Tips + techniques for learning how to write like an architect. Sharing my favorite tools, worksheets, and reference materials you can use to learn the graphic conventions architects use to annotate their sketches. An updated guide to help you develop your own personal architectural lettering style.
Even though digital production has made the architectural handwriting tradition less essential, I would argue learning a handwriting style is still a relevant exercise. As visual people, it forms a significant part of our personal graphic style. So, whether you're an architect, a student, a graphic designer, or simply journaling each day, developing a legible, clear, and consistent handwriting style remains important.
2:09 Style guide + letter-by-letter tutorial
9:41 Why - I think - you should bother learning this to write like this
The Origin Story
I didn't mention this in the video, but it's interesting to know how this style of writing came to be. Before the computer, teams of people were responsible for drafting a set of architectural drawings. A floor plan may have been started by one draftsman and then passed off to be revised and finished by many others. This meant that all the hand lettered notes and dimensions had to be graphically consistent between each draftsman. Of equal importance was clarity and legibility as a misinterpreted note could have made for a costly construction error. Upper case letters were visually distinct from one another and thus difficult to confuse with other letters as one might with a lowercase “L” and a lowercase “I” for example. There were compositional reasons for choosing uppercase letterforms too. Because upper case letters lack descenders - that is, no part of the letter goes below the baseline, they were much easier to lay out as graphic elements on the page and it allowed more information to be compressed in a smaller area.