How Blueprint Paper Built the World Around Us: The Evolution and It's Purpose

The first few skyscrapers popped up in our major cities around the 18th century. They were only about ten stories tall. It was impressive at the time, but flash forward to today, and you be shocked to learn that the tallest building in the world is a whopping 163 floors tall. To put things into perspective, that's nearly 2,700 feet tall!

However, none of this would have been possible without paper. Paper for blueprints to be exact.

Paper for blueprints has helped plot out the big ideas and turn them to even bigger concrete structures.

Where would we be without our high rise office buildings and apartments? Even our smaller and more humble buildings require some level of planning.

Architects and engineers have many tools, but paper for blueprints serves as the canvas.

And without it, we would not have the fast-paced and modern world we’re living in today.

Blueprints paper and methods: The evolution

Blueprinting has been around for ages, since 1842. Though the process has evolved. It was first developed by John Herschel, a chemist who founded the cyanotype process by using transparent paper and a series of photosensitive chemicals to create the copies.

This process rose in popularity with artists, photographers, and eventually—architects and engineers.

Now, the diazotype method is a convenient and inexpensive way to create blueprints. This method utilizes a reactant, acid, water, light, and diazonium salt to expose certain portions of the paper while leaving other areas unaffected, making the blueprint easier to read.

How blueprint paper helps the architect

Blueprinting is cheaper than producing mass copies. So not only does it save money upfront, but the process also helps the architect plan the layout of the building.

It also allows the architect to properly see all the details. From the elevation of the building to the number of elevators, rooms, and stairways.The blueprinting process also gives the architect complete freedom to design, while also giving the engineer, contractors, and construction workers a clear map of the building.

How blueprint paper helps the engineer and construction workers

The cover sheet, index, legend, or key gives all the information necessary before beginning construction on a new project.

A blueprint also help to make sure everyone at every stage of the construction project is on the same page.

What it’s used for

Blueprints help construct:

    • houses
    • apartment complexes
    • stadiums
    • shopping malls
    • restaurants
    • office buildings
    • places of worship
    • high schools and college campuses
    • commercial gyms
    • public libraries

Everyone has spent a significant amount of time at one or more of the places listed here. Plotter paper or blueprint paper helped design these buildings, providing you with a safe and structurally sound place to work, enjoy your lunch, learn, and workout.


Paper for blueprints has helped shape our world, from the major cities to the small rural towns and everything in between.

The process for producing copies by using photoreactive chemicals has been around since the 1800s, and some scale of that is still used today to cut costs.

Architects, engineers, and construction workers all utilize blue printing paper. Without it, they would not be able to develop and build upon their larger than life ideas.