For many decades, if not centuries, designers have plied the traditional tools of the trade: paper, pencil, sketchpad and storyboard. Swatches and clippings. Drawing and draping. All of these things have long been part of the creative process. And if you’re a fashion maven, you’re probably also an avid globetrotter, attending textile fairs, shows, museums — going anywhere to glean inspiration.
Now, like everything today, design is going more digital. What does this mean for these time-tested tools and practices? How can such tangible activities best merge into a virtual world? Of course, computer-aided design (CAD) is nothing new. And designers have been sketching on tablets and capturing ideas and images on mobile phones for years. But we’re entering a new era of digital design that more seamlessly synthesizes the path from ideation to product creation.
Consider all of the new ways in which creative teams can share information. Digital design platforms make it easier for you to do what you love and do best: capturing the mood of the moment, the sentiment of the season. For example, you can virtually grab an intriguing outfit you saw on social media and digitally paste it to your team’s cloud-based trend board. That vintage fabric you picked up at a yard sale over the weekend? Sharing it with a global production partner and saving it to a central repository — simultaneously — has never been faster. You can still sketch with pencil, and then easily post your work to a digital concept board. Rather than hamper the artistic flow, computerization sets it free.
Going digital doesn’t mean designers are grounded, chained to a computer workstation. Quite the opposite. When concepts and ideas can be almost effortlessly saved, shared, sorted and organized, this eliminates confusion and barriers. There’s a big reduction in time spent searching for information, exchanging emails and sitting in meetings to make sure everyone is on the same page. With boosted productivity, there’s more time for travel and contemplation, for gathering insights and letting them percolate. Whether at the headquarters, a global partner’s offices or regional product development hub, the same digital storyboards are at your fingertips. And because all of the ideas are shared in the cloud on the common platform, your team members have visibility, too. This is so important now that many retailers and brands are working more closely with vendors to co-design products. Teams need a visual collaboration tool to design together effectively.
Translating your ideas into marketable colors, silhouettes, textures and styles is a process that works best when ideas can flow fluidly and collaboratively — without barriers. To learn more about the challenges designers are facing, download the infographic: