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Drawing and Digital Drawing

What does the modern drafting table look like? Designers use a mix of multimedia tools and techniques when modelling a space and its interior during each stage of the design process, including conception, presentation, and construction. Manual drafting, digitally and by hand, demands a broad skillset from designers that combines creativity and precision with proficiency, both in the technology they use and their technique. This is our guide to drawing in the twenty-first century.



Architect engineer drawing plans on a blueprint
Hand drafting

Presentation is everything. Whether you are a designer pitching presentation sheets to potential clients or drafting construction documents for contractors, clarity, style and precision are vital. The essential elements of these two types of hand-drafted drawings are summarized in this concise, demonstrative explainer for new practitioners. From title blocks to partition and ceiling plans, this chapter’s hand-drawn illustrations are themselves a great index for how to index your designs.


Shot of a young businesswoman working with blueprints in an office
Computer-aided design (CAD)

AutoCAD is one of the key computer programs for designers when manual drafting and an important tool for sketching digitally. Step-by-step visual instructions layout the roadmap to creating your digital drawings and the journey that designers take when navigating AutoCAD’s user-interface. Explore how to use Dynamic Inputs, the Command Prompt function, and the interactive resources available to you as part of the virtual drafting table.


Image representing the Revit Architecture interior design computer program
Revit 2020

Architectural design, by its nature, poses complex three-dimensional problems. Building Information Modeling (BIM for short) collects large datasets that describe every aspect of a building, and Revit Architecture is the most popular interior design computer program for organising and presenting this complex information in a single database. Read about Revit 2020 in this comprehensive introduction to the program.


half blueprint, half 3D-rendered image of an empty large retro restaurant bar with arched ceiling, large rounded windows, tables and bar stools
Merging hand sketching into digital

Hand-drawing and digital design are not mutually exclusive but compatible processes in manual drafting. “Proficiency in multiple media gives the designer the best of both worlds: the beauty and control of manual work paired with the power and speed of the computer”, writes Lydia Sloan Cline. In this in-depth, multidisciplinary chapter, readers will learn the fundamentals of a combined approach alongside the benefits of flexibly interchanging – and further merging – virtual and physical design.


Inclusive Design

Inclusive, or universal, design is about more than just incorporating all of the latest codes, compliances, and guidance when designing a space. It is the art of accommodating the widest array of peoples with a variety of abilities through every stage of their lifetime. It should be functional for neuro-normative children, wheelchair-bound seniors, deaf or blind persons, and everyone else who may enter the space. The space should also function within the culture it’s built, celebrating its uniqueness in a functional space in a way that it’s population will innately know how to interact.



The floor next to a shower is often a slick area. Light fixtures directed to this area could help to alert someone to a slippery surface.
Human Factors

Accessibility needs to be factored into for every type of disability, but inclusive design goes beyond including a ramp next to a set of stairs. A well-landscaped ramp can give everyone the same, equal, and easy access of a space. Human factors must also address the diversity and population of a culture, addressing elements like cultural, gender, generation, communication, spiritual needs, and more. Each in turn affect how the visual cues of a space are perceived.


Wayfinding placed into the floor design using a color-guided pattern to orient and move visitors and patients through this medical space. Helsinki, Finland
Psychology in your Environment

Culture, religion, and social aspects affect how a space is perceived, giving meaning to shapes, symbols, and even color. These are important factors in wayfinding, which help us navigate the complexities of the space around us. This can be something as simple as following the green line on the floor of a hospital to reach the right department or innately knowing that an octagonal red sign means STOP. Place also plays a role in understanding the space occupied. It provides a foundational understanding, giving its community purpose and control, whether they are entering a home, hospital, grocery store, or more.



Close-up of artist Joan Miro's sketchbook at the Fundacio Miro Mallorca museum, Palma de Mallorca, Spain, 1987
Diverse Design
Culture plays an important facture in space and the Western world is no longer the driving force of design innovation. With booming populations and expanding metropolitan centers, India is known for combining traditional elements into techno-savvy designs. As a large and varying country, local geography is combined into the designs of their buildings, highlighting influences from cultures like Iran, Tibet, China, Mongolia, Persia, and more. In contrast, Nigeria, though the most populous country in Africa, experiences roughly the same high-temperature environments, meaning designs incorporate cooling and dry functionalities, usually incorporating central courtyards in their designs to promote natural cross-ventilation.



Sustainable Design

Sustainability is a topic at the forefront of contemporary interior design today. Not only is it better for the environment, for one’s health, and cost efficient; it also has low maintenance, a longer life-cycle and recyclable possibilities. This includes understanding codes, pre-occupancy evaluation of the space, bringing in as many natural elements as possible, making conscientious choices in materials, and providing effective energy sources. 



Paperwork and hands on a board room table at a business presentation or seminar.
Introduction to Holistic Design

Before you can even start the design process, familiarize yourself with the codes to make sure you are adhering to green and sustainability standards. Discover the guiding theories and principles behind biophilia, cradle-to-cradle design, environmental and health factors. Explore how best to approach a holistic design for your space. 


Shot of a man designing a skateboard on his tablet in the workshop
Green Homes

Many factors play into the designing of a green home, most notably the climate and environment of your area. This could be the floor-to-ceiling windows characteristic in the American South to help stimulate airflow in the humidity and heat or it could mean choosing insulating materials for your Alaskan home to keep warm in the winter. However, green homes may also mean living in a multi-family structure like an apartment, condo, assisted-living facility, or government housing that is close to public transit.


Close-up of artist Joan Miro's sketchbook at the Fundacio Miro Mallorca museum, Palma de Mallorca, Spain, 1987
Interior Considerations

After you learned what makes a sustainable structure, it is time to incorporate environmentally friendly materials to your design. Include energy-efficient windows, choose fabrics treated in less harmful chemicals, and up-cycled countertops for your kitchen. Bring in as much natural lighting as possible into the space, replace light bulbs with more energy-efficient LED bulbs, and use lamps as much as possible instead of overhead lighting. Find out what choices you can make to help your environment.