How to Write Like An Architect (+ Worksheet)

How to Write Like An Architect (+ Worksheet)


Whether you’re a graphic designer an artist
future architecture student or someone who’s just interested in bullet journaling, architectural
letter forms are among the clearest handwritten styles that you can learn. So in this video I’m going to teach you how
to write like an architect and you’ll learn all the stylistic hallmarks so be sure to
grab the free PDF download that I have linked up in the cards and the description down below
that’ll help you get started in developing your own architectural lettering style. There’s just a couple of things you need no
triangles or anything no special tools the only special thing you might want to pick
up is a roll of tracing paper. So architects use this in the studio all the
time it’s translucent so you can trace over things and what we do is we layer this upon
layer and create sketches that are different iterations of design ideas works great for
practicing your lettering because it’s translucent so you can layer it over the lettering worksheet
that I’ve created and you can download these for free check the link in the cards and the
description below and that has some blank sheets and also sheets that have some of the
letter forms written out for you so you can trace over them so the important part about
the media that you use is that it’s very smooth that’s going to be allow you to create the
letter forms very easily. The nice thing about using the trace and the
layout sheet here the lettering worksheet is you don’t have to go and create the guides
yourself more traditionally you may have to go and strike out guidelines on your page
and that may be true if you’re doing this on another piece of paper or something that’s
not translucent. So we’ve got our media worked out second thing
you need to pay attention to is the pen that you’re going to be using or pencil you can
use a mechanical pencil this has a little bit more friction to it so I wouldn’t suggest
starting here. If you’re using trace the best combination
I’ve found is the Sharpie Ultrafine point this is a felt-tip pen you can also use a
Pilot Razor, a Copic Multiliner any felt tip pen will do. Great thing about this is that it just has
the right amount of drag on the page it’s not too sticky so it’ll be easier for you
to write with it. Let’s talk about the hallmarks of the style
first thing is proportion it wants to roughly be a square proportion so as wide as it is
tall the endpoints of your letter form should overlap just slightly and this allows you
to be not only create a more precise letter form but also it allows you to move more quickly
as you get up to speed and you get more practice with this overlapping those edges will allow
you to just move more quickly. Last thing we can talk about is how the horizontals
have a slight uptick to them and we’ll talk about each letter form individually but you
can see it’s about as wide as it is tall and we’re working to overlap here. When you’re practicing these letters and we
get onto the B here we have you are going to start with the vertical strokes first and
then move to the horizontal so vertical and you’ll notice here this is a sort of squashed
ellipse that forms the top part of the B and the bottom part is a little bit wider again
that square proportion and you’ll notice that they fit into a family of forms so that looks
like a P it could also be an R we’re using it to form our B so you want to be thinking
about these letters as part of a family of forms okay and work to achieve legibility,
consistency, and clarity. The C form is more of a squashed ellipse that
you don’t finish so they almost meet and it’s almost like it has some directionality to
it. The D is a vertical stroke a little bit of
a horizontal and then down to the baseline, keeping that square proportion. The E and F are very similar, vertical stroke,
horizontal, always have a slight uptick. Now with the E, I like the top stroke to be
short the middle stroke to be the longest and then the bottom stroke to be slightly
shorter than that. Keeping with our family of forms the F very
similar to the E whatever you choose to do with the E do with the F. The G is a C with
an arrow, C is a tricky one. The H you have some decisions to make either
the H the cross is in the top third of the H or it’s in the bottom third, so see which
you prefer. The I can also be confused with the one that’s
fairly straightforward I don’t draw the I and the one differently some people draw the
one with a little tick on the top because when I’m drawing ones I’m usually drawing
one foot four inches something like that so it makes sense I’d never mistake this for
an I. J is a vertical with a hook this hook is very similar to the angle on the D. The
K again is a top third down to the base line, vertical, top third, down to the base line. The L is going to be very similar to the U
and as you write this faster you’ll probably just hook around the corner as opposed to
doing two separate strokes but it’s good to get used to doing two separate strokes. The M, I form by coming all the way down to
the base line some people stop short of it this is one of the widest letters. The N is not quite square that’s another one
of those ones it’s not quite as wide as the M. The O is our ellipse. P is the first part of the B, some people
make the P like this more horizontally configured that’s fine you’d do the same for the B if
you chose to do that. The Q is our ellipse with a foot. The R starts as a P here again you may see
other styles that go for more horizontal treatment here, up to you. The S can be tricky and I go really slowly
on the S when I’m learning, keep it nice and wide, even proportions. The T, slight uptick on the horizontal. The U is like an L with a vertical. V is like you’re a without the crossbar. The W is similar to an M but the vertical
is canted very slightly. The X, nice and broad make sure to hit the
baseline that first one there it was not hitting the baseline. The Y we’re hitting in the upper third so
it’s like a flattened V and then the Z you can choose to add the crosspiece or not. Briefly talking about numbers, one is easy
you can add the tick at the top or not. Two is a big arc short horizontal. Three you want to keep the upper ellipse clipped
ellipse in the upper third, four we come down to the lower third, five is a short vertical
stroke large arc that shouldn’t come back to the vertical and then a short horizontal,
you see how that has some directional axis there. Six is like a C and you loop back to the baseline,
the seven we impart that slight angle again I don’t use the cross hash mark but you can. Eight again in the upper third with that top
ellipse and the nine you have two options the one that I do is almost like a P – a mirrored
P – the other option is to do an inverted six I just find that slower to make. Best way to practice numbers using your numbers
is in dimension strings so if you have an actual sketch or a drawing come into that
drawing and start putting some dimension strings so you can practice kerning the numbers. That’s in practice how you’ll be using these
typically on sketches. So one of the best reference books, and this
is from my days in school, this is by Frank Ching Architectural Graphics this is a fantastic
reference book and he actually he hand letters this entire book the whole thing is just done
in his handwriting so it’s it’s great for learning graphic conventions but it’s also
an excellent reference standard for architectural hand lettering forms and you can use these
to trace over and copy he’s got a really beautiful style so you can look at his numbers and his
alphabet, I’ll link this one up in the cards so you can find it on Amazon. So now that we have the computer and access
to any font we could possibly want why even bother investing the time it takes to learn
how to letter by hand? Well they say handwriting is autobiography
and I think it’s so true as visual communicators whether you’re an architect an artist, graphic
designer, student I think it’s important that you understand how handwriting forms your
personal visual style. This is just a means of communicating your
ideas to other people whether you’re in a client meeting or you’re sketching in your
sketchbook or you have a personal journal I think developing a handwriting style that’s
neat, legible, and consistent is important . So, good luck! Practice, practice, practice.

