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Definition of the Model Maker's Role

For thousands of years, people have been creating models to translate, develop and improve their ideas. Model making, like drawing and sketching, is an important ‘next step’ in the design process, and offers a unique way to visualize ideas. In a way, everyone is a model maker, as they test their ideas by trying things out. This is prototyping.

Professional model makers are specialists in this process of realizing ideas in three dimensions, whether as physical object, or as a digital image. Their work is important to the development of almost all architecture, product design furniture design etc.

In architectural design, model makers will make maquettes of designs to visualize how new buildings will relate to their surroundings, to evaluate the spaces available to us inside, or to be used in support of gaining permission for new developments. In product/industrial design; toys, automobiles, consumer electronics, packaging, footwear, medical products, home appliances and housewares, architecture, industrial design (durable equipment, office products), even candy and food items are often modeled before they are approved for production. In film/TV production, model makers are still called upon to make props, sets and miniatures, despite much of this work being superseded by digital modeling. In the UK specifically, there are many opportunities for model makers doing this kind of work.

Though model makers were once seen as typically “blue collar” positions, these professionals are now taking their rightful place at the design table as an integral part of the design process. They are valued for their fabrication abilities and for their capacity to bring about innovation.

Model Makers ordinarily receive competitive salaries commensurate with their expertise and ability to adapt to the studios in which they work. Because of the competitive nature of product development and the speed of the time-to-market process, model makers often work unusual hours when they are under a deadline. Some model makers pride themselves on their “can-do” attitudes and often give the project their complete focus.

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Association of Professional Model Makers (APMM)
P.O. Box 3581
Olathe, KS 66063