Best Practices for Crazy Eights

Crazy eights is a popular design ideation exercise intended to help you think of several ideas in record time. This is one of many possible ways to ideate. You’ll develop ideation methods that work best for you as you explore them over time. What’s important is to put your ideas on paper in a just eight minutes. Crazy Eights is a great way to get ideas flowing for any design problem you need to solve. With Crazy Eights, you’ll sketch eight different designs, each with a new idea for solving the user’s problem.

  • Start with a large sheet of paper. Fold the paper in half, then fold it in half again, then in half one more time. When you unfold the paper, you’ll have eight squares to sketch in.
  • Grab something to draw with. A lot of designers prefer to draw using Sharpies, but a pencil or pen will work too. You can use whatever you already have to draw.
  • Set your timer to eight minutes. You’ll have one minute to sketch each design idea.
  • Let the ideas flow. Draw any and every solution that comes to your mind. If you have more than eight ideas, feel free to repeat the exercise.
Damaged Drone Delivery Report Flow by Lylyna Heng

Just like that, you’ve got eight potential design solutions! This activity is usually done in a group setting, where each person draw eight sketches on their own. Then the group comes together to decide on their favorite ideas. Each person shares their top two or three ideas with the whole group, or each person may vote on their favorite sketches from across the team. The best ideas chosen will usually be elaborated on through more detailed sketches.

Best practices

Now that you know how to do a Crazy Eights exercise, check out some tips to make your creativity flow freely while you sketch.

  • Do a creative warm-up exercise. Complete an activity where you draw the person next to you without looking at your paper, or have everyone draw their own interpretation of a word or phase. Starting to put pen to paper like this will get you in the mindset to sketch.
  • Make sure your problem is well defined. Develop a set of Crazy Eights for one How Might We question or one problem statement at a time.
  • Don’t judge your ideas. Ideating is all about creating lots of ideas, not creating perfect ones! Sketch any and every idea you have until your paper is full, no matter how crazy it might seem.
  • Include a diverse group. Since Crazy Eights are often done in a group setting, it’s best that your group represents a variety of work roles, experiences, abilities, genders, and backgrounds. This will help your team have a wide range of ideas to choose from.
  • Ideate in a comfortable environment. Do this exercise in a location that’s relaxed and encourages creative thinking. It’s always great to get out of your normal work space for creative exercises.

Benefits of Crazy Eights

Crazy Eights is an exciting design ideation exercise that generates a lot of ideas in a small amount of time. If you have five people do the exercise at the same time, you’ll have 40 potential solutions after only eight minutes. That’s a lot of ideas!

Crazy Eights also forces you to think outside the box because you have to come up with many ideas in a short timeframe, without judging them. This means that you will have lots of unique, nontraditional solutions to consider. This activity is meant to be fun and fast paced, so enjoy yourself. Let your creativity flow without judgement, and come up with some awesome ideas!

To learn more about how a company called Switch uses the Crazy Eights exercise, check out this article, Crazy Concept Ideation with Crazy Eights.

Good Luck!

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