In 2009 Italian Designer Gianluca Gimini began challenging friends and strangers with the seemingly simple task of drawing a bicycle from memory. If you’ve ever found yourself at a loss while drawing without a reference, you may have guessed just how far off many of the results were.
Gimini has since collected hundreds of bicycle drawings and taken to the task of reproducing them as photorealistic renderings with often quirky and whimsical outcomes.
From Gimini’s perspective, the project demonstrates the potential for people from diverse backgrounds, and of any skill level, to generate creative concepts. But perhaps the project can offer other insights too. The surprising inaccuracy in people’s abilities to depict something as commonplace as a bicycle highlights how much we sometimes miss, even when we think we are looking. In design this is reflected in the value of in depth observation, where examining the details of products, users, and contexts can shed light on things we didn’t know that we didn’t know.
While many of the sketches don’t immediately seem so far fetched, the detailed renderings bring to light those aspects that are not quite right. This can also teach an important design lesson: the importance of prototyping.