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Early sketches from the web’s finest

Pen and paper

Most designers are accustomed to starting their work on paper. If you’re a designer, you’ve probably got a notebook or two sitting around with random brilliant sketches. Often the initial sketches themselves are something to be proud of — and it’s a shame that no one ever sees them.

Have you ever wondered what others’ sketches look like? We did. When designers put pen to paper the results are quite different. We’ll show you.

Buzz Usborne, Campaign Monitor

Buzz was kind enough to share Campaign Monitor’s early sketches of the landing page.

Buzz’s sketch

Campaign Monitor has a rather flat aesthetic (which we love). It’s interesting how Buzz’s sketches seem to match the spirit of Campaign Monitor’s design.

The diagonal lines echo back to the diagonal lines in the final version. Buzz’s sketching style prioritizes clean lines and clear direction over detail.

Buzz’s final

We’ll see down below how designers tend to be consistent in translating heavy sketching into more complex design.

Maykel Loomans, Instagram

Maykel is at Instagram, doing things like designing Instagram Profile Pages. It’s pretty clear from his dribbble account that he has some serious design chops.

Maykel’s sketch

His work shows restraint and is simultaneously rich. His blog, in particular, exhibits that restraint. He lent us a bunch of early sketches of it that mostly looked like the above image.

Maykel uses a thick pen and less detail. Like Buzz (above), he gives himself general guidelines with a focus on layout, but focuses even less on the small stuff.

Maykel’s final

Compare his sketch to the final product (Visit him at It’s interesting how each individual’s sketching style foreshadows the style of their final version in some way.

Alex Griendling, Google

Alex is a talented designer working for the Google Art Department. Visiting his portfolio site is highly recommended — it’s wonderful.

Alex’s sketch

Alex shared sketches of a Dick Tracy poster that he created for the Silver Screen Society. Unsurprisingly, the sketches are as detailed as the final draft.

Alex’s final

If you’re into his work, you should probably just follow him.

Dmitry Khramov, Cuberto

Cuberto is a design shop in St. Petersburg, Russia, that produces some exquisite icon design and unique mobile interfaces.

Dmitry’s sketch

Many Russias designers, particularly designers from St. Petersburg, are imbued with a serious talent for detailed work. As you might expect, the detail of Dmitry’s high-resolution icons is echoed by his sketch work.

Dmitry’s final

Take a look at their dribbble profile for some of their awesome work.

Ian Storm Taylor,

Ian is the co-founder of with a definite recognizable style. He was hesitant to send over a sketch because of how sparsely he jots down ideas before starting on them.

Ian’s sketch

In the corner of a notebook, Ian drew something to give him a rough idea of what he wanted to design. Somehow, though, it managed to translate accurately into the final draft.

Ian’s final

Flat and awesome. Go visit his blog or check out his latest project.

Send yours in

We’d like to share more of these, including our own (we have quite the stack of notebooks). If you’re a designer who’d like to share his early sketches, send them to

Discussion for this post can be found on Hacker News.

  1. elfabianaco reblogged this from layervault
  2. geoffrito reblogged this from layervault and added:
    Yeah, this is cool.
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  4. forgetmonroe reblogged this from layervault and added:
    beautiful :)
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  8. brittanycheng reblogged this from layervault and added:
    Another interesting blog post from layervault.
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