I always start out thinking I'll make a project perfectly neatly. I trim everything to length, I lay out everything perfect, and then when I blink, it all comes undone. A spaghetti mess lies in front of me each time and I'm helpless to stop its arrival.
Your board is indeed a masterpiece. Coming from Southern Africa where wiring in the house is (or rather was) inside a conduit, looking at wiring inside a North American house was a real shock (pun unintended).
I remember watching a telephone technician installing a switchboard and he took forever. Every wire had to be level and at right angles even though the walls weren't. He had been trained at British Telecom (I am talking 30+ years here) and he said the inspector would come in after the job with a spirit level.
More recently I was working on a project for hammer mills (those barrel type things that smash up yard waste into smithereens so that it can be used as compost) and the guy who built the panels apparnetly had a doctorate from some Beijing university. I don't know what the doctorate was in but the beauty of his wiring (and this was in production) was something that was on a par with yours. I wish I had taken some photos.
As for me, I start out with good intentions, but by the third wire it is a bird's nest.
I will select the one that best matches, complements, or contrasts the other components on the board. Am I the only one who does this, or is this common practice?
From what I have seen in the industry you are in a definite minority. Come and join us on the dark side!
Sometimes rats nests aren't all bad. Many years ago I wire wrapped a dynamic memeory board for a prototype. It didn't work properlly due to capacitivecoupling between the wires. The wires were all laid out in neat rows together. The cure was ro rip out the wiring and go point to point resulting a real rat's nest. The board worked just fine after that.
@Antedeluvian: I remember watching a telephone technician installing a switchboard and he took forever. Every wire had to be level and at right angles even though the walls weren't. He had been trained at British Telecom (I am talking 30+ years here) and he said the inspector would come in after the job with a spirit level.
That's the sort of attention to detail I love -- but you rarely see it anymore...
I tend to go from a rats nest to refined. As I confirm that I have indeed gotten things wired out correctly and that I am not likely to make any changes to that section, I then start nailing things down a bit better. This is somewhat the way that I do my PCB work as well. Everything is a bit of a mess, but then I play and refine till I get what I am looking for. I hate leaving things as a rats nest. Even messy computer wires on the back of a computer bother me. I usually end up bundling them up into nice wire bundles.