first of all, i know many things been changed in industry, and the environment of i.d is also changing.
so, i would like to know which should be more considered by now and for the future.

when a design company/firm hire a industrial designer.
which one should be more considered?
i know sketching and 3d skills are both imporant.
but if you choose, which would do you prefer?


  1. one with great sketching abillities plus basic 3d abillity. is a 3d expert, using computer is much more faster than
hand-sketching. thus sketches are so-so.

many thanks.

The guy/gal with the pen will always win.

The ability to communicate an idea quickly and effectively with excellent drawing skills will always precede someone who needs time to spend at a CAD station to illustrate their idea.

While it’s definitely great to have both, I think one comes before the other.

I;m not going to stereotype, but all of the kids I’ve had the pleasure to work with in the past that were CAD-based are typically not involved in the first steps of design, and are almost always either handed a sketch to build a model of or are directed by a designer over their shoulder.

All things being equal, and if this is truely a choice, become great at sketching and then learn how to do CAD well on the job if you need to.


thx for your reply, east coaster.

i’m living in asia. and i.d. situation’s changing so fast here.
many of college students doing very good jobs with their idea expression using computers. and even faster.

i think if it’s just matter of time to express one’s ideas,
we cannot ignore computer skills. a good computer rendered image can be great help to companies with also saving time (less time than drawing).

i know among these, most important thing is always ‘ideas’.
and by computer developing, many people from different field crossing over to i.d field. that means great ideas always work.

so, again. from the view of the i.d. companies, how should judge a designer’s skill?

Don’t you love when people ask a question and then disregard the first answer?

i didn’t meant to disregard the answer.
i’m not good at expressing my question in written sentences.
and maybe i misunderstood what east coaster said.
i’m sorry for that.

i wanted to know even if computer-based drawings are much more faster and directly can be converted to files to build mock-ups,
would companies still want to hire ppl have only hand-sketchings?

IMO I think that your question is obsolete. Design education (particularly in the states) is about teaching students skills; how to sketch well, how to use CAD well. What is important and more relevant to what you are asking is as to when in the design process these skills are used; concept generation is about sketching - expanding ideas - it’s a more dynamic process - CAD is not!

Do deisgners need both skills? Of course - that’s how they get jobs. The fact is if a company hires you and you are good at CAD and not sketching, then you are now a CAD technician, not a designer. You’ll only be pulled in at the CAD side of the design process.


It seems like your question changed with your reply.

I agree that in this day and age learning how to draw (sketch) on the computer is a vital tool. The use of photoshop and illustrator has saved years of my life when compared to the ‘old days’ of all hand drawings - if there was a change, you either patched over the drawing or re-drew the concept.

So yes, the computer (for drawing) can be and often is faster to go from idea to ‘rendered’ communication.

But, true 3D CAD-generated concepts still come after a good hand in my opinion.

It’s also my opinion that you do need (as ‘georgeous’) stated first) that you must be balanced in skills - it will open the doors to you. But, it is also beneficial to have one skill or a set of skills that are developed stronger than others - it’s what will give you an edge against the competition.

Now, that being said, all firms/companies are different, and your strongest skills may not fit most companies. Finding the company where they need or lack what you can offer is serendipity. That’s the kind of situation where you can really impact right away - and help carve a place for yourself.



IMO Sketching is more important. Because most firms are looking for ideas when they hire industrial designers, and u can generate ideas faster with sketching then with CAD. Since most firms pay per - hour bases their looking for more value (read more ideas) per hour. No matter how good u are with CAD, someone with good sketching skills can generate ideas faster.

It’s what most firms want, of course, that doesn’t mean their aren’t any market for heavy CAD users, if you like it maybe you can find a job in which you will do CAD. Some designers I know do alot of CAD I just think that there more firms who are looking for good sketcher, that’s just my $2 :slight_smile: So, basically, u can still go with CAD if you like it better and it’s more important factor to u then what most firms are looking for.

