Drawing for Product Designers (Laurence King Publishing, London, UK)


From 2007 until 2011 I researched, illustrated, and wrote what I believed would be a better book for teaching an undergraduate population of design students how to visualize ideas. Sketching has too often been taught simply as a technical skill- like car maintenance. Every book I've either reviewed or used in the classroom lacked a cohesive narrative for teaching the subject. The proposal I submitted to British publisher Laurence King combined the history, theory, and psychology of sketching alongside detailed technical procedures. Drawing for Product Designers also worked to reconcile the divide between analog and digital. I developed specific language and techniques for teaching a primarily analog skill in an increasingly digital world by creating logical analogies between the methods of generating form through computer aided design software and sketching on paper or tablet.

I spent a significant period of time reading scientific papers and talking to cognitive scientists about perception, object recognition, and the cognitive mechanisms that allow us to recognize common everyday objects. My primary goal for the book was to demystify the sketching process; to bring it more in line with the thinking process. While the book's title refers to 'drawing' this was merely a marketing issue I had no control over. I teach students how to sketch, visualize, and conceptualize. And while this distinction may seem merely semantic it gets to the very essence of design-as-process: the truly powerful and incremental 'know-as-you-go' method for problem solving. The cognitive research done for the book has profoundly affected everything I do and has directed my research ever since. 

I am currently at work on the first in a projected series of interactive books. The first few titles will be written specifically for the ipad with rich multi-modal content consisting of text/image, video, animation, and interactivity. This work has also become central to my teaching practice as I train students to think about interaction design and information access/comprehension. I've included spreads from the book. The book has been translated into Spanish, Korean, and Chinese. Click on the 'spreads' icon.