Storing sketches, sketchboards and portable walls

Storing and finding back these ideas can sometimes be a real hazard. Even though we as human beings are much better at recognizing visuals cues above written documents there’s not so many storage materials and furniture available to help us efficiently store and refind the paperwork. At Concept7 we think we’ve found a solution for storing the most common forms of sketches and prototypes.

Visualizing ideas during a design process is a smart idea, that’s sketching. Sketching ideas can be done in many ways, actually any type of material within your reach can be part of a sketch. In this post I’m talking pencil and paper. These days it’s a popular technique among user experience designers to generate and communicate ideas.

Storing and finding back these ideas can sometimes be a real hazard. Even though we as human beings are much better at recognizing visuals cues above written documents there’s not so many storage materials and furniture available to help us efficiently store and refind the paperwork.

At Concept7 we think we’ve found a solution for storing the most common forms of sketches and prototypes.

  • Idea sketches
  • Magnetic strips to carry sketchboards
  • Sketchboard carrier to store old sketchboards
  • Concept7 sketching paper
  • Archive boxes to store idea and concept sketches

Idea sketches on flickr.com

We photograph every idea sketch that is made during a session right after the ideation session. On flickr.com we create a private group for every project we work on. We tag the sketches with a tagstructure based on the framework we used to generate the sketches in the first place. A good tagging structure helps us find back sketches very quickly.

Once the best ideas are picked we hang these sketches on our walls so we can easily see context between them. Some time ago Adaptive Path coined the word and technique sketchboard (movable sheets of paper containing idea sketches), a technique we’ve adapted and use almost daily during the ideation and prototyping phase.

Sketchboards attached by magnets

About sketchboards

As far as I know the term sketchboards was coined by Adaptive Path back in 2007. The technique itself is a bit older. Some have called it ‘big paper technique’. If you want to know how it works: Brandon Schauer has written a great article about this.

We use magnets and metal strips on the wall to attach sketchboards. Even though it’s good to hang these sketchboards on your office’s wall, it’s sometimes handy to put them away when working on more projects at the same time. Also when finishing up a project it can be handy to put them away but not too far so you can reach back to them. Magnets allow us to easily remove and attach these sketchboards.

Sketchboard carriers

We’ve designed sketchboard carriers which can contain approximately 20 sketchboards at a time. Only sketchboards we’ve stopped working with for a long period will be stored permanently. By rolling the sketchboard and writing the project title on the outside we can easily grab back to older sketchboards.

Concept sketches in archive boxes

When we present concept sketches (or paper prototypes) to our clients we use our A3 concept7 sketching paper. We keep the originals at our office. A paperclip is used to wrap them together and a post-it serves as a label, concept sketches are labeled with a project title, and a date stamp. The idea sketches we’ve created (and photographed) earlier in the process also fit very well in these boxes.

These days our offices look a bit cleaner than they used to…

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