Layout designWith the number of complex decisions involved in layout design, even modelers with many years of experience can fall into a rut.

I have two friends who are stuck in this decision matrix. Both have modest and some would say, less than ideal space to work with. Both have a great deal of experience and realistic expectations about what they can and can’t do. The issue for both seems to be committing to a choice.

Whose vision are you designing for?
Working through the array of choices is one of the major hurdles we all have to deal with in this craft and we aren’t well schooled in the nuances of the design process. We bring a lot of expectations that are often in conflict with each other. Dealing with our own expectations is tough enough but dealing with other people’s ideas about the right way to go is something many of us are ill-equipped to handle.

Collaborating with other modelers to nail down ideas and solutions can be a truly great experience but you need to remember you are the one doing the work and footing the bill. You are the one who has to maintain this work and deal with the issues that will crop up.

We have ideas and images that are deeply ingrained in our mindset. Many of the common layout expectations aren’t relevant for every situation, yet we all suffer from their impact on our thinking. Regardless of our resources, we consciously or unconciously judge our efforts against these ideals and of course, we fall short of reaching them. So rather than question the ideal, we lament our rotten luck rather than see our circumstances as a gift and opportunity to do something unique.

 What is important to you?
There are many ways of thinking about layout design beyond the mechanics of curves radius and benchwork construction. I’ve encouraged both my friends to consider some of the following:

What problem is this layout intended to solve?
What purpose will it fulfill?
What do they hope to learn, what skills do they want to master?
What kind of experience do they actually want from this work?

These are personal questions only they can answer. They have nothing to do with any of the tactical criteria we restrict the conversation to yet they are just as important if not more so because they speak to more than the physical attributes of a layout. Design is more than the stuff you can see and touch, it’s also about the experience you have.

If my friends persist in understanding the motivations behind their choices, they’ll be wiser and more informed modelers. This craft can be a gift that enriches your life in ways too numerous to mention. It’s a gift I want you to experience to the fullest. and that focus is what separates the work of OST Publications from everyone else.