Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Tricky Traps of Layout Design

Like many of you, I lead a (too) busy life. I'm trying now to finish up a very large design project while also doing a lot of work with my day job client. Priorities are always the key, and I struggle to keep them in mind.

I was doing pretty well on one of my priorities, which was to stay away from online forums and groups. Nothing wrong with these Internet chats per se, of course, just it's so tempting to waste time reading drivel instead of buckling down and working on what's important.

But in a moment of weakness, I dropped into one recently -- and quickly remembered why I had resolved to stay away. There were a number of examples of help-seekers posting layout plans and receiving advice from the self-appointed "experts". A heaping helping of CAD-too-Soon was on display, to be sure, but also a lot of very poor advice being given along with much encouragement for bad ideas being tossed casually about.

Over the last year or so, I have been informally cataloging a Rogue's Gallery of common layout design mistakes. Here, in ten minutes of reading forum posts, a half-dozen of these malevolent miscues reared their ugly heads.

So are these the Seven Deadly Sins of layout design? Not quite. Some seem like reasonably good ideas that are deceptively disastrous. Some are simply over-applied or misused. And in a few cases, they are ideas that work in a very narrow range of situations but have become part of model railroading lore, duping the unaware. So let's call them the "Tricky Traps" of layout design.

Since some good may come out of examining the bad, I'll be writing more on the Tricky Traps over the next month or so (while also pursuing the higher priority items on my to-do list.) I'm not sure if the final number will be six or seven, or ten. But I hope you'll find it interesting as we explore the La(yout) Brea Tar Pits.

Well, it turned out to be eight!

Click here to read 1-4

Click here to read 5-8

Click here to read the latest blog posts

Currently listening to: black & white by Cafe R&B. Another of those great bands that sadly almost no one knows.