What Are Blueprints?






    The word blueprint is commonly associated with drawings for an architectural project. They are drawings, however, they are a specific type of drawing. You may be thinking, do I need blueprints for my project?





What Are Blueprints?

      Blueprints are reproductions of technical drawings that document an architectural or engineering design. A lot of people refer blueprints to what are now construction documents (CTA link here-construction documents post). They can be plans for a future project or the design for a particular part of a project.







Why Are They Blue?

      In 1842, chemist and photographer John Herschel developed a process of reproducing hand drawings by using a chemical process called cyanotype through a series of experiments. The process consisted of drawing an image on a semi-transparent paper weighted down on a sheet of cloth or sometimes paper. The cloth was pre-coated with a photosensitive chemical compound consisting of potassium ferricyanide and ferric ammonium citrate. The drawing was then exposed to light causing the background to become blue and the lines from the drawing on the semi-transparent drawing to remain white. The blueprinting process was abandoned when modern printing methods were discovered.

 House blueprints






Are Blueprints Still Being Used?

     Blueprints are still being used to this day. However, they are no longer blue and aren’t called blueprints. They are now referred to as drawings or plans. Most people still associate any type of drawing to blueprints. But due to modern printing methods, architects no longer need to put the drawings through the chemical process that makes them blue. They can just print the drawings from their computers.

 Architect desk






     While blueprints are drawings, you most likely won’t need actual blueprints for your project. Modern drawings are what you should ask for. Any architect will be more than happy to help you with your project.