Are you old enough to remember real-pen plotters? They had a captive audience in me, mesmerizing the way they ran their pens seemingly-randomly over large pages of paper for long bits of time to end up with meaningful plots, often on tracing paper.
They were big, capricious, noisy beasts no one liked sitting close to, consequently not many shed-a-tear when the last of them left the office to be replaced by a large scale printer.
There was one thing though that they did better than the new ones:
Kept us ‘honest’. Made us think carefully as we set out the drawing sheets.
‘Is it really necessary to introduce another sheet just to show that? Can we group details better to balance the page?’
The ‘post-production’ process was laborious too – the tracings were copied through the traditional blueprint machines – the smell still lingers somewhere in the back of my head.
These days the art of laying drawings out has all by gone.
I rarely see conscious effort behind drawings with the aim to help comprehension.
We often receive thousands of sheets with very little information on them accompanied by few crammed with lots but hard to depict, especially when the sheets are reduced to smaller formats.
I wrote a bit on the subject when I floated my ‘picture book documenting concept’*, more on it again, soon.
* look up two Jan 2011 posts, published on the 14th and 17th