When you are initially drafting the design for something, do you usually start from the paper first and draw thumbnails of the design, or straight on the computer first?

  • I think this is off-topic -- if you're asking "Which should I do?" then it's too subjective, and if you're just polling users then I don't think that fits in with the purpose of the site. Jan 8 '11 at 4:07
  • 2
    Is this a duplicate of graphicdesign.stackexchange.com/questions/99/… ? I'd definitely say that if this was first and the other second, they are duplicates, but I'm not sure the other way around... Jan 8 '11 at 5:27
  • 1
    I agree with @Matthew because it's too broad and subjective in its current form. There are valid, speficic variations of this question but as it stands, I vote for closing
    – Pekka
    Jan 8 '11 at 11:25
  • 1
    To me it is not the same question, it shouldn't be close. The other question is saying "if you use Photoshop, are you a designer or not?" and this one instead is asking "do use paper or software for draft your graphic?"
    – Littlemad
    Jan 10 '11 at 0:01

There 3 ways to work:

  1. starting on paper
  2. starting using the software
  3. starting directly on the code (for web designer projects. There are people that are suggesting to start directly to code and not lose time in prototyping)

There is no good way or bad way, it is mostly habits on which way it is the best to help you to juice out your brainstorming process. I did all 3 above for example.

I personally slightly more prefer to take pencil/or thick pen and paper when I start a project, because it is quicker to sketch on a paper doodles, and erase or pass to the next page to make it real my visual thinking (before I forget).

Many times when I am building/composing my sketches I realise that things don't work, and I carry on on the software or on the code directly to fix the matter.

But above all those things when I start on a project, I do visual research, and this it is the real first step of any design action. Look for competitors, look for similar product or look for things that you like, even just portion of it. From those, I get my inspiration.


For websites, I usually start in Balsamiq, Fireworks, or Photoshop.

For logos or non-web-related graphics, I usually start on paper.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.