Collaborative Sketching


Collaborative Sketching, also known as C-Sketch or 5-1-3 G, is a method for concept generation in which several designers each sketch a design concept then pass their sketch to another designer to modify.  Developed by Shah, collaborative sketching originated as a modification to Method 6-3-5.  A key difference between collaborative sketching and Method 6-3-5 is that designers only work on one design at a time, whereas in Method 6-3-5, designers work on three designs concurrently.


Collaborative sketching has two basic variables: the number n of designers in the loop and the time t allocated for each iteration i.  The number of iterations equals the number of designers.  Therefore, a design team using C-Sketch will produce n designs.  The two constraints in this method are (1) sketching is the only mode of communication between designers and (2) a designer cannot fully erase the sketch of another designer.

The basic protocol for C-Sketch is the following:

  1. The design team reviews the design objectives and chooses a facilitator to keep track of iteration time.
  2. The facilitator begins the first design iteration and each designer sketches a concept to meet the design objectives.  This is the first design iteration.
  3. After t minutes are up, the facilitator instructs the designers to pass their sketch to the left or right.  Designer j passes their sketch to designer j + 1, and designer n passes their sketch to designer 1.
  4. Each designer then adds, subtracts, or otherwise modifies the sketch passed to them for t minutes.  This is the second design iteration.
  5. Steps 3 and 4 are repeated for n – 2 more iterations.