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I Can’t Sketch! How Can I Communicate My Ideas on Paper?


I want to start my own clothing brand and I’d like to start working on the designs but I can’t sketch. I know exactly what I want to create but not sure how I’ll communicate my ideas on paper to the people I will work with. I can trace but I’m scared that’ll lead to copyright issues. Any ideas or suggestions? Thanks in advance!

Alice, Belgium

Hi Alice,

Firstly – you should know that many famous designers can’t draw either. A great example is Paul Smith who openly has spoken about not being able to draw.

But learning how to communicate your designs and draw is just a skill that, with practice, can be acquired and improved on.

Drawings and sketches do not have to be perfect.

What is more important is that they communicate the elements and ideas that are important to you and the design.

Another useful and practical way to communicate your designs is to use reference images that contain the elements you want to have and explain. You can cut out of magazines or print out design elements. Then refer to them to show your factory or pattern maker what is it you want to achieve.

Create a visual document with reference images explaining what you like about them and how they relate to your design ideas.

Alternatively, there are tools on the market that can help you, but in my opinion, they are a crutch you don’t want to become too reliant on.

There are also templates of basic shapes you can find on the internet – print some off and customise, to begin with. As you keep drawing over and over them, your hand will get used to it and soon you will be confident enough to start to communicate your designs and sketching without the aid of these.

More useful tips and ideas can perhaps be found in this article about How to Best Communicate Design Ideas on our blog.