Lett Eking Drawings

Objects anil Requirements in Lettering, faults the Beginner should avoid. The Relative Sizes for Titles. The chief Types of Letters. Names and Characteristics — Roman, Stone, Block, Italics, Egyptian, Stump. Numerals. Alphabets. Details of Lettering— necessity of uniform .-.ize, how to obtain it. The Proper Slope. Balance- how to ensure it. Proportion of Letters. Spacing—its difficulties. What to aim at to obtain Uniformity. Optical Corrections. Points of Detail. Right and wrong methods of forming Letters. Tools to use

The proper lettering of technical drawings is a matter of almost equal importance with the preparation of the drawings themselves. By the term " lettering " is meant the writing in of titles, reference notes, numerals, directions, etc., upon drawings.

Various other terms have been used to describe this operation, including titling, writing, printing, noting, etc. None of these seem correctly or comprehensively to describe the operation. " Lettering " would appear to come nearest to an accurate definition, as we must first form letters before we can obtain words.

Letters and alphabets have, in their fundamental characteristics, a conventional or orthodox form which it is not wise to depart from too widely. It may be taken for granted that the object aimed at in lettering drawings is to make the drawing plainer or more understandable to the reader, and anything that detracts from this object is obviously out of place, however artistically interesting or curious it may be in itself.

A certiiin amount of freedom and individuality of style is not only allowable but is desirable, and adds to the beauty


and interest of a drawing, lmt beginners especially, should guard against a tendency to produce grotesque caricatures of letters, under the mistaken idea that unfamiliar shapes are necessarily artistic. Before one can " invent " new designs in letters, the history of their evolution or development must be studied, when it will be found that there is a reason for the shapes, characteristics and proportions that have become conventionalised.

This is not the place to consider the evolution of alphabets with a view to their improvement. We must be satisfied with providing a suitable type of lettering for technical drawings, as adopted by expert draughtsmen in the best architectural and engineering offices at the present time, and to describe the readiest and most workmanlike methods of prorlucing them.

The beginner would do well to confine himself to one or other of the alternative examples given, and to acquire a thorough mastery of the particular type chosen before attempting to produce a style of his own.

It will be as well to remember that, whilst ugly, careless, illegible lettering will spoil the appearance of the best and most accurate drawing, a ba'lly executed drawing is made no more acceptable by being well lettered.

The characteristics of the style chosen should be noted, and the common fault of using two or more different styles in the same w ord or line should be avoided. For instance, it would be wrong to use the " a " of No. 3, page 37, with the styles shown in Nos. 11 and 13, or say, the " e " of No. 5 with type No. 8

The use of many types or even different sizes of the same type of letter on a drawing is to be deprecated, as conveying a sense of unrest to the observer. Good draughtsmen usualb' content themselves with three, or, at the most, four, sizes of letters upon one drawing : " large" for the main heading, " medium " for sub-titles and " small " for details. When a note calling special attention to some particular part is required, a special type is used, quite different from

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Example of proportion and spaciriff _ _Nt /¡. Reference Note on Drawing.

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Details or Moulding, panel::: of small to large letters No 8.

Types of Lettering for Technical Drawing


the rest, as shown at No. n, page 37. The terms " large," " medium " and " small" are. of course, purely relative, and not indicative of the size (see Fig. 13, page 37). The actual sizes of the letters chosen must depend upon the size of the drawing or its scale, and no hard and fast rule can he given for this, as so much depends on circumstances, but as some guide to the beginner it may be stated that the " heading " No. 2, if made twice the size printed, or say | in. high, would be a suitable size for double elephant drawing sheets —i.e. 40 in. x 27 in., and No. 7 made in. high would be suitable for headings upon imperial sheets.

Before entering into the details of sparing and the forma tion of letters, it will be as well to give the technical names of the various types illustrated, and draw attention to their characteristics. It may also be pointed out that the terms used here are those of draughtsmen and lithographers. Printers and sign write« in some cases use different terms; so also do stone and metal engravers. In fact, the nomenclature of alphabets is somewhat chaotic, and it is deemed advisable to adhere to those definit ions commonly used by modern technical draughtsmen and map makers.

Roman (No. 1).—This example shows two sizes of capitals termed byprinters, "upper case " hitters, and further defined by them as " caps, and small caps." The terms, " upper case " and " lower case." which are now getting into text-books, are printers, or rather compositors', terms indicating capital type letters and small type letters, and these do not indicate any special style of letter. For convenience of composing, the small letters, which are most frequently required, are placed in a case close to the operai or, and those less frequently required —i.e. capitals-in a case above ; hence the terms, upper and lower case.

The characteristics of Roman type are that the letters are upright, and have " serifs " or projections beyond the limb of the letter. Originally the serif was a fine line used for the purpose of cuffing off or squaring the ends of the stroke. Serifs are employed in other types, but in the

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