Power of place

A couple of weeks ago Mike Cougill and I were exchanging emails. Over the course of these emails we discussed inspiration and my attempt at drawing more heavily on that as a scope driver for this new layout. Then Mike hit me with some truly fantastic questions. Among them was this exchange:
Mike: What is the power of a place to you?
Chris: I feel silly saying that I think I understand the question but think I don’t. Often these places mark, geographically, a time in my life. My connection to the place might not be strong at all but because of the association with that particular time I impart a connection. To be honest, I think I’m getting too hung up on location but lack the ability to disconnect that compulsion in my planning process.

It’s funny how in that simple question Mike shone one heck of a lot of light on a gap in my understanding of the elements of layout design. I could find fascination in so many different prototypes and translate those into potential inspiration for a layout. Equally, I’ve never felt more comfortable with those things I truly enjoy about the hobby and where I find joy. I tried responding but the more I wrote about what I thought he was asking the more I realised I didn’t fully grasp the question. I’m starting to understand the question for what it is: what about a place appeals to you and how can you connect with a particular theme or idea? In the time between then and now I’ve been reflecting a lot on this simple question and the more comfortable i get with it the more I’m discovering its potential as a tool I can use to test inspiration with.

Thankfully, he’s still thinking about the question too. He’s just posted a great article on his blog about this very topic:


Where I first took the question as one on layout design I like how he’s extended its reach to cover the role all aspects of the layout scene affect our relationship with the prototype and the model. Thank you Mike for asking such a beautiful question. Thanks again for developing it further on your own blog. I hope others explore it too.

Categories: How I think

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