What Engineering Graphics and Design is all About

What Engineering Graphics and Design is all About

Engineering graphics and design is a combined creative activity aimed at producing engineering structures or outcomes that are useful to people and society. The graphic description of any engineering structure has to be clear and presentable, and in such a form that can be easily understood and constructed or built without much assistance from the designer.

What is Engineering Design?

Engineering design is the type of design practiced by engineers. Engineering design is different from planning because in planning—unlike in engineering design—expressions or presentations are not sufficiently complete or detailed enough to be built like final and complete designs can.

Application of scientific principles is the major thing that distinguishes engineering design from the type of design practiced by other professions: the major difference between engineering graphics and design, and the type of design practiced by other disciplines/professions is that, prior to construction, engineers use the principles of science to prove or demonstrate to an appreciable extent whether designs will work.

With a great degree of accuracy, scientific principles can be used to predict the behavior of physical systems—this is where engineering design comes in. When applying engineering design, planned systems do not have to be real; however, they may have to be clearly and precisely described in mathematical terms.

In many fields of engineering, one of the most important goals of design is to ensure that all structures (bridges, buildings, automobiles, and aircraft) are capable of carrying loads and forces without failing or collapsing.

In order to determine whether a given bridge or building can withstand forces without failing, existing mathematical models have to be employed in making checks and assessments—this is design. Loads are expressed in mathematical terms, and relevant scientific principles (such as Newton’s laws and Hooke’s law) are used to estimate the stresses that would likely be produced in a structure whenever it is acted upon by various weights of loads or forces which could include human beings, chairs, tables, wind, etc.

By comparing the estimated stresses with the limiting values of the strengths of materials expected to be used, it can be determined whether or not any structure can perform certain functions. Engineering design is usually combined with engineering graphics in order to make important and precise descriptions of the geometric and material properties of structures.

Without employing the principles of science, another way to determine whether a structure under design can perform its intended function, is to build it, test it, and hope for the best.

But in most cases, this is not a recommendable option because it doesn’t follow any tested and trusted guidelines like the fields of engineering do. Generally, the principles of science have an upper hand when it comes to design because they are based on past research and proven theories.

Before introducing technical drawing with engineering graphics into the scheme of planned construction, engineering designs have to be carefully validated (proven that they are in accord with important and applicable design criteria) in order to ensure that the most important concerns have been addressed, and intended structures will perform their functions after being built or constructed in accordance with design.

Application of Technical Drawing with Engineering Graphics in Engineering Design

Technical drawing with engineering graphics has two major roles in practical engineering design processes:

  • To help communicate or pass on information in an easy and understandable way between participants of engineering design processes.
  • To help designers create better ideas when validating design outcomes or decisions.

It is important to note that in engineering practice, all graphics/drawings remain just a means to an end—successful construction and operation of structures. Generally, engineering graphics are created to serve and support design processes, which in turn assist in the construction of structures that serve greater purposes in society.

It is in this regard that engineering graphics is significantly different from artistic drawings that are created by artists. Unlike engineering drawing, the intention of most artistic drawings to create visually or aesthetically appealing effects.

In many cases, engineering designers do not build or construct their designs or works; for example, many engineering works are usually constructed or built by contractors who work independently of designers.

This implies that there is need to communicate effectively via drawings which can clearly and suitably describe what has been designed in order to be constructed or built. Due to the fact that engineering works are usually large and spacious, many objects are scaled-down and graphically communicated in two- and three-dimensions respectively—i.e., in 2-D & 3-D.

Most times, the complete and final graphics of objects are issued at the end of engineering design processes, and provide complete descriptions of objects that would be constructed or built.

Engineering graphics can also be used to communicate internally within an organization that designs structures; for instance, communication can be from one designer to another, or from a designer to drafting staff.


In order to effectively apply technical drawing with engineering graphics in any design process, engineers or students should be able to produce various types of drawing, formally, and informally. Generally, all drawings help the imagination to create and develop new ideas.

11 thoughts on “What Engineering Graphics and Design is all About

  1. Excellent blog post. Did you major in Civil Engg? Engineering Design and architecture is very vital. yes, aesthetics do matter in various structures, but ability to withstand loads, harsh elements like Hurricanes, Earthquakes etc have to be calculated.
    I did my major in Civil but shifted to Information Tech. I recall doing study of countless formulas, theories, calculating strength, going through codes for steel, concrete etc.
    Then there were Working Stress and other formula. some were quite complex. Now a days, I think computer aided design has become much more advanced than in late 90s.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. thanks again for your positive remark…I majored (BSc) in Civil Engineering, and acquired an MSc in Water Resources & Environmental Engineering…you are definitely right regarding designs against various types of forces and loads—very very interesting; I enjoyed it…to an extent, it seems people can play with, or manipulate nature—but only to a great extent… however, with the great advances that have been made, I believe that one day structures could successfully be designed to withstand the effects of forces that arise due to natural events like hurricanes, earthquakes and tsunamis…CAD and many softwares have made design easier, but the basic foundation taught in schools is still very important because it can help people to make useful deductions, and take important decisions after getting output from CAD or design softwares…

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yes the basic concepts always remain important. I feel that more incentives ought to be given to people to go into Research, Fellowship in Civil and Environmental Engineering so that we have better teaching at various Engineering colleges and Technological Institutes.
        Currently, barring a few, many Engg. colleges in India do not have good teaching, and often a few good teachers in them are either underpaid or not permanent and hence motivation goes down.
        I hope things change for better.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Thanks for your enlightening comment about the situation of engineering education in your country which is somewhat similar to the one in my country Nigeria, and many other African countries…most times I have had to look for books and enlighten myself more; my experience learning under people, especially in the university, proved that most teachers or lecturers may be sound on a personal level, academically, but still don’t know how to teach or pass on knowledge to other people…on the other hand, maybe their low salaries are not sufficient enough to motivate them; and this affects students and their futures…thanks alot for your time and comments…

          Liked by 2 people

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