Last time I discussed some of the changes we have made in Revit to improve consistency in tags and the standard colors we use for presentations. This week I will discuss some of the graphic changes we have made to improve clarity on the drawings. Many of the graphic standards used by architects follow the style of hand drawings. CAD drawings have been around for over 30 years, yet most of the standards have not changed. It’s important to examine if things should change.
Fonts have a significant effect on drawing clarity. Years ago, we started with the standard architect font which best mimicked hand lettering. It provided that nostalgic feeling of days before computers. However, the heavy hand of the font required larger fonts for legibility. We ended up switching to a font that matched our logo, then changed again two years ago, when we updated our logo. Before we accepted the new font, we carefully examined how it reads in a variety of applications. When reviewing fonts for our drawings, we are not just looking at the written words but how the numbers look.
When we dimension doors, windows, etc. on floor plans we select the centerline of the object. Up until last month, we used the CL symbol on the end of the dimension line extension. Why? Because that’s how we have always done it. Don’t you hate that reason? Adding this text to the dimension lines takes up more room on the plans and can make it hard to read. Many of us enjoy blogger, Bob Borson, a fellow architect that blogs about his experiences as an architect. While reading one of his blogs we noticed he doesn’t use the typical CL note for his centerlines. Instead he used a circle in lieu of dimension tick. We decided to try it out and we loved how much it cleaned up our dimension lines. This greatly reduced the space we need to show dimension text, so we decided to switch our centerline symbol for dimension lines.
The last five years we have seen a dramatic increase in contractors using laptops, iPad’s, or large screens at the jobsite, for estimating, and project management. No longer were they solely relying on printed drawings. Since the contractors are now using digital media, why should we keep our drawings black and white? We decided to add some color to our drawings to help highlight our door, window, and wall tags. These tags direct contactors to other drawings for more information so making them stand out in color made sense. We even used our standard color palette we discussed in last weeks blog to pick our colors.
Work is always progressing in an architecture office so there is never a good time to change standards. But if you can find a way to make the drawings clearer to the contractors its going to make for a better bid and fewer change orders, which makes it worth it. Don’t be afraid to examine changing your standards because you know how much work it takes to implement the change. If it’s better, do it.