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Is Your First Draft Your Best Draft?

By Char

go-with-your-gutBack when I was in high school I always did better on tests if I just went with the first answer that came to my head. If I over thought my answers, I would invariably screw something up.

I am in the process of working on a new client project and part of the requirement was that I produce three different mock ups (yes, I am being compensated for all three designs) from which the client could pick their favorite aspects.

I did a handful of pencil sketches (David Airey would be proud of me) and then set out to work. I had been given some general guidelines of what they were looking for, but nothing too concrete.

Needless to say, I loved the first concept. Coming up with two other design concepts became much more challenging. I did manage to come up with the other mock ups, but I just didn’t like either one nearly as much.

We had a meeting with the client today to review all the concepts. Guess which one they liked best? The first one I did – with a few minor tweaks.

I am still glad I did all three versions because it gave me an even better feel for what elements the client is very passionate about (positive or negative).

How about you? Are you like me – a go with your gut kind of gal? Or are you a big time brainstormer, edit, re-edit, review, re-edit kind of a person?



I’m like you – a go with my gut kinda gal :)

I find when I edit, re-edit, review and re-review I tend to over think things too much and end up with a mess!


Lisa – I am so glad to hear I am in good company!


I am not a gal. I always have gone with my gut feeling, and have suffered sometimes. But thats the way I am, I back my instincts, and put in a 100% thereafter. The best part about it is I dont have to waste time editing things.

It does need a lot of self confidence though. But if you are confident this adds focus to your work.


I am proud, Char. ;)

Now, where are those sketches?

That’s great your client was happy with one of your options. That’s half the battle sometimes.


I would like to see the sketches too!

I agree with you, my first idea is generally the best, but that doesn’t always mean the client picks it. On numerous occasions clients have picked in my opinion one of the weaker designs.


Basketer – welcome to the go with your gut club.

David & Tara – I’ll try to get them scanned in at some point today and share them with you. They are very basic layout sketches, but hey, they are sketches.

It makes life so much easier when the client likes something the first time through.


Sometimes giving a client two inferior options can make it easier for them to choose the best one. I think it’s easier for a client to choose the best one from several than to make a yes/no decision on just one design. I tend to go with my gut when it’s my own stuff, but when I’m doing something for someone else, I almost always give options unless it’s a full blown web site. It takes too much time to do multiple mock-ups of a site, so it’s good they paid for all of them.


I tend to love the first version of things, myself. But… it has been my experience that if forced to come up with an alternative (for whatever reason), I can often come up with something I like better! It may be built on the original, or not.

Maybe the added pressure causes the creative juices to flow better?

However, if I have one good idea, and too much time, I’ll pick it to death. I’d rather just deliver it and move on.


I have to say, I’m an editor. Or, I should be.

I used to just go with the first draft (still do, most of the time), and doing so worked. I put out pretty good work.

But I’m finding that the more I edit, the cleaner and cleaner it gets. Some of this, I think, is due to becoming a better editor — I know what to change, and what not to. That’s the expertise of discernment that grows with being open to editing my own stuff (which took a while!)

At the same time, because I’m more open to editing, I’m also writing & producing a lot faster in the first go-round. And that’s a good thing, because I resisted editing for so long because of the extra time it took.


All through school and university I have gone with my gut (my current work doesn’t really have me making decisions as such).

I felt bad about it, especially in exams. I never even checked my work after finishing an exam, I was either out of time or finished so quickly it couldn’t possibly be wrong!

Still, it’s got me to where I am now, a degree and a job, so I can’t complain!


“Back when I was in high school I always did better on tests if I just went with the first answer that came to my head” I can related to that! Sometimes I still do that with my exams ..MCQ
I guess the first one come’s off as a “fresh” idea as opposed to the ones that came later. I saw the designs and like most of them!



I’m definitely a “go with the gut” kinda gal… ;)

The only problem I run into sometimes is telling a client that I feel the first thing I did is the best, only to have them insist of using something else – and the client is always right, right?


I don’t think that this type of one-shot trial works for all occasion, take blogging for e.g your first draft would be shit, like Hemingway said lol. Writing needs editing, and re-editing to make the point as clear as possible.

While design may not need such over-trial process, perhaps all the fresh ideas come first and due to a lack of ideas and inspiration, further drafts get worse.

I particularly design around a minimalist approach so my greatest motto is : is there anything to remove? lol :) perhaps my further design drafts would consist of this, removing and removing less important details :)

I really like reading Bokardo for this reason :)

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