This section is from the book "American Library Edition Of Workshop Receipts", by Ernest Spon. Also available from Amazon: American Library Edition Of Workshop Receipts.
The title to a drawing should answer distinctly the four questions - What, Who, Where, and When - What, including the use and scale; Who, both as to designer or in-ventor, and draughtsman; Where, both as to the place, institution, or office where the drawing was made, and the locality of the object drawn; and When.
If the drawing is perfectly symmetrical, its title should have the same axis of symmetry as the drawing. If the drawing is unsymmetrical, the title may be at either of the lower corners.
These principles do not apply to horizontal views, as maps of surveys, when the title may be wherever the shape of the plot affords the best place.
One quite essential, element of beauty in a title is its arrangement, or the form of its outline as a whole. It should embrace such variations in the length of its line of letters that the curve formed by joining the extremities of those lines would be a simple and graceful one, having also a marked variety of form. Also the greatest length of the title should generally be horizontal; or its proportions, as a whole, like those of the border of the drawing.
When the occupation of the paper affords only narrow blank spaces lying lengthwise of the paper, the title looks well mostly on a single line at the bottom, the principal words being in the middle, and the subordinate ones at the two sides.
Moreover, horizontal lines should prevail in the direction of the lines of words in the title. Indeed, the title may be arranged wholly on horizontal lines with good effect, though an arched or bow-shaped curve for the principal words may be adopted when the drawing includes some conspicuous arching lines.
The size of the title should be appropriate to that of the drawing. In particular, the rule has been proposed that the height of the largest letters in the title should not exceed three-hundredths of the shorter side of the border. Also, the relative size of the different portions of the title should correspond to their relative importance, the name of the object and its inventor being largest, and that of the draughtsman, his location, and the date of his work being considerably smaller.
, Geometrical drawings are most appropriately lettered with geometrical letters, which, when neatly made, always look well. Any letters, however, having any kind of sharply-defined and precise form, as German text, are not inappropriate to a geometrical drawing; but vaguely formed "rustic" or other freehand letters are in bad taste on such drawings.
Letters should correspond in con-spicuousness or body of colour with the rest of the drawing, not being obtrusive from great heaviness of solid black outline, nor unobservable from excessive faintness. Also, violent contrasts of heaviness among neighbouring portions of the title should be avoided; though, there may be a gradual change, both of intensity and size, from the most to the least important words of the title. This should, first of all, not exceed in elaborateness the draughtsman's ability to execute it with perfect neatness and clearness. Then it should agree with the character of the drawing. Plain and simple letters look best on a similar drawing, while a complicated and highly-finished drawing may receive letters of more ornamental character.