John Burkhert Jr.

They play an outsized role in continuous improvement.

Time was creating drawings meant using paper and a pencil. Can you imagine? The main variable was the type of so-called lead in the pencil. Even in those primitive times, it was necessary to agree on an overall language. The particulars that allowed the community to get its message across were determined by standards. Standards, in turn, were driven by the requirements of the equipment that archived and reproduced the drawings.

One of those pieces of equipment was microfilm. You might recall microfilm stores many drawings in a small space. Bringing those tiny pictures back to human-readable sizes would lose some of the sharpness of the data. Standards were set up so we could still make out the images and data with no doubt about what we saw.

Drafters would pencil-in the linework and run the pencil over the object lines again and again to ensure it was certain to come back from the photographic shrinkage. Text sizes and, importantly, space between characters, were a function of the size of the drawing. Smaller A and B size documents could use 0.125" minimum text height, while C-size formats and above required 0.140" letters and numbers. Minimum spacing between rows is half of the text height, so taller lettering gets more space.

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