100 thoughts on “How to Write Like An Architect (+ Worksheet)

  1. Download the worksheet here: http://thirtybyforty.com/write-like-an-architect-worksheet
    Cheers my friends…

  2. i normally write like this and i always draw building blueprints and stuff before i knew it was alot more than drawings

  3. Thank you i got your worksheet. Writing like an architect sets up the mood and brings discipline to my practice.
    Even though there are so many machine made merchandise, we still see the hand made ones are the most luxurious items purchased.

  4. I've always been told that I have a handwriting of an architect, and watching this video makes me appreciate the style more. It takes time and so much control for a neat look.

  5. This is stupid, there is no definite style for architectural handwriting. Each handwriting is unique. However I've seen a lot of architects with bad handwriting and they should be told to write it more readable

  6. Nice! I think every architect has a unique handwriting. i hope you can make an video about layout technique in handwriting.

  7. That's not a good way to hold a pencil… Architectural lettering is known throughout the world as not very legible.. it's beautiful but legible? Sorry but no…
    The way you hold the pencil is disadvantageous for precision and control. If you're interested on the reasoning search j d harding on drawing trees and nature. Also you can search Paul Antonio to see how a pen is held "property". Not saying that that it's wrong. Whatever works i guess… But everyone that made the transition thanked me for nagging them…

  8. I naturally developed this style in my mid teens, unbeknownst it was even a style until a few minutes ago. It is very accurate and swift way of writing, bullet points and notes especially , also songwriters would find it useful as you can quickly jot down and draft your lyrics in a rhythmic way. Top vid.

  9. I'm not an architect but ever since I was small, I used that guide ruler used by my architect uncle and got used to tracing bold letters. From then on, I could only write in bold letters (clear and clean) and trying out cursive writing is a mess. It takes practice and patience to write like a machine btw.

  10. We spent a year lettering, had to learn how to write again. Has served me well in all forms of communication

  11. Tech lettering is becoming a lost skill in the age of CADD. But I am amazed and gratified that hand lettering is still being practiced, even if only in school. I learned 50 years ago with Dietzen technical pen and ink set before Cadd was even invented all hand drawing, drafting, and lettering. If you really want a real challenge try it on mylar film stock.

  12. Drawing scaled floor plans and elevations to precise fractions of an inch will make you an expert at wanting to choke someone

  13. I just found out I write like an architect…. almost. A lot of similarities with artistic flourishes sprinkled throughout.

  14. Thank you for this.. Im not even an architect but im going to study this..i really enjoyed your presentation.. Direct.

  15. Worth mentioning that architects often skip I and O in lettering column grids to avoid confusion with 1 and 0.

  16. Exactly what I was looking for! Thank you!! I have an idea about those those worksheets: I'm going to print them veeeery faintly, so's I don't need tracing paper. Smart, no? Thank you again.

  17. Like Civics & Geography, Pensmanship was something that I was taught early on in Public School, but most likely not even mentioned in today's curriculum. This ability was reinforced via electives like Mechanical Drawing classes. It's rare to see younger individuals who have a respectable & legible writing style.

