This article explores the area of born-digital design records and visual literacy with an aim of demystifying these records and empowering archivists to appraise, describe, preserve, and provide access to them. It does so in a stepwise manner, guiding the archivist or researcher through the process of preparing, opening, viewing, exploring, and understanding these files. While at first the technical aspects of born-digital design records, such as computer-aided design (CAD) and building information modeling (BIM), can seem challenging, archivists should not be deterred. The article introduces crucial historical context and a methodology for unpacking the contents of born-digital design records, which together enable archivists to better see and decipher their significance and meaning. Also discussed are records creators, software preferences, processing workflows, and the visual interpretation of rendered images and the software interfaces. This then leads to a discussion around how to contextualize and understand the built form being communicated through drawings and models. The article also points to the array of teaching tools and interest groups that support archivists who wish to learn about the design community's practices, with the aim of lowering the barrier to engagement with these records. Visual literacy should be recognized as a vital skill, useful both in understanding these records and in decision-making around retention and preservation, so that stories of the places and people they reflect can be told.

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