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What is Collaborative Sketching?

Collaborative Sketching is a process used to generate ideas through a collective effort. In this technique, several designers draw a concept individually and then pass it to the next designer to adjust.

Why Use Collaborative Sketching?

“Many ideas grow better when transplanted into another mind than the one where they sprang up." – Oliver Wendell Holmes. Many times ideas can be provoked by seeing what someone else has drawn or written, whether or not it's fully understood. Collaborative Sketching provides the space for ideas to be developed through group think and even misinterpretation of other designers’ sketches. It promotes group contribution and allows for everyone to have a tangible “voice” in  and ownership of the design.

How to Collaboratively Sketch?

The amount of designers involved in the group gathered for collaborative sketching can vary. The ideal group is about 4-7 designers. Your goal will determine what everyone sketches. If you’re attempting to generate an idea, everyone should sketch a different idea based on the parameters you give. If you are trying to expand an idea, everyone should sketch the same idea and add details, based on the parameters you give.  The steps involved are as follows: 

  1. Gather a team of people.
  2. Distribute a sheet of paper and pen to every person. The pen should be the same kind of pen and color.
  3. Talk about what will be sketched.
  4. Give everyone a specific amount of time to sketch.
  5. After the time ends each gives their sketch to the next person.
  6. Everyone has a specific amount of time to understand the sketch and add on to it.
  7. Continue the process until everyone has contributed to each sketch.
  8. Analyze the results of the sketch with everyone elaborating on what they sketched and what they perceived the others as having sketched.


Collaborative Sketching

A fun and short example of a collaborative design session.