Industrial Design Handwriting

We all are familiar with the industrial design handwriting: black letters, all caps, and when words are together become a graphical element of a sketch page.

I’ve been wanting to learn how to do this, what are some good handwriting exercises to accomplish this?

I greatly improved once I started using that style as my everyday handwriting. Keeping a work logbook/sketchbook also gave me a lot more opportunities to write stuff out and do quick doodles to illustrate things. Finally, switching to a really fine pen helped me. With a fine pen, any inconsistency or wobble becomes supper apparent.

Just practice everyday. You can practice writing alphabets and other sentences. You may also note that beyond the letter forms there tends to be a grammatical style as well with very few words and often the articles are left of.

Find an old mechanical drafting book or hand lettering book to see the stroke order for letters. Don’t try to copy the lettering , just understand how letters are constructed. Then, practice, practice, practice, practice, practice, practice.

Maybe too much information but a starting point.

Something very helpful for me at first was lightly drawing baselines for your letters with a #2. It will help keep letters and lines parallel, evenly spaced, and well-proportioned. The baselines erase easily without messing up your work – regardless of pen, marker, prismacolor, etc.

…and just as important as the look of those letters, we designers need to do a better job with spelling and grammar. I might be in the minority, but I feel let down when reviewing a great idea visually represented with misspelled words and confusing grammar.

I’ve been trying to reduce the number of strokes per letter to increase my all-caps writing speed. I recently changed my uppercase E to look like a backwards “3”, which is way faster, for example. Now it’s all one stroke instead of four individual strokes. Surprisingly helpful.

Do one good one, then go digital with

Scan your sketches, add the text with Photoshop.

I remember being thought in a Rapid Viz class. We got a sample of a “typical” ID handwriting in all caps and we had to do the whole alphabet on 18x24 sheets. At the end we had to turn in a perfect sheet with the whole alphabet. We had to draw the parallel lines in pencil to guide us and then black ink. I think the key is in the stroke and consistent construction of the letters. Found this online.

Look up Architectural Handwriting and you’ll see some variations.

ID handwriting is based on that but with some flair…a little slant, custom letters, more dynamic strokes, etc. With time you can develop your own custom style…the way you make your E’s, W’s, Ts, etc.

Repetition and really paying attention to the stroke was what helped.

And to Scott’s point…I misspelled thought…should have been taught.
And yes, I think one of the main characteristics of designers is the horrible spelling. I think we could all improve on that.

I like to think of it as my creativity carrying over into my spelling :slight_smile: But yes, always an effort to work on it.