3 Things You Need To Know To Design An Awesome Sketch

I was taught “you learn by doing”. Everyday, I roll up my sleeves and find new ways to be better, not only in my career, but at my personal and family life as well.

The big picture issue was to reduce the number of RFIs(Request For Information) that comes through the office. After a few projects, a pattern will arise and it came down to the begin process of sketching.

Well how is sketching define?

A SKETCH is a rough or unfinished drawing, often made to assist in making a more finished picture.

Why is sketching important? 

Sketching breaks down 3 components: Understanding, Clarity, and Direction.

You must understand the plans completely on your own. Your perspective of the drawing is the fresh set of eyes that is needed to produce quality drawings. Drawing details and defining them with a color system can give your sketch clarity when it is time to have someone reviewing them. And once all feedback is understood, your final sketch should have better direction for your drafter and the contractor.


Research is the most important thing. The best sketches come from the time and researching every inch of the plans. Take the time and really think about what the plan are trying to explain. I recommend doing this part completely on your own. Like I stated earlier, your thoughts and your findings are very important to the project. You will have time to hear your principle’s thoughts later. For now, find the story.

Color shows clarity. Take a moment with your drafter and discuss colors of communication for your markups. This will set a guide line and rules that you and the other party can clearly understand. Here are the three main colors that are common for markups: Red, green, and blue. These colors are basic colors every office should have.

Now that your colors are in order, it is time to give them a name. No, not Justin, JC, Joey, and Lance (I still love Nsync) but the purpose of them. Here is how I use my color. Red markups are for items that need to be displayed on the sheet. Blue markups are for communicating with the drafter, like how to draw something from another disciple, hatching is too dark or light, see previous markup, view port scale, similar detail, add a new sheet, or move detail to the next sheet. Green markups are for removing or question and answer or unknowns like make an equipment pad 2’x3’x2′ without a dimension (need to confirm with mechanical engineer).

Then, confirm your sketch with the necessary people directly involved. What are their thoughts? What are their directions?

Direction is the key.  How is this going to be built? Pretend like you are talking directly to the contractor or my favorite pretend that this a Lego set for the building and how are they to lay it out. Depression, elevations, items, spacing, lengths, be as detailed as possible. My favorite for details is having a plan and section view for the each of my details; and if it is over complanted the 3d view in Revit is perfect for this type of situations.
If you are unclear on your details this could cause issues during constructions which causes (the very bad word )”change orders” to come up. Have a firm grasp by reviewing the detail with the architect and your senior designers to make sure there are not complications down the road.

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