This is the difference between models and drawings

A distinction between models and drawings is this… With a model you CAN look at the model in particular ways that make it make sense, while with Drawings you DID look at the model in particular ways that make it make sense. This difference between CAN and DID is the critical difference that makes very clear that models and drawings are unbreakably interdependent. The one (either one) makes really no sense without the other.

A very nice example below from 1924. Notice that in this case you build the model in your mind, looking at these drawings, and the model makes sense (in ways that matter) because of these drawings. The same process goes for digital models too. You make sense of them by looking at them in particular ways.

Nalina Moses Architect, Writer | New York, New York, writes on Linkedin:

Optical delight. Herbert Bayer, Design for a Cinema, 1924. hashtagachitecture hashtagdrawing hashtagdrafting hashtagrendering hashtagBauhaus hashtaginspiration hashtagsinglehandedly

Bayer KINO

(end of quote)

On a related note, have you heard, for more than 2 decades now, people who talk about “the end of drawing“, that’s going to be brought sooner or later, by some kind of digital modeling technology or another?

This has been nonsense since the first time anyone said it, and every time since. A common iteration that’s more recent and continues to persist today is the idea that digital-model-to-fabrication workflow spells the end of drawing.

Yeah, no it doesn’t. You have to understand a model while you’re building it, and this requires looking at it in particular ways that make it make sense.

I have a message for anyone pronouncing the forthcoming end of drawing:

You can stop saying that now. It’s meaningless, serves no purpose; you’re accomplishing nothing by saying it. You can stop embarrassing yourself. Just stop. Please.


  1. Hi Rob,

    One other way to look at drawings vs. models is that drawings are intended uniquely for human (eye-brain) consumption. They are an analytical tool. Machines / software don’t need or want drawings to understand the subject; models are to them far superior.

    When thinking OTOH about human consuming models, it seem ironic that the way we humans understand models is through the process of rendering, where, in fact, a large proportion of the model are hidden!

    These are topics / metaphors that I use a lot, so it’s possible I’ve expressed them in this forum previously. If so, apologies for the repetition.


  2. Hi Robert, right on target in my opinion, on humans and drawings. The mind, thinks, and thinking itself has a basic observable dynamic of interplay, a back and forth between things as they are (whole) and simplified representations (concepts, metaphors, drawings). I suspect though that this holds true for thinking generally, therefore for machine thinking as well, cognitive systems. At the most primitive level, simple cutting and adding and assembly machines can follow instructions, and those instructions are not per se models but rather are representations that instruct “look here in the model at these things and do these actions”. Those instruction may be written by machines themselves or by people but in either case they are less like models and more like “drawings”. Models alone are just inert lumps. Nothing happens without something else referring to the model. At another angle, fusions of these “other things” into models makes more fertile ground for machine cognition:


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