  18. Do they really teach this to future architects at the university level? Miss Krabappl taught me how to print in grade 2.

  19. Seeing you how you draw your lines, can't pass to be an architect! Yours are crooked "american" lines, and I'm a European architect!

  20. Seams a lot like comic book dialogue lettering, which makes sense, they often use all caps and big clear arcs to make reading hand printed words at such a small size easier.

  21. I'm an architect and I've never written like that or have seen a colleague do it……… We also use pencil and paper most of the time

  22. I took a mechanical drawing class as an elective in jr high and have been hooked with printing like this ever since. Lol, little did I know that it would also tap into a then unknown stationary addiction. Notebooks, mechanical pencils and 0.5 mm pens all day, not to mention drafting tools. I kind of regret not having pursued architecture as a college major, but it's all good though. I appreciate the skills the earlier course has instilled in me.

  23. For just little nugget of knowledge, Architects were taught to letter/number alike from the old hand drawn documents days. When you sometimes had multiple people working on the same sheet (especially large commercial projects), you wanted similar drawing styles for sheet consistency. Not so much with CAD technology these days although I think us Architects still identify with our hand lettering giving us away. We used to spend hours in class just getting the lettering and numbering down 🙂

  24. In typical style, architects arrogate everything to themselves. This form of lettering to annotate drawings was developed by professional draughtsmen and women, not by architects. Some of whom worked for architects.

  25. Great video. Love your lettering. I’m not an architect, but am want to work on improving my handwriting. Just downloaded your worksheets. Thanks so much!

  26. I note that the worksheet says 3/16 ( inch )
    this happens to be the spacing on Moleskine squared cahiers
    I have found them to work well with Pilot Uniball Micro ( 0.5mm ) rolling ball pens
    a Sharpie Ultra Fine point will bleed a bit to the back, especially at the point the tip initially touches paper
    .. as Moleskines have tear-out pages ( perforated ) at the back, I have taken a few to make guide sheets ( outlining alternate rows of alternate squares ) which can then be used behind blank cahier pages

  27. I studied Architecture at The High School of ART & DESIGN in New York for 3 years and the most fun I had was creating the lettering for the various project assignments.

    Your tutorial was very helpful and brought back good memories.

  28. Stumbled upon your channel today. Absolutely stunning content and presentation. Thank you. Instant subscribe.

  29. Great How To Video, definitely giving me ideas for new how to videos on my CHANNEL !!❤❀ヅ❤♫ =P

  30. One of the best channels about architecture of the wolrd!!!! All videos, even when they're a simple-theme like this one, they're very inspiring. I don't know, maybe it's the song ahahahaha.

  31. Great style. Actually we have the same handwriting pattern & technique. We're in same profession and love all your works! Thanks for sharing.

  32. Hie eric great content…u have inspired me to start with s youtube channel….
    My channels is all about architectural topics
    Please view my channel and if u like it post your comments, share with your friends and click on thums up icon.

  33. Well said, yet I remain amazed at how "cruel" others whose penmanship is utterly illegible, requiring a rosetta stone to interpret what has been written. Oh! and BTW I can remember how our educational system would teach us how to correctly pen words, symbols, and numbers! Today, penmanship is not taught and it reflects poorly. Semper Fi

  34. I learned to letter in a drafting class in HS. When I got to architecture school, I had a professor actually ridicule my "draughtsman letters."

  35. I learned to hand letter way back in 19 and 92. The draftsman who taught my class was an old mechanical draftsman though, so the style was somewhat different. His reasoning for strict adherence to style was a bit more mercenary "All of you are interchangeable. Others will change and finish your drawings, you will change or finish other people's drawings. When nobody can tell your work from anyone else's, that's when you're doing it right." 🙂

  36. Hi, I am an Architecture student from Indonesia, have watched all of your course videos. It's very helping me. Thank you very much.
    But I have a question, where can I get the trace paper? I can't find it in my country 🙁

  37. Save the extra work because we were taught this lettering technique is college but nobody does it when you are in a hurry, which is 99% of the time. Just but a Rapidesign letter template R925. I am a mechanical engineer and Ive also done some civil work as a side gig. BTW I make my R the same as the 3rd P example but with a down stroke.

  38. I’m going into law but I’ve alway had this love of architectural design. I always strictly write in caps or bold writing and I can draw fairly well. In addition, I’m a quick learner when it comes to drawing techniques.

  39. So basically architecs write like you learn it in prescool…just a bit worse. But hey, you can read it and you cant say that about doctors and so on

  40. Over 50 years ago when I was a trainee architectural technician, the first lettering I did was with plastic stencils and pens. I tried different styles of freehand lettering but in the end produced consistent lettering in a rounded style. Years later having just started working at a fairly small practice in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, the senior partner was walking around, he looked at my drawing and told me not to use stencils as they wasted time. I took great delight in telling him that I hadn’t used stencils – it was all freehand annotation. Wish I still had that ability.

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