6-3-5 (C-sketch)

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What is 6-3-5 (C-sketch)?

Collaborative sketching, or C-sketch is a rapid way to generate and build upon the ideas that you and your team members have.

Why 6-3-5 (C-sketch)?​

C-sketch is effective because it helps to provide different perspectives or insights into the solutions that are hidden from the sketcher.

The design team can produce over 100 ideas with the help of this method!

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Process Phase



1 hour



Paper, Markers of different colours

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Method Card Reference

DI Method Cards_Compiled Deck_Version 2.
DI Method Cards_Compiled Deck_Version 2.



Divide Paper

  • Sit around a table. Each participant should be seated far enough from one another and comfortable to express their ideas
  • Divide the paper into 3 sections



  • Take 15 minutes where each design team member sketches 3 diverse ideas with brief text labels in regions of their paper


Pass and improve

  • Pass the paper to the member next to you. Take 10 minutes to improve on the ideas or sketch an entirely new idea. Similarly, drawings and annotations are acceptable.

  • Repeat Step 3 until the papers return to the owners.


Discuss & Refine

  • Discuss and refine the solutions

  • Explanation can be given at this stage doubts can be clarified

Best Practices



Be Silent

Lack of communication between the team members may sprout very differing solutions due to their own perspective. Questions should be kept until the end of the entire sessions and be asked later. 


Be Positive

Negative comments and malicious remarks make people discouraged and restrict them from voicing out their ideas in the future. The assessment of the idea's feasibility should also not be made during C-sketch.


Be Free

If there is no more ideas that can be added to the paper, be daring to use the ideas as inspirations to create an entirely novel idea.



Get users involved as participants in the 6-3-5 (C-sketch) method


Demo Video

This video gives you a walk-through on how to do a 6-3-5 (C-sketch), through a worked example of a Autonomous Vehicle Design Challenge.

This is an additional video on 6-3-5 (C-sketch)



Here are examples of 6-3-5 (C-sketch) done with various products.


  1. Shah, J.J., Vargas‐Hernandez, N.O.E., Summers, J.D. and Kulkarni, S., 2001. Collaborative Sketching (C‐Sketch)—An idea generation technique for engineering design. The Journal of Creative Behavior, 35(3), pp.168-198.

  2. Otto, K. N., and K. L. Wood. "Product design: techniques in reverse engineering and new product development." (2001).

  3. Tversky, B., & Suwa, M. (2009). Thinking with sketches. In A. B. Markman & K. L. Wood (Eds.), Tools for innovation: The science behind the practical methods that drive new ideas (pp. 75-84). New York, NY, US: Oxford University Press. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195381634.003.0004

  4. Camburn, Bradley A., Jan M. Auernhammer, Karen Hui En Sng, Paul J. Mignone, Ryan M. Arlitt, K. Blake Perez, Zack Huang, Subarna Basnet, Lucienne T. Blessing, and Kristin L. Wood. "Design Innovation: A Study of Integrated Practice." In ASME 2017 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference (IDETC), pp. V007T06A031-V007T06A031. American Society of Mechanical Engineers, 2017.

  5. Teo, K., Wee, Y., Swee, A., Altybayeva, A., Gopal, M., Kamiso, N., Foo, D., Lauff, C., Wood, K.L., “Design Innovation (DI) Learning Modules,” SUTD-MIT International Design Centre (IDC), SUTD, Singapore, idc.sutd.edu.sg, 2018.