Back to the drawing board

Hands of drawing architect

If your plan fails, then you need to go back to the drawing board and start again. If you go back to the drawing board, it means that you are going to have to start your plans or designs again from scratch. It's usually because something was a total failure.

Here are some examples of how to use this phrase:

  • The client did not like our pitch. We need to go back to the drawing board and develop something better!
  • Our users hated the first design, so we decided to go back to the drawing board.

It's also a good way to respond:

A: This isn't working at all.
B: Back to the drawing board! We'll come up with something great. Don't worry.

Did you know? A drawing board is an architect's or draughtsman's table, used for the preparation of designs or blueprints.