How Crafting Aids My Design

10.2.2015 »
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Designers, step away from the computer, ditch Creative Suites, and get your hands dirty. Literally. Go sculpt some clay, sketch with charcoal, finger paint—anything. As creative thinkers, we owe it to ourselves to explore our hand-crafting skills.

Quilled "S&E" craft by one of Sanger & Eby's designers

To most of us, crafting is just a mere image of the past because our job involves so much digital work, but if you stop and take the time to create with your hands, you will gain a whole new perspective on design.

While some people may think crafting is just another DIY project on Pinterest, it’s so much more than that ... it’s a study of play, experimentation, alterations, and individual assessment.

It also teaches you patience and precision, all of which are attributes that make a good designer great. To practice what I preach, I quill when I need a break from the computer. A quick lesson on quilling—quilling is an ornamental craft that involves strips of paper that can be rolled, coiled, etc., with a needle tool and then glued onto a paper surface. This art form traces all the way back to the Renaissance, when French and Italian nuns would quill to decorate book covers and religious items. (Not familiar? Take a gander at my work displayed up top—and down below.)

Close-up view of the quilled letters

For me, quilling has benefitted and challenged my creative thinking a great deal. Because I freestyle all of my quilling, which is enough brain exercise as it is, I have become more familiar with uncertainty so I am forced to take risks in my overall design work. Also, I have to problem solve, a lot. For example, if I don’t like how a squiggle or curl looks next to my other shapes, it’s normally too late to remove (the one downside of fast drying glue).

I have to work with my mistake, whereas on the computer, I can simply hit undo.

Overall, there are many more benefits to crafting. So use your hands. Whatever medium you decide on, your brain will thank you and it just might pay off on your next design project.

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