Category Archives: Preliminary Work

Hand-Sketching: Things You Didn’t Know Your Doodles Could Accomplish



Is sketching by hand more than a nostalgic activity? How is paper any different from a screen, especially when hardware is becoming more and more sophisticated? Is improving your hand-sketching skills really worthwhile when high-tech software is advancing every day? What difference can a pencil possibly make?

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Steps to Arrive at a Great Design

“One does not simply arrive at a great design, it is developed through hard work.”

Described bellow is the process (though simplified) one must take to arrive at a great design. I am using the examples of 25 year old French designer & typographer, Claire Coullon to show & help explain the process.


Take the time to concept out different approaches to the design problem. In Claire’s case below, she “developed three variations that looked at different extremes between relatively restrained sans serif types and more decorative brush scripts.” This process allows one to focus on the many different solutions to a problem, rather than focusing on the first solution that came to mind. This also points out the vastly important need to have an effective brainstorming session, either with yourself or with other creatives.

Revisions & Adjustments

Now is the time to focus on the solutions that are working the best. These solutions should be the most effective answer to the posed design problem. Claire, “narrowed the logo down to two versions…” I have found at this point, refining your ideas down to the top 2 allows you to shift the focus from different answers, to making those answers better & more effective.

Notice the difference from Claire’s roughs above, to her tight roughs below. She has taken the time to specify what is working and what’s not working. This allows her to see the best & worst of both concepts and refine those into a finished logo.

Final Logo

Notice that Claire’s design was not finished after the tight roughs, it was still refined and tweaked to make it better. By utilizing this simple process of 1.) Development 2.) Revisions & Adjustments 3.) Final Logo a design can arrive at a great design with confidence that the solution presented is the best answer to the design problem. There are many solutions to design problems, however if we learn how others solve problems and use their methods in our design process, we to can help our clients in the best possible way. We can help them not only receive a great design, but we can help them receive an effective design. Design is not simply about creating beautiful things, but about solving our client’s design problems.

See more of Claire’s work on both her portfolio & dribbble page.

Preliminary Work is Necessary!

In the Graphic Design program at SLCC, tight preliminary work is required. Students who spend more time solving problems in the beginning of the design process are much more successful in completing work in a computer program. Here are examples of preliminary work from current students and graduates now professionals in the industry.

Cassidy Demkov

AMERICAN CRAFTS: Product Designer & Illustrator for Crate Paper

“Figured I’d give Procreate a try with a few of the sketches I did when I was on vacation. Still figuring it out but here’s the first thing I actually finished.”

“The pattern sketch vs. the final 12×12 paper pattern.”

Amber Giles

SLCC: Institutional Marketing Graphic Designer

“Advice often shared with me by my mother.”

Melissa Healy Turner

Freelance Illustrator

“Practicing emotions for my Illustrating Children’s Books class.” 🤨😠

Some different facial expressions of Squirrel, for my Illustrating Children’s Book Class.” ☺️😔🤔

“This week for my Illustrating Children’s Book Class, we focused on poses. So here’s Squirrel doing some different things.”