Technical drawing is essential for communicating ideas in industry and engineering. To make the drawings easier to understand, people use familiar symbols, perspectives, units of measurement, notation systems, visual styles, and page layout. Together, such conventions constitute a visual language and help to ensure that the drawing is unambiguous and relatively easy to understand. Many of the symbols and principles of technical drawing are codified in an international standard called ISO 128.
The need for precise communication in the preparation of a functional document distinguishes technical drawing from the expressive drawing of the visual arts. Artistic drawings are subjectively interpreted; their meanings are multiply determined. Technical drawings are understood to have one intended meaning.
A drafter, draftsperson, or draughtsman is a person who makes a drawing (technical or expressive). A professional drafter who makes technical drawings is sometimes called a drafting technician. Professional drafting is a desirable and necessary function in the design and manufacture of complex mechanical components and machines. Professional draftspersons bridge the gap between engineers and manufacturers and contribute experience and technical expertise to the design process.
A sketch is a quickly executed, freehand drawing that is not intended as a finished work. In general, sketching is a quick way to record an idea for later use. Architect's sketches primarily serve as a way to try out different ideas and establish a composition before a more finished work, especially when the finished work is expensive and time-consuming.
Architectural sketches, for example, are a kind of diagrams. These sketches, like metaphors, are used by architects as a means of communication in aiding design collaboration. This tool helps architects to abstract attributes of hypothetical provisional design solutions and summarize their complex patterns, hereby enhancing the design process.