Book review: Learning Curves

Book review: Learning Curves

A review of “Learning Curves”, the new book on design sketching written by designers Allan Macdonald and Klara Sjölén and published by KEEOS Design Books AB.

Learning Curves – An inspiring guide to improve your design sketch skills” is a just-released title that joins a small niche of books which deal with sketching for the industrial and product design fields.

Learning Curves - Concept Car Sketch

In 177 pages Scania Trucks senior designer Allan Macdonald and studio engineer Klara Sjölén go through all the aspects involved in design sketching, presenting a rich collection of information, tips and inspiration, alternated with explicative sketches from 60 designers working in different fields, from automotive design to product and fashion design.

The first chapters provide an introduction on sketching and the reasons and philosophy behind it, and cover some basic theory such as perspective, lighting, line weight, traditional and digital tools.

The second half of the book is fully dedicated to design presentations, and presents many communication techniques and tools as well as some case studies that demonstrate the ideation and development process.

Learning Curves - BMW Concept Sketch Each chapter is filled with general and specific tips, as well as suggestions of practical exercises that can help the reader improve his/her design skills.

Some chapters also include sections dedicated to specific designers, who in a semi-interview style explain their approach and workflow and share some personal experiences.

“Learning Curves” is not targeted to total beginners, nor is it intended to provide an in-depth guide on the any of the covered topic – which would require en entire book for each subject.

Instead, all the techniques are concisely presented in the context of their contribution to the main goal, which is to present ideas in the best way possible and bring them to the next step towards production.

Learning Curves page Learning Curves page Learning Curves page

Throughout the book, the authors always keep focused on the importance of sketching as the most direct and effective tool for designers to explore and develop their concepts as well to have fun while doing it.

Learning Curves page Learning Curves page

The writing style helps the reader focus on the subject: it is concise, pleasantly informal and dense of information.

Learning Curves page Learning Curves page Learning Curves page

Learning Curves Cover

After having read it, what strikes most is the quality and the impressive quantity and variety of the information included, which would take very long time to gather and select from other sources.

This makes “Learning Curves” a must-have instructional and reference book for any design student or professional interested in learning, reading more, or just finding new ideas.

“Learning Curves” can be ordered online from KEEOS Design Books AB for $54.95 / €39.95.

For more information visit

Book Information

  • Number of pages: 177
  • Language: English
  • Softcover ISBN: 978-91-633-8952-8

About the Authors

Allan Macdonald is a senior exterior designer at Scania Trucks. He is the founder and owner of, and also works as a sketching tutor in various design universities, including Umeå Institute of Design.

Allan has previously worked for Volvo Trucks in Sweden and Rover cars in the UK, and holds a MDes in Transportation Design from Coventry University in England.

Klara Sjölén is a freelance studio engineer at Scania. She graduated with a BFA from Umeå Institute of Design 2005 and holds a separate MSc from Chalmers Institute of Technology.

Klara has previously worked for Bombardier and other clients, both in industrial design and design engineer roles. She is also the co-author of “Design Sketching”.

(Image Courtesy: Allan MacDonald and Klara Sjölén)

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  1. Allan James Macdonald

    Thanks for the great review of the book CBD. For those who are interested, you can also join Learning Curves on facebook here,

    (via Facebook)


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