Marking and making : a characterisation of sketching for typographic design

Hewson, Rachel (1995). Marking and making : a characterisation of sketching for typographic design. PhD thesis The Open University.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.21954/ou.ro.0000dc86

Abstract

This research rests on the premise that sketching in paper and pencil is crucial for typographic designers when designing documents. The aim has been to derive a characterisation of the salient aspects of sketching, through an ethnographically-oriented study of designers' use of paper and pencil. The people studied were professional typographic designers, but both the motivations for the research and the characterisation deriving from it relate to other design disciplines, notably industrial and engineering design and architecture. The goal was to identify the underlying functionality supported by sketching, in order to inform the design of future tools for document creation. The characterisation is presented as a framework, with seven main categories: visual characteristics of marks; basic semantic units of design; visual features of sketches; visual and tactile features of sheets of sketches; affordances of sketching; functionality required to support sketching; capacities of the traditional medium. The first four categories deal with the visual qualities of sketches, such as image quality within the line and recurring features in sketches such as different scale, closure, and degree of detail. The functions supported by sketching are suggested to be: interpretability, focus, comparison, simulation of experience, ideas capture and record making. The functionality identified as necessary to support sketching includes the appropriate speed of image generation, image emergence, image manipulation, and image capture and record making. Also necessary are high speed and ease of switching between all the strands mentioned above, and singularity of focus. The supportive capacities of the traditional medium include a rich vocabulary of marks, high image definition, and the continuum-of-activity through the continuity-at-medium, i.e. the natural progression from sketching on paper to making simulations out of paper. In recognition of the respective strengths of the traditional and electronic media, integration between the two is recommended for the design of optimal document creation systems.

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