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Forget the computer — here’s why should you write and design by hand

by Petrone Risk

Forget the computer — here’s why should you write and design by hand

J.K. Rowling scribbled along the first 40 names of characters that would can be found in Harry Potter in a paper notebook. J.J. Abrams writes his first drafts in a paper notebook. Upon his return to Apple in 1997, Steve Jobs first cut through the existing complexity by drawing a simple chart on whiteboard. Of course, they’re not the ones that are only…

Here’s the notebook that belongs to Pentagram partner Michael Bierut. All the pages in his notebook resemble the best side, although he has got thought to Design Observer that he had lost an especially precious notebook, which contained “a drawing my then 13-year-old daughter Liz did that she claims may be the buy essays online original sketch for the Citibank logo.”

Author Neil Gaiman’s notebook, who writes his books — including American Gods, The Graveyard Book, plus the final two thirds of Coraline — by hand.

And a notebook from information designer Nicholas Felton, who recorded and visualized a decade of his life in data, and created the Reporter app.

There’s a reason why people, that have the choice to actually use some type of computer, choose to make writing by hand part of their creative process. Also it all starts with a big change that we may easily overlook — writing by hand is very distinct from typing.

On paper along the Bones, author Natalie Goldberg advises that writing is a activity that is physical and thus impacted by the equipment you utilize. Typing and writing by hand produce very writing that is different. She writes, “I have found that whenever I am writing something emotional, i have to write it the first occasion directly with hand in writing. Handwriting is more connected to the movement of the heart. Yet, once I tell stories, I go right to the typewriter.”

Goldberg’s observation may have a small sample measurements of one, but it’s an incisive observation. More importantly, studies in the area of psychology support this conclusion.

Similarly, authors Pam A. Mueller and Daniel M. Oppenheimer students notes that are making either by laptop or by hand, and explored how it affected their memory recall. Inside their study published in Psychological Science, they write, “…even when permitted to review notes after a week’s delay, participants who had taken notes with laptops performed worse on tests of both factual content and conceptual understanding, in accordance with participants who had taken notes longhand.”

All have felt the difference in typing and writing by hand while psychologists figure out what actually happens in the brain, artists, designers, and writers. Many who originally eagerly adopted the pc when it comes to promises of efficiency, limitlessness, and connectivity, have returned back to writing by hand.

There are a variety of hypotheses which exist on why writing by hand produces different results than typing, but here’s a prominent one that emerges through the world of practitioners:

You better understand your work

“Drawing is an easy method that i can’t otherwise grasp,” writes artist Robert Crumb in his book with Peter Poplaski for me to articulate things inside myself. This means that, Crumb draws not to express something already he already understand, but to help make feeling of something he does not.

This brings to mind a quote often attributed to Cecil Lewis, “ We do not write to be understood; we write to be able to understand. day” Or as author Jennifer Egan says towards the Guardian, “The writing reveals the whole story to me.”

This sort of thinking — one that’s done not merely with the mind, but in addition because of the tactil hands — can be applied to all the sorts of fields. For example, in Sherry Turkle’s “Life on the Screen,” she quotes a faculty person in MIT as saying:

“Students can look at the screen and work in their head as clearly as they would if they knew it in other ways, through traditional drawing for example… at it for a while without learning the topography of a site, without really getting it. You put in the contour lines and the trees, it becomes ingrained in your mind when you draw a site, when. You come to understand the site in a real way that isn’t possible with all the computer.”

The quote continues in the notes, “That’s the method that you get to know a terrain — by tracing and retracing it, not by allowing the computer ‘regenerate’ it for you personally.”

“You start by sketching, then you do a drawing, then chances are you make a model, and after that you head to reality — you choose to go to the site — and then you go back to drawing,” says architect Renzo Piano in Why Architects Draw. “You build a kind up of circularity between drawing and making after which back again.”

In his book, Orbiting the Giant Hairball, author Gordon MacKenzie likened the creative process to at least one of a cow making milk. We could see a cow milk that is making it’s hooked up to your milking machine, and we know that cows eat grass. However the actual part where the milk is being created remains invisible.

There clearly was an invisible part to making something new, the processes of that are obscured from physical sight by scale, certainly. But, areas of that which we can see and feel, is felt through writing by hand.

Steve Jobs said in a job interview with Wired Magazine, “Creativity is things that are just connecting. Once you ask creative people the way they did something, they feel just a little guilty simply because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious in their mind after a few years. That’s since they had the ability to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize things that are new. Plus the reason these were in a position to do that was that they’ve had more experiences or they have thought more info on their experiences than many other people.”

Viewed from Jobs’s lens, perhaps writing by hand enables visitors to do the latter — think and understand more info on their experiences that are own. Much like the way the contours and topography can ingrain themselves in an mind that is architect’s experiences, events, and data can ingrain themselves when writing out by hand.

Only after this understanding is clearer, could it be better to come back to the computer. In the center of the 2000s, the designers at creative consultancy Landor installed Adobe Photoshop on the computers and started using it. General manager Antonio Marazza tells author David Sax:

Final Thoughts

J.K. Rowling used this piece of lined paper and blue pen to plot out how the fifth book within the series, Harry Potter and The Order regarding the Phoenix, would unfold. The most fact that is obvious that it seems just like a spreadsheet.

And yet, to express she could have done this in the spreadsheet would be a stretch. The magic is not in the layout, that will be only the start. It’s into the annotations, the circles, the cross outs, and marginalia. I understand that you can find digital equivalents every single of the tactics — suggestions, comments, highlights, and changing cell colors, but they simply don’t have the same effect.

Rowling writes of her original 40 characters, “It is quite strange to look at the list in this tiny notebook now, slightly water-stained by some forgotten mishap, and covered in light pencil scribblings…while I was writing these names, and refining them, and sorting them into houses, I experienced no clue where these people were going to go (or where these were going to take me).”

Goldberg writes in her own book, that writing is a act that is physical. Perhaps creativity is a physical, analog, act, because creativity is a byproduct to be human, and humans are physical, analog, entities. And yet in our work that is creative of convention, habit, or fear, we restrict ourselves to, as a man would describe to author Tara Brach, “live from the neck up.”