The Analog Notepads of Unit Interactive
The notepads and other devices used for recording project info are peculiar to individual designers’ preference. It’s not uncommon for these tools to almost be considered sacred artifacts to one degree or another. Having touched on this fact recently in the Unit offices, we thought it might be interesting to share our folks’ thoughts and provide a few glimpses into our respective tools.
“I really like the format of the Action Book for large projects because it allows me to outline what I need to accomplish on the same page with my sketches. I don’t exactly use it as the designer intended, opting to use the ‘action steps’ for my project bullet points instead. I also appreciate having a book devoted to all my large project sketches I can look back on for inspiration. For smaller projects or quick detail brainstorming, I opt to use a legal pad where I have the rest of my notes for that particular project, but I use it in much the same way: sketches with bullet points and notes.”
Angela’s Behance Action Book
“My main analog tools are a single legal pad and a Uni-ball Vision pen (my second in three years). On the lined paper of the legal pad I take all of my meeting notes, jot down quick ideas, do complex mathematical computations and even any sketching that I find necessary.
R.A.’s sketches and calculations on legal pad sheets
Project and meeting notes
“My other auxiliary tool is a magnetic whiteboard that is mounted with Velcro so I can move it anywhere I need it to be. Portability and the freedom to destroy (throw away/erase) are essential for my process. The more comfortable I feel making mistakes, the more I will use a system. Photoshop™ is really my sketch tool of choice. I <3 History and Snapshots.”
R.A.’s ever-essential portable whiteboard
“Primary and most handy in my intricate system of lo-tech planning/sketching devices is my tiny notepad. It goes where I go and serves as a back-up memory for to-do items so my brains can think on the more creative bits. Less frequently used, but more strategic in nature, college-ruled, 8.5”x11” notepads serve useful purposes for app development and meeting notes. Least frequently used, but possibly the most devastating weapon in my arsenal, is a pad of tracing paper. That’s where the magic happens (this is for Cribs, right?). All of this eventually winds up in my highly sophisticated, laboriously indexed library of manila folders. The details of which are, perhaps, for another post?”
Nathan’s “memory” pad
Yes, that is a hand written change-log for Unify
“I, too, like to use a Behance Action Book for grouping brief bulleted notes with thumbnail and concept sketches to provide a good conceptual snapshot for some phases of project work. The only problem with this is that I’m hesitant to use the Action Book after capturing that initial snapshot because I tend to work in a pretty messy manner. It seems a shame to mess up the cool pages of that notebook. So most of my work is accomplished with the help of plain ol’ white legal pads. Lots of ‘em, actually.
Andy’s complement of analog devices
“It’s on these plain lined notepads that I record most of the project info and the river of thumbnail sketches before and during the computer tools’ work. And because I spend time most days on the phone with potential clients, I have to have a ready stack of notepads at hand.”
The ready stack of notepads
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So how do you use your analog notepads?