31 Aug 2007

Why do architects draw so sloppy, but write so neat?

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Question Why do architects draw so sloppy and write so neat?

Answer We don’t really nor do we intentionally draw sloppy. The shaky line drawings we produce are a rapid sketch technique to illustrate ideas. A picture is worth a thousand words, so we draw free hand to capture, explore and evolve design concepts. Straight-edge lines and today’s CAD programs may stifle creativity because when we produce a conceptual drawing, it’s so crisp you start thinking about light switch placement when we’re still addressing function relations and architectural vocabulary.

I can’t tell you how many people have complimented architects on their crisp and distinct lettering. The most common questions people ask me are “Did they teach you how to letter in architecture school?” and “Why do all architects write alike?” No one teaches us how to do it. It’s something we acquire and we can tell everyon’e lettering apart — to us handwriting is like fingerprints — no two are the same.

About the Author

Your Architect is Eric Faulkner -- an architect licensed in Texas & Oklahoma with 29 years experience in design, construction observation and life.