Although many people may think of math and calculations as their first impression of architecture, there’s also a good deal of creativity and art in play.

Buildings and bridges and structures architects build must first be designed. As an industry, architecture has only been considered a licensed profession in the United States since 1857. Before that, anyone who studied and admired building could become an architect. That may seem odd, but the American Institute of Architects (AIA) wasn’t established until 1857 and remains the governing professional organization for architects today. Some of the earliest architecture schools were the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) beginning in 1868, the University of Illinois in 1873, and Tuskegee in 1881.

Today, architecture remains a varied and important profession. With years of history, as well as new challenges, to contend with -such as extreme weather and a limited amount of urban space—architects must be masterful creative problem solvers.

What is the Architecture Industry?

There are a number of calculations involved, and blueprints, but there are also more illustrative drawings to give investors and project stakeholders a feel for the vision of the project.

According to Monograph, Architects typically offer the following basic services:

  • Programming: Determining the scope of work to be completed
  • Schematic Design: Basic building design
  • Design Development: Design refinement & materials selection
  • Construction Documents: Two complete sets of building documents with all details included
  • Construction Administration: Guiding the construction process with site visits, etc.
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There are a number of additional services Architects can offer, too, such as record drawings, urban design, 3D renderings, and electrical schematics.

How Do Architects Use Illustrator?

Design is at the heart of architecture. Every structure that needs to last the test of time over the long-haul has to be meticulously planned for weather, durability of materials, and of course appearance.

When you think of architecture, you may think of oversized blueprints with hand sketching and scribbled notes across the page. Although blueprints are part of the design process, these days most design is done digitally. Architects use design software such as AutoCAD for precise drawings; however, Adobe Illustrator is a helpful tool to add a creative flair to designs, diagrams, and marketing proposals.

Common uses of Illustrator in the architecture industry include marketing proposals, artistic elements, drawing architectural diagrams, and concept diagrams.

Marketing Proposals & Artistic Elements

Before an architectural project begins, the architect must first submit a marketing proposal that reflects their vision of the project. The vision includes blueprints and technical details, as well as illustrations of what the project will look like when it’s complete.

It may be hard for a client to visualize a finished building project if the proposal simply included blueprints or black and white sketches. After all, Architects are visual artists, so they have to be able to create the full vision for potential clients—elements such as color, potential patterns, light fixtures, and even landscaping all make it easier for someone to see the potential come to life.

Illustrator is useful for creating or digitalizing the designs, as well as adding color and illustrated features to help create a comprehensive picture. Adding these crisp graphics and illustrations helps the proposal do the heavy lifting of sharing the overall project vision.

Drawing Architectural Diagrams

An architectural diagram is an overview of the stakeholders and communication process for a project. The goal is to help all team members collaborate effectively and provide an at-a-glance view of the project building blocks, making it easy for everyone to remain on the same page.

One key role that Architects play during a project is project manager. Of course, they design the structure, but they also oversee the construction and act as a liaison to the project stakeholders. Without tools like the architectural diagram, the Architect would spend half of their time trying to figure out who needs what information and who already knows.

Illustrator is a helpful tool for creating these diagrams because of the flexibility of shapes, colors, and layers. Any Illustrator design is also scalable because of the vector art aspect, which means that it can be blown up to create a large, easy-to-read tool for the whole team.

Concept Diagrams

Within the architecture industry, concept designs show how different pieces of a design fit together. They show different layers of a structure, as well as how the structure will look when it’s completed.

When a structure is created, it has multiple elements from foundation to function to multiple stories. Depending on the project, these elements can get quite complicated, which is why a concept diagram is necessary. Broken down into a step-by-step format, these diagrams allow stakeholders to see all of the elements that will go into the project and how each will function within the whole.

Illustrator’s ability to use layers and crisp, scalable lines is a great asset for professionals who are creating illustrative concept diagrams. Additionally, there’s considerable flexibility with color-coding and illustration techniques that can help make sense of often complicated projects.

Where to Learn Illustrator for Architecture Skills

If you’re an aspiring Architect or want to work within the architecture industry, knowing Illustrator could be a great skill to have on your resume.

Noble Desktop offers several options for in-person, live online, and certificate learning options. Popular Illustrator courses include Illustrator in a Day and Adobe Illustrator Bootcamp. If you’re looking for a first step to learning the program, Illustrator in a Day could be a great choice. For a more foundational, in-depth learning opportunity, Adobe Illustrator Bootcamp may be the better choice.

Want to learn from the comfort of your own home or office? No problem. Classes are offered live online and in-person so you have the flexibility to choose what works best for you.