Compendium of Design

A Body of Knowledge
Learn from those who designed before you.

Drawing Layouts

Technical drawings have strict guidelines for the way drawings are laid out and arranged. These guidelines or conventions are set out by the International Standards Organisation (ISO) and Standards Australia (AS). This ensures that every designer produces drawings that can be read by every manufacturer, builder, assembler or user around the world.

Why do we need technical drawings?

Divide the class into groups. Elect someone in the group to be the head the designer and the remainder of the group to be junior designers, manufacturers, an assembler, an instructional / graphic designer, packager, a delivery courier, a marketing manager, a salesperson, and an end user. Line up in the order of the list of people involved in making and using the object or environment. The designer must design a product in their mind and describe it to the junior designers, the junior designers must then instruct the manufacturer who must pass it on the assembler and so on and so forth until it reaches the end user.

What product did you start with? What did the user indicate the design was?

Drawing Sheets

When drawing an instrumental drawing you will need to use an appropriately sized piece of paper. Most students chose A3 for convenience however, depending on the part being drawn; A4 or A2 are acceptable sizes. In accordance with Australian Standards, the image below shows the correct sizes for ISO A drawing sheets.

ISO drawing sheet sizes

Size of Borders and Border Line Thicknesses

All instrumental drawings must have a border to frame the drawing. The table below outlines the standards for borders on various preferred drawing paper sizes.

Sheet Size Border Width Dimensions of Drawing Sheet (mm)
Sides Top & Bottom
A0 20 20 1189 x 841
A1  20  20 841 x 594
A2 10 10 594 x 420
A3  10 10 420 x 297
A4 10 10 297 x 210



Instrumental drawings must have a title block that provides important information about the drawing such as a title of the individual part, the designer, and the part number in relationship to the overall product or environment amongst other important information. This allows everyone involved in the design process to know what is being made and if any mistakes are found or questions need to be asked, they can contact the designer and specify the problem with clear reference to the part in question and the version of the drawing being referenced.

The title block is drawn in the bottom right hand corner of the drawing and extends up and to the left or across the width of the drawing frame. Information within the title block should include;

  • Name of Author / Designer
  • Date
  • The projection system being used
  • Scale ratio
  • Title
  • Drawing Number
  • Drawing Version

Standard titleblock

Design a Title-block

On a new A3 sheet of paper construct your own title block including spaces for the required information. You must use appropriate character (letter and numbers) heights and spaces between the title block lines and the characters themselves.

Designing a titleblock

Design a Logo

Design yourself a small mono-colour logo to place in a box on the far left hand side of the title block to help identify your drawings.

Materials and Parts List

When a technical drawing contains more than one part or depicts an assembly of parts, a material or parts list should be provided adjacent to the title block. Each label part within in the drawing can then be labelled with an individual number so anyone who reads the drawing can identify the part, the quantity needed, its material and so on. Australian Standards recommends that the list should include information such as:

  • Item or part number
  • Description or name of part
  • Quantity required
  • Material to be manufactured from, material specification, required finish, etc.
  • Drawing number of detailed drawing
  • Stores reference number (if it is an off the shelf or pre-made part