September 26, 2015

Tutorial: Indesign Tips for Architecture Boards


Over the many years of creating architectural boards for school there are a few main issues I noticed while learning to create them. Scale was always the biggest issues with students showing a section, plan or rendering too small to be legible during their presentation. This is also true for vignettes or renderings outlining the building's concept. Being Consistent in the creation of your presentation is also important. When the boards come together they need to belong. Font sizes should also be consistent and drawings should be close to the same saturation. Being subtle is the best approach so watch your picture opacity. This will start to create Visual Interest within your boards. Using large Text with your concept words is a good way to reinforce them during your presentation and help tie things together. Knowing what software to use and how to use it is also important in order to create successful drawings and renderings. 


One issue that every architect and architecture student faces from time to time is drawing and picture size. If your drawings or pictures/renders are too small, how can your critics see what your are talking about? Pay careful attention and print out text font samples so you can see what might be readable. Ask a classmate what they used or what they think about yours. When doing final drawings, always check your lineweights. Many times I have seen drawings that either used too thick or too thin lineweights (click here for The Architecture Student's tutorial on Setting up Lineweights in CAD). Always know whereabouts your audience will be standing/sitting and create your boards such that they can clearly see the main ideas from there. Portfolios are much different so be sure to make everything big enough when it comes to presentation boards.


Use the same size fonts for each type of text (i.e. title, board text and labels). You can set these fonts up either in character or paragraph styles. I use the paragraph style myself. It is pretty easy to set up and once you do, it makes editing and adding things that much quicker. It is also good to use some sort of color or graphic that creates a coordination and belonging between your boards. 

Visual Interest

After you figure out font stuff, come up with an idea that will be a theme. A box behind your section titles is one way. Linear lines that connect boards together, or a background picture at a very low opacity are also great ideas. Chris P made the following tutorial on a quick and dirty background for his review boards. Make it your own, but be a bit subtle.


Pictures of models, precedents or renderings are quite important to your concept, their opacity are just as important. Pictures generally are too dark and contrasting than you would like. I have seen it again and again on review and presentation boards. When pictures and renderings are more subtle or relaxed, the more pleasing the layout and concept. When I input a render, plan, section or picture, I automatically set the opacity to 90%. If the picture is especially dark, I will go to 85% or lower. Implying color rather than saturating it can make things blend together and be more soothing to the eye. Black shouldn't be at a 100% opacity unless it is your intent. Solid black also has issues when printing, saturating the paper possibly leading to paper wrinkles and can mark up the rest of your boards when you print. I generally use 90% or 75% depending on if its a section, plan, picture, etc. It is important that the boards work together, don't worry about color changes but it is a good idea to continue to use the same diagram colors throughout to help with consistency and visual appeal.


Text Size - src
Generally students end up making their text too small so be careful. Some things you don't want anyone to read from afar and some that you do. No one will read a paragraph from pretty far away so keep your large text, your concept words and drawing/section titles. For text I generally keep it set to black. I also keep my text opacity at 95% max, anything lower goes into grey, which can start to become difficult to read from afar. Big fonts can also be at 25% or even lower. It comes out a light grey, easy to read and not overpowering. Play around with it and keep a theme of some sort.

More from the Architecture Student Blog

Additional information

A lot of the tips I've learned on computer rendering I read in Bradley Cantrell and Wes Michaels' book, Digital Drawing for Landscape Architecture: Contemporary Techniques and Tools for Digital Representation in Site Design. Even though it is for landscaping, it outlines the requirements and techniques for Photoshop rendering beautifully. Look for used or new books from an amazon seller since they are generally cheaper than Amazon even with shipping. Always be sure check seller reviews!


Check out our collection of Architecture Boards on Pinterest to get inspired.

1 comment:

  1. Note that paragraph styles and character styles are not interchangeable. Paragraph styles affect anything in a paragraph (ie. anything before a return), whereas character styles affect whatever text you have highlighted. Make sure to use each one correctly for an efficient working method.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...