How to Write like an Architect

How to Write like an Architect

How to Write like an Architect

Writing like an architect isn’t just writing in all caps. Randomly, I’ll get asked, “Did they teach you how write like that in school?” The answer is yes and no. Yes, I spent too much time my freshman year trying to make perfect, Ching-approved block letters; but no, it wasn’t until I started lettering (for fun, in my free time) that I started to develop a lettering, however flawed, that was unique but also recognizable as architectish. This free time I used to practice the alphabet was often when I was supposed to be doing other things and didn’t want to fall asleep. Who needs coffee when I can turn over this meeting agenda and fill it with letters? Through inane critiques and redundant lectures, my pencil kept moving which helped me trudge through.

So this guy, Doug, made this video instructing you how to write like an architect. I don’t think you need anything other than paper, something to write with, and patience to start, but if you’d like to carry a small triangle in your shirt pocket nobody is going to stop you. I’m actually not crazy about his particular letters because they are harder to read but are uber architect-y.  The thrust of his advice is great: “Your letters need to seem animated while still appearing orderly and neat.” But it’s harder than it sounds and looks. Maybe you’ll have some free time soon to practice.

Alex

4 Comments How to Write like an Architect

  1. Tim July 20, 2011 at 8:20 AM

    I remember teaching myself to write like this after seeing it in an architecture book in 2nd grade. Never went back.

  2. Mary July 20, 2011 at 8:24 AM

    My undergrad degree is in set design and we had to learn how to letter, but the lettering I was taught was clear and easy to read. We were encouraged to use the Ames lettering guide’s sloped side on our diagonals and used a circle template on our semi-circles. We also used a super sharp lead in a lead holder instead of a mechanical pencil and rotated the pencil along the straight edge to produce a perfect line that was thick at both ends and thin in the middle, even on letters. I don’t think I make anything with that much purpose and deliberation any more. It drove me nuts. I just didn’t have the patience for drafting when I was 18-years-old. I went to school in the late 90s and I came into the program as the only kid who knew Photoshop and Illustrator. I loved my undo button and was glad to give up on real materials. My natural handwriting was super messy and stylized (still is), so having lettering as a separate font has actually really helped over the years, but I’m happy to not have to letter every single thing.

  3. TheDoctorJones July 20, 2011 at 9:26 AM

    is there a practical use for this type of lettering in architecture? i agree with you…the lettering in that video, especially when strung together in a full sentence, is really difficult to read.

    i’d assume you’d want any writing on blueprints to be ULTRA legible.

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