As much as we admire digital technology and as often as we employ it here at the BUILD world headquarters, there will never be a replacement for sketching. Knowing how to sketch as an architect or designer is a timeless prerequisite. We don’t care what amazing new software is on your laptop, we don’t care if you just downloaded the sketchpad app for the iPhone. While important, that stuff will continue to change. And at the risk of sounding like luddites, sketching will always be sketching. If you can’t sketch out a quick-n-dirty concept on a napkin, your role as an architect will be very limited.

There is a value for 2D and 3D digital design in architecture but, in our opinion, it’s in addition to sketching, not in replacing it.  There are simply too many situations when you need to crank out a quick schematic sketch illustrating a concept or basic idea. Back-of-the-envelope sketches enroll clients in initial design concepts, a sketch on a spare piece of wall-board at the job-site quickly communicates a detail to the finish carpenter. There’s simply nothing as straight-forward as pen to paper (or gypsum wallboard for that matter).

To us, the most exciting design occurs interactively, with clients and architects all at the same table talking, sketching and sparking creative design. So peel your eyes off the screen when you can and keep that sketchbook going.

After years of sketching, our tools of choice are a Moleskine Cahier X-Large Plain Journal Notebook (3 for $15) and a Pilot Fineliner black pen ($1.39) – couldn’t be any simpler.

We’re no masters of the sketch but we’ve used what we’ve got for today’s post. Hit that comments button and share your favorite sketches with us.