Types Of Lettering

In the early part of this course, the inclined Gothic letter was described, and the alphabet given. The Roman, Gothic, and block letters are perhaps the most used for titles. These letters, being of comparatively large size, are generally made mechanically; that is, drawing instruments are used in their construction. In order that the letters may appear of the same height, some of them, owing to their shape, must be made a little higher than the others. This is the case with the letters curved at the top and bottom, such as C, O, S, etc., as shown somewhat exaggerated in Fig. 191. Also, the letter A should extend a little above, and V a little below, the guide lines, because if made of the same height as the others they will appear shorter. This is true of all capitals, whether of Roman, Gothic, or other alphabets. In the block letter, however, they are frequently all of the same size.

Size Of Letters

There is no absolute size or proportion of letters, as the dimensions are regulated by the amount of space in which the letters are to be placed, the size of the drawing, the effect desired, etc. In some cases letters are made so that the height is greater than the width, and sometimes the reverse; sometimes the height and width are the same. This last proportion is the most common. Certain relations of width, however, should be observed. Thus, in whatever style of alphabet used, the W should be the widest letter; J the narrowest, M and T the next widest to W, then A and B. The other letters are of about the same width.

Vertical Gothic

In the vertical Gothic alphabet, the average height is that of B, D, E, F, etc., and the additional height of the curved letters and of the A and V is very slight. The horizontal cross lines of such letters as E, F, H, etc., are slightly above the center; those of A, G, and P slightly below.

Inclined Gothic

For the inclined letters, Fig. 192, 60 degrees is a convenient angle, although they may be at any other angle suited to the convenience or fancy of the draftsman. Many draftsmen use an angle of about 70 degrees.


The letters of the Roman alphabet, whether vertical, Fig. 193, or inclined, Fig. 194, are quite ornamental in effect if well made, the inclined Roman being a particularly attractive letter although rather difficult to make. The block letter, Fig. 195, is made on the same general plan as the Gothic, but much heavier. Small squares are taken as the unit of measurement, as shown. The use of this letter is not advocated for general work, although if made merely in outline the effect is pleasing. The styles of numbers, corresponding with the alphabets of capitals given here, are also inserted. When a fraction, such as 2 5/8 is to be made, the proportion should be about as shown. For small letters, usually called lower-case letters, the height may be made about two-thirds that of the capitals. This proportion, however, varies in special cases.

Vertical Gothic Letters and Figures.

Fig. 191. Vertical Gothic Letters and Figures.

Inclined Gothic Letters and Figures.

Fig. 192. Inclined Gothic Letters and Figures.

Vertical Roman Letters and figures.

Fig. 193. Vertical Roman Letters and figures.

Inclined Roman Letters and Figures.

Fig. 194. Inclined Roman Letters and Figures.

Block Letters.

Fig. 195. Block Letters.

Vertical Gothic Lower Case Letters.

Fig. 196. Vertical Gothic Lower-Case Letters.

Lower-Case Letters

The principal lower-case letters in general use among draftsmen are shown in Figs. 196, 197, 198, and 199.

The Gothic letters shown in Figs 196 and 197 are much easier to make than the Roman letters in Figs. 198 and 199. These letters, however, do not give as finished an appearance as the Roman. As has already been stated in Mechanical Drawing, Part I, the inclined letter is easier to make because slight errors are not so apparent.

Inclined Gothic Lower Caae Letters.

Fig. 197. Inclined Gothic Lower-Caae Letters.

Vertical Roman Lower Case Letters.

Fig. 198. Vertical Roman Lower-Case Letters.


One of the most important points to be remembered in lettering is the spacing. If the letters are finely executed but poorly spaced, the effect is not good. To space letters correctly and rapidly requires considerable experience; and rules are of little value on account of the many combinations in which letters are found. A few directions, however, may be found helpful. For instance, take the word TECHNICALITY, Fig. 200. If all the spaces were made equal, the space between the L and the I would appear to be too great, and the same would apply to the space between the I and the T. The space between the H and the N and that between the N and the I would be insufficient. Usually, when the vertical side of one letter is followed by the vertical side of another, as in H E, H B, I R, etc., the maximum space should be allowed. Where T and A come together the least space is given, for in this case the top of the T frequently extends over the bottom of the A. In general, the spacing should be such that a uniform appearance is obtained. For the distances between words in a sentence, a space of about 1 1/2 the width of the average letter may be used. The space, however, depends largely upon the desired effect.

Inclined Roman Lower Caae Letters.

Fig. 199. Inclined Roman Lower-Caae Letters.

Sample of Letter Spacing.

Fig. 200. Sample of Letter Spacing.

Penciling Before Inking

For large titles, such as those placed on charts, maps, and some large working drawings, the letters should be penciled before inking. If the height is made equal to the width, considerable time and labor will be saved in laying out the work. This is especially true with such Gothic letters as O, Q, C, etc., as these letters may then be made with compasses. If the letters are of sufficient size, the outlines may be drawn with the ruling pen or compasses, and the spaces between filled in with a fine brush.

Titles For Working Drawings

The titles for working drawings are generally placed in the lower right-hand corner. Usually a draftsman has his choice of letters, mainly because after he has become used to making one style he can do it rapidly and accurately. However, in some drafting rooms the head draftsman decides what lettering should be used. In making these titles, the different alphabets are selected to give the best results without spending too much time. In most work the letters are made in straight lines, although frequently a portion of the title is found lettered on an arc of a circle.

In Fig. 201 is shown a title having the words CONNECTING ROD lettered on an arc of a circle. To do this work requires considerable patience and practice. First, draw the vertical center line as shown at C in Fig. 201, then, draw horizontal lines for the horizontal letters. The radii of the arcs depend upon the general arrangement of the entire title, and this is a matter of taste. The difference between the arcs should equal the height of the letters. After the arc is drawn, the letters should be sketched in pencil to find their approximate positions. After this is done, draw radial lines from the center of the letters to the center of the arcs. These lines will be the centers of the letters, as shown at A, B, D, and E. The vertical lines of the letters should not radiate from the center of the arc, but should be parallel to the center lines already drawn; otherwise the letters will appear distorted. Thus, in the letter N the two verticals are parallel to the line A. The same applies to the other letters in the alphabet. In making the curved letters such as O and C, the centers of the arcs will fall upon these center lines; and if the compasses are used, the lettering is a comparatively simple matter. In Fig. 202 is shown another title in which all the letters are in horizontal lines.

Sample Title.

Fig. 201. Sample Title.

Sample Title.

Fig. 202. Sample Title.