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Deciding the best design tool is a controversial topic among designers these days. Everyone has a favorite and they all are trying to explain why that tool is the best and why everyone must use it.
Well, yes, I'm going to do the same thing, but listen up. It won't be like other articles. You will not change your design software, you will not spend another 100 bucks for the yearly subscription. Actually, my tool is pretty cheap. Almost free. It is fast. Fastest one. It's accessible. Brand of your computer, your internet connection, how powerful is your graphic card... These are off topic. You know what, you don't even have to be a designer to use that tool. It is the easiest tool ever.
Design tools are great. They all have wonderful features. Figma, an amazing tool. Adobe XD, super comfortable. Sketch… whatever. Yes, they are all great, but opening a software and looking at the empty artboard doesn't make me comfortable at that point. I should start simple, but faster. That's why my favorite tools are still an empty paper and a fine quality pen. Using paper and pen boosts my creativity and helps me to create more ideas in a short time. The pen & paper concept is gold. It’s super effective and productive.
From note taking to prototyping, I’ve tried so many different methods. Mobile apps, desktop apps, web applications and so on. Every method other than pen & paper was a waste of time. After a long search I decided to go with the old school method. Write it down!
If there is a new project, you probably have a bunch of good and bad ideas. But without creating them, it is not easy to decide which one is good and which one is bad. Crazy Eights is a super productive Design Sprint method for that kind of situation. What you need is simple. An A4 size paper and a pen. And 8 minutes, of course. Before starting, fold the paper into 8 different sections. Set your timer and start drawing. A minute per sketch. At the end of the 8 minutes, you will have 8 different sketches.
Reminder: These are just sketches. They don’t have to be perfect. They don’t have to have all the details. Just important points. The purpose of this exercise is to create different ideas in a short time.
Bill Gates says “It doesn’t matter how you record your notes, as long as you do.” It is true. Note taking is the proven method for learning and memorizing things. They are ways to improve that experience. Get visuals!
Instead of simple words, add sketches to your notes. It leads you to create more understandable notes. Also use the mind mapping method. Start taking notes from the center of the paper and place the general concept into the center. Use arrows and lines and place the ideas around the concept. This concept will help you to visualize the relationships, hierarchies and connections between information. It also will show an overview of a topic in a very understandable way.
At the end of the day, of course it is up to you. What makes you feel comfortable is completely about your personality and habits. Maybe a keyboard or a tablet screen is a way better process for you. For people like me, my advice is, write it down.