color Markers, there are many brands, but plain and simple - there are Chartpak AD markers, and then all of the other brands.

Note: But seeing the link you shared, I can say that computer aided sketching techniques have become re-thinked. Nice app!! I must try it.

Appreciate this: Photorealism. This is made with Acrylic Paint.

  • 1
    Good answer! Technically, I'd say the type of drawing is a conceptual sketch done in the style or method of marker rendering. But I'm being nit picky. :)
    – DA01
    Jan 11, 2014 at 7:56
  • Thanks for the response, and yes Paper is an awesome app-- it is a free-hand app (you can get their pencil hardware) but I guess the artist who created that did it free hand as well.
    – GPP
    Jan 11, 2014 at 21:12

Martz has a good answer. Give him the credit. To add some more details, however:

I'd say that particular type of drawing is a hand drawn conceptual sketch. The idea is to show the rough concepts of a product's design. Usually its form, along with surface decoration (colors, textures, etc.)

The style it is done in as a marker rendering. Specifically the large swashes of color.

The drawing itself, however, may use many different tools. Typically there's a rough pencil sketch to start, then followed by an ink pen or a fine pointed marker, then the broad blended color markers, and then the final highlights--such as the white reflected highlights--which are done with a paint pen (or paint, or white out).

If you went to art school prior to...oh...the mid '90's I suppose, marker rendering was likely a required course for anyone going into the design programs. I don't know if that's still the case anymore.

This type of drawing was common in the industrial design world--which Ive came from.

For whatever particular reason, other design disciplines have traditionally had slightly different styles. Architects did a lot of watercolor. Graphic Designers did a lot with colored pencils (now that I'm saying this, I'm beginning to wonder why that was, but I digress...)

Anyhow, these days--regardless of one's design discipline--most stuff is done on computers. For better and worse. The worse part is that a lot of the warmth and spontaneity was sucked out of drawings. However, within the past decade, lots of computer software has brought the analog back and I think the Paper App is a great example of that. It's a digital product that let's you use the traditional tools to get that nice hand made look. Which certainly resonates with clients in a much different way. (I'd note that Autocad has been doing a lot with this as well...many of their desktop architectural software products and mobile sketching apps now emphasize the analog style).

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