However if I understand your question correct you were asking what most firms are looking for when they hire an industrial designer then go with sketching.

thanks for all your replies.

my sketches n CAD both suck.
and i’m trying to improve my both skills.
but before, i needed to know which one should i more concentrate on. :slight_smile:

It shouldn’t really be an either/or choice. If you feel you need to improve in both sketching and CAD, then work on both sketching and CAD.

In my mind however, sketching helps you also understand form, 3d objects and construction so improving your sketching will also improve your understand of CAD.

Likewise CAD helps you understand 3d form, and construction so will likely help you sketch :wink:

Eitherway, do understand that both sketching and CAD are tools. They are only means of communication. You still need to have the thinking, design-sense and problem solving FIRST before actually improving any of these skills, along with oral presentation, visual communication, modelling, etc.

It takes more than a pencil/computer to make a designer.


isn’t easy… I think that sketching background is always good. That skills may support later 3d studies. What I like and what unfortunetly is not best know is mixing of both techniques. I learnt ‘dat’ when I was at the 2nd year of my studies and my computer was too crap to make good render. Unfortunately the quality of final printouts wan’t good enough at that time to put it to today. pity pity
One more thing… If some 3D designer is very confident about “graphic skills” ask him to take a pencil and sketch somethin quickly.
Sketching is about manual skill, 3D may be done by complete untalented person who just spend ages to learn how to render and model. Of course its art but at interviews in dreamworks or pixar people must be sketching as well as modelling. I think its the only correct way of employ the artists.

sketching skills last a career and takes skill to master.

any CAD program can be learned proficiently in a week.

which do you think gives you real value as a designer?

One thing to remember…

It is an “employers” market out there… Meaning - there are way more good design graduates than there are good design jobs.

Employers have their pick of a lot of talented people out there - many of whom have great sketching and CAD skills.

I don’t think you have to be “amazing” at either however to have a shot at a good job you do have to be good at both.

I agree with van_ID, you have to be good at both.

But anyway… those are basic skills and are taken for granted. You must have a bonus nowadays. Why don’t you also learn business skills?

You have to aim higher. If you are a great thinker, sketching and 3D are secondary because you’ll end up managing other designers.

The job market is very competitive and you’ll need something extra to differentiate yourself.

Maybe sketching and 3d skills are common, but they are still very important. agreed that business skills also help.

You will never likely get to manage other designers if you cant hold your own in design. teaching maybe… :wink:

without good visual communication (ie. through sketches, renderings, etc.) you will have a hard time getting across “great thinking”.

just because some skills are standard, doesnt make them “secondary”.


Maybe sketching and 3d skills are common, but they are still very important. agreed that business skills also help.

You will never likely get to manage other designers if you cant hold your own in design. teaching maybe… > :wink:

without good visual communication (ie. through sketches, renderings, etc.) you will have a hard time getting across “great thinking”.

just because some skills are standard, doesnt make them “secondary”.


I didn’t say not important nor secondary. Those skills are very important as Richard says, but are just standard, a MUST HAVE.

In the end, it all comes down to what you want to do as a professional. You need to think about where you want to be, and then build the necessary skills. Maybe you don’t want to be a manager, not even a designer and you enjoy doing CAD work. That would be fine too… all roles are important and necessary.

My advice is that, whatever you choose to do, try to be among the best.

I think …you should first go for sketches…
they should be really good enuogh to explain form & detailing…

they you adopt any suitable ID software.

If you tried this reverseway…most of times…ID software capability influences your designs…& for each every design & concepts you v to rely on the software…

If you get chance …even develop few mockup…it improves your both sketching & 3D modelling capabilities. :unamused:



I’ll say what I said in another thread:

Pen, paper, PCs, Mac, Rhino, Solidworks - THEY ARE ALL TOOLS. Get over it people! :unamused:

I can stand the sketch zealots out there (same goes for 3D zealots). Design is a problem solving process - that is all that matters and is what your primary focus should be. If you get all tied up in the details of what tools to use, you’re missing the point…

If CAD fits in with your process, fine. If sketching is what floats your boat. fine. Just make sure you’re solving a problem someone will care about when you’re done.

Tools are tactics. The design process is the strategy.

in my opinon ,handle skeching could good show the idea,and some one according your idea use 3D software to do some work.3D software just a tool.