Graphic Thinking for Architects and Designers: A Book Review
If you are an architect or a designer, you know how important it is to be able to visualize your ideas and communicate them effectively. You also know how challenging it can be to find creative solutions to complex problems. That's why you need graphic thinking: a way of using sketches, diagrams, and other visual tools to enhance your thinking and design process.
What is graphic thinking and why is it important for architects and designers?
Definition of graphic thinking
Graphic thinking is a term coined by Paul Laseau, a professor of architecture and a registered architect. He defines it as \"the use of graphic media as an extension of mental capabilities in problem-solving situations\" . In other words, graphic thinking is a way of using drawings and other visual representations to help you think better.
Benefits of graphic thinking
Graphic thinking has many benefits for architects and designers. Some of them are:
It helps you to clarify your ideas and concepts.
It helps you to explore different alternatives and possibilities.
It helps you to discover new relationships and patterns.
It helps you to verify your assumptions and test your solutions.
It helps you to communicate your ideas and designs to others.
Graphic thinking can also enhance your creativity, imagination, and intuition. It can help you to generate original and innovative designs that meet the needs and expectations of your clients and users.
What is the book about and who is the author?
Overview of the book's content and structure
The book that I'm going to review is called Graphic Thinking for Architects and Designers. It is a comprehensive guide that teaches you how to develop and improve your graphic thinking skills. It covers both the basic skills and the applied skills that you need to master as an architect or a designer.
The book is divided into three parts:
Basic skills: This part covers the fundamentals of drawing, conventions, abstraction, and expression. It teaches you how to use different types of drawings, such as sketches, plans, sections, elevations, perspectives, axonometrics, diagrams, etc. It also teaches you how to use different levels of abstraction, from realistic to schematic, to convey different types of information. It also teaches you how to use different modes of expression, such as line, tone, color, texture, etc., to create different effects and moods.
Applied skills: This part covers the skills that you need to apply graphic thinking in different stages of the design process. It teaches you how to use graphic thinking for analysis, exploration, discovery, and verification. It shows you how to use graphic thinking to understand the context and constraints of a design problem, to generate and evaluate different design alternatives, to discover new design opportunities and solutions, and to test and refine your design proposals.
Communication skills: This part covers the skills that you need to communicate your graphic thinking effectively to different audiences. It teaches you how to use graphic thinking for process, individual design, team design, and public design. It shows you how to use graphic thinking to document your design process, to present your design ideas convincingly, to collaborate with other designers effectively, and to engage with the public successfully.
The book is richly illustrated with hundreds of examples from various fields of architecture and design. It also includes dozens of exercises and projects that help you practice what you learn.
Background and credentials of the author
The author of the book is Paul Laseau. He is a professor of architecture at Ball State University in Indiana. He has over 40 years of experience in teaching architecture students how to improve their graphic thinking skills. He has also written several other books on architectural drawing and sketching.
Laseau is not only an educator but also a practitioner. He is a registered architect in New York State. He has worked on various projects ranging from residential to institutional buildings. He has also won several awards for his architectural work.
Laseau's expertise in both teaching and practicing architecture makes him a credible and authoritative source on graphic thinking for architects and designers.
What are some of the key concepts and techniques that the book teaches?
The first part of the book teaches you the basic skills that form the foundation of graphic thinking. These skills are drawing, conventions, abstraction, and expression.
Drawing is the most fundamental skill that you need as an architect or a designer. Drawing allows you to record what you see, to imagine what you don't see, and to communicate what you want others to see. Drawing is not only a way of representing reality, but also a way of creating reality. Drawing is not only a tool for communication, but also a tool for exploration and discovery.
The book teaches you how to draw effectively by using different types of drawings, such as sketches, plans, sections, elevations, perspectives, axonometrics, diagrams, etc. Each type of drawing has its own purpose, advantages, and limitations. The book shows you how to choose the right type of drawing for each situation, and how to combine different types of drawings to create more comprehensive and coherent representations.
The book also teaches you how to draw accurately by using different types of conventions, such as scales, dimensions, symbols, notations, etc. Conventions are standardized ways of representing information that make drawings more legible and understandable. The book shows you how to use conventions correctly and consistently, and how to adapt them to different contexts and audiences.
The book also teaches you how to draw creatively by using different levels of abstraction, from realistic to schematic, to convey different types of information. Abstraction is a process of simplifying and generalizing reality to highlight its essential features and relationships. The book shows you how to use abstraction to focus on what matters most in a design problem, and how to vary abstraction to create contrast and interest in your drawings.
The book also teaches you how to draw expressively by using different modes of expression, such as line, tone, color, texture, etc. Expression is a way of adding emotion and personality to your drawings. The book shows you how to use expression to create mood and atmosphere in your drawings, and how to match expression with intention and message in your drawings.
The second part of the book teaches you the applied skills that enable you to use graphic thinking in different stages of the design process. These skills are analysis, exploration, discovery, and verification.
Analysis is the skill that helps you understand the context and constraints of a design problem. Analysis involves collecting relevant data about the site,the program,the users,the budget,the codes,the regulations,the precedents,the history,the culture,the climate,the ecology,the technology,the materials,the structure,the systems,the aesthetics,and any other factors that affect your design decisions.Analysis also involves organizing,synthesizing,and interpreting this data,to identify opportunities,challenges,and requirements for your design.Analysis requires critical thinking,judgment,and evaluation.