Drawing Out Loud
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For me drawing has at least three forms – as art, capturing the world in self-expression, as information, diagrams, info graphics, IKEA instructions; and as language; a way of communicating, talking with yourself, colleagues and clients; imagining possibilities, visualising the form, detail and potential of things yet to be made.
Product design is a serious commercial business for both the designers and their clients [and ultimately for the people who will use the products]. It asks for creativity on demand, and therefore a process that supports ideas and risk, driven by visualising opportunities, developing practical ideas and presenting innovation; all powered by communicating imagination through drawing.
The drawings are a part of the process, the grunt work of design, rather than an end in themselves. They are usually hidden, often seen only by the design team, kept in portfolios or stored in job bags, as the products they helped shaped are used and enjoyed.
Exhibited they cover a period of rapid technological development. They are of their time and, as such, have some historical significance, but ask any practicing designer and they will tell you that drawing; on scraps of paper, in sketchbooks, on tablets, in the studio, on the sofa or on planes or trains, is still the core of designing.
This is the moment when ideas begin to become shared visions of the future.
Sketchbooks are generally a personal activity, an emptying of your ideas onto paper, talking to yourself [often out loud]. Development drawings are a communal, studio enterprise taking chosen ideas collectively towards a potential reality. Visuals are used to present a considered concept to a wider audience for reaction and input.
The drawings are from an archive from the various incarnations of Raffo Design and are destined to be used for research and as a resource for the University. I hope they explain the level of thought, skill, work and detail involved in the design process captured in the language of drawing.
They are all working drawings, a means not an end and are from many hands as well as my own. I am very grateful to Graham Boyd, Rebecca Falcon, Neil Clark, Grant Purvis and the many others; designers and students, who contributed to the business as they passed through in their careers.