My mind works in a kooky, non-linear fashion. Kinda like stream of consciousness on several cups of coffee. That being said, I was in the grocery store last night and noticed that paper bags weren't being used as much anymore. So my mind went to work — if plastic bags have already been banned in some cities, paper bags shouldn't be too far behind. Then I thought about the paper napkin, the tried-and-true way to write down a phone number, a shopping list, or draw a doodle. What happens when that finally disappears?
Around ZURB, we love sketching. For us, a doodle on the back of a napkin can lead us to the next great idea. Sharpies and paper have been the tools of our trade. We sketch to work out problems, illustrate our ideas. And with paper, we're able to easily share our sketches. It's portable, but more importantly, it's social. That's the beauty of sketching.
But as we move more and more toward a digital future, like the kind envisioned by "Star Trek: The Next Generation," where the tablet has finally eliminated paper, what happens to the social nature of sketching? That future is already happening here at ZURB. Jonathan already uses an iPad to do his sketching. Since getting a stylus pen, Tanya has also begun sketching more and more on her iPad. I was talking with Bryan about this very thing and he told me that makes Jonathan's sketches 'his' rather than 'ours.' Digital sketching becomes solitary rather than collaborative.
So the question becomes, how do you make an iPad sketch social? How do you prepare for a future without paper sketching? This is something we've thought about ourselves, coming up with apps like Notable to help share those sketches. In any case, there's still nothing like sitting at a table with a small group of people, sketching out ideas and bouncing those concepts off one another. But one day, we could find ourselves scratching our heads and asking, "Whatever happened to the paper napkin sketch?"