PLACE Designers | Digitizer

When I got to my first full time job after my schooling was complete, I felt the pressure.  Everything was new and different.  Not only were all my surroundings unfamiliar, but I had responsibility!  I had a wife in school, a mortgage, and bills to pay.

The job was very demanding, and my boss difficult to understand.  He had very little time and would give us assignments and rush off without much of an explanation.  I always felt that my job was in danger because I often interpreted his requests incorrectly, at least in the first six months.  (Later I learned that my experience was very common, and that my performance was in line with expectations.)

One time he dropped off a pen sketch and asked me to draw it.  It was very sketchy, just a lot of quick strokes going parallel and perpendicular.  I drew it as closely to his sketch as I could in the computer, in CAD.  In fact it looked very similar.  When my boss saw it he was irate!  “What is this?  Do you even know what you are drawing?”  In fact I didn’t.

The sketch was a quick approximation of a historically correct facade, with columns, pediment, and various other appropriate details.  He did not need a replica in CAD.  What he needed was an accurate drawing in CAD, and to do that I needed to understand what a correct column was, what traditional detailing was.  The very important point I learned was:  DO NOT DRAW ANYTHING UNTIL YOU UNDERSTAND IT.  There is no way to get it right, and it is a waste of time.  I try to convey that to designers today.  Whatever the detail you are working on, stop and talk to someone or do research.  Make sure that you understand what you are drawing.  Once you understand what the components represent and how they work together you can do a good job presenting the information.

That is also why I prefer the term “designer” to “drafter.”  I do not want anyone in my office to believe that they are only there to digitize what someone else has designed.  No, they must be thinking, designing, the entire time.

More to come soon.  If you want to get in touch please let me know!  Thanks for reading!

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