Tadao Ando is a self-taught Japanese architect who designs spaces for heightening and enhancing one's own ability to connect with nature and reflect on life. Unlike the architects of today who persevere through a minimum of five years of college studies, Ando learned to design sensuous spaces outside of the formal education system. He did this by apprenticing carpenters and designers, visiting impressive buildings around the world, and tracing the work of master architects who came before him.
Not dissimilar from the "copywork" students do throughout our newest course, UX Academy Foundations, Ando embraced copying as a learning technique. The story goes that the young Ando was perusing a secondhand bookstore when he came across an unaffordable book of Le Corbusier's sketches. After weeks of saving, he purchased this bound archive of Le Corbusier's sketches and let the drawings flood his thoughts and train his hand by reproducing them. Ando recalls,
I traced the drawings of his early period so many times, that all pages turned black. In my mind I quite often wonder how Le Corbusier would have thought about this project or that.
Today, Tadao Ando is one of the world's most celebrated and awarded architects whose portfolio spans well over 100 architectural masterpieces worldwide.
How Can Copywork Help Me Learn UI Design?
Reproducing existing designs can help an individual understand why and how those designs work.
The most important thing to note is copywork, as we call it, is very different from plagiarism. We never encourage passing off someone else's work as your own. However, we strongly believe in the practice of copying designs in educational settings because it doesn't just help with learning technical tools, like Figma, Sketch, or Adobe XD—it forces interpretation.
The copywork students pursue in Foundations challenges you to recreate layouts, buttons, grid systems, icons, and many more elements that culminate in landing pages or mobile apps, for example. The interfaces being copied have the highest reputation in the field of UI/UX design. These copywork projects therefore diversify students' technical skillsets and are regularly updated to help students stay attuned to design trends.