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UI Stencils

When it comes to either UX or UI design, we have a saying 'fail fast'. As designers we are sometimes too quick to jump into a high fidelity mockup, creating something highly detailed too quickly. These beautiful looking concepts can sometimes take days to produce and it's only when we get to the end and take a step back that we realise the design isn't going to work.

I am one of those people who thrive on deadlines, nothing brings on inspiration more readily than desperation.

Harry Shearer

We should spend more time doing quick design sprints. Short sprints allow designers to get ideas and concepts out fast, it's not about the look and feel it's about proving the concept, making sure that a particular idea works, if it doesn't we haven't wasted days, but a few minutes. This process also quickly flags up other problems that we might encounter later on, or new processes we hadn't thought about.

When we do these sprints we normally go right back to basics adopting the oldest form of design tools, the mighty pencil! We use other little drawing techniques such as shading, different line widths, or using our amazing Copic markers to lift the design with a touch of colour.

A few years ago we discovered UI Stencils, a company making some fantastic tools to aid designers putting pen (or in my case pencil!) to paper. These stencils really did transform our sketches making them look fantastic, easier to understand and cleaner. I am now much happier showing them to the client as they look brilliant.

UI Stencils 1

Those people who know me, understand my need for gadgets, add that to one that would also aid my design work had to be a winner! Since then the studio has built up an unhealthily amount of UI Stencils and other accessories!

UI Stencils produce a number of different stencils to match the device you are designing for, be it a website or iPhone app etc. All with slightly different icons relating to the medium you are working with.

They also produce drawing pads that have websites, tablet and phone frames pre-printed on, matching the same scale as the stencils making you looks like a design god!

UI Stencils 2

They even have the "time timer"; this helps us perform our design sprints into an allocated slot. We find having this timer counting down on our desks during design sprints really focus the mind and allows us to forget about emails and all other work distractions for 15-20 minutes while we concentrate on a particular task.

UI Stencils are available from www.uistencils.com, and we feel they are an essential bit of kit for any UI designers.

Fancy getting some for yourself? Enter 'method' at checkout for a 10% discount.