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Pen and Paper

For me, pushing a pen around on paper, helps me organize my thoughts. Especially when I'm working with pseudo-code and straight out algorithm design. The action of writing things down by hand, has a way of making things clear that just doesn't happen for me on a monitor. Perhaps it's the directness of hand-eye interaction when writing.

How much time do you spend with a pen and paper? Do you use it for visual design or code design?


More and more lately for art. I think the art part is a phase, whilst the the flowcharts and tasks are maturity based and actually getting organized.

...I have to admit, the more complex my ideas get, the more I need paper AFTER my 2nd attempt fails, and I'm forced to organize it on paper...somewhat, anyway.

My design skills are heavily weighted on the side of code with minimal training in graphic design, though I occasionally dabble in the latter when I'm in a crunch and can't wait on someone else to do it.

In my case, for complex coding situations, I rather often pick with pen and paper to create a visual representation of what I'm planning to do in code, e.g. a visual pseudocode, particularly so if I'm juggling around a bunch of pointers or need to do complex stack operations. Usually, this is limited to "fun" with C/C++ or Assembler (including FLASM) as opposed to more straightforward code like Actionscript or PHP.

For visual design, I almost never pick up physical media, though my skills are mainly limited to hand-tracing bitmaps, scratch removal and minor photo editing.

Wow. I use paper all the time. It gives me this connection that allows me to organize thoughts, ideas - etc in a way no computer can. Started working on a project that has an ASP backend and flash front end- lot of fun. But i found that in order to plan, even the basest of functionality, I needed to work with paper. I even write down classes and methods and props - and that way, when i get to the comp, its more like data entry :)

I've been known to actually do the sticky notes too.

I'll sketch out a layout. And then from that work on functionality and usablity - i try to figure out UI probs before any design occurs. Plus, I'm not a designer - so that process is the most labour intensive for me.

Oh yeah, I'll use post-it notes. I also have a white-board that I use wax markers on when a structure is just too big for paper :-)

For me, paper sketches are the start of every project. Whether it's design or programming, there's something about the thought process while writing on paper that helps me organize abstract ideas coherently.