It’s long been said a picture paints a thousand words. Nowhere is this truer than in the kitchen and bath industry. Just as a showroom’s condition speaks volumes to the client about the professional organization, so, too, do the drawings – perhaps even more so. For this reason, ensuring that the drawings measure up is critical.
For many years, kitchen and bath professionals have invested enormous effort into their showrooms, while neglecting the next step in the process. Yet drawings tell a story, and kitchen and bath professionals must ask themselves what story their drawings tell clients about themselves and their firms.
The One-Two Punch
Without the luxury of a flawlessly appointed showroom, there is great reason to include meticulous drawings as an integral part of the client presentation, as this is likely the only tool available to showcase expertise, knowledge and experience.
Now consider a kitchen and bath dealer with the consummate showroom. Is the drawing presentation on par with the showroom, or has the flawlessly appointed showroom become an unknowing visual substitute for top quality drawings?
Today’s kitchen and bath professional must not let an impressive showroom experience be the only way to dazzle potential clients.
Rather, design professionals must seize and leverage the opportunity to offer excellent drawings as an extension of the showroom experience. Consider drawings the second half of a one-two punch certain to offer an edge over the competition and knock out prospective clients.
Too many of today’s kitchen and bath professionals invest thousands of dollars in CAD software, yet choose the easy route by providing output for clients on 8-1/2"x11" letter-size sheets. Sure, these are easy to fax, fit easily into standard file folders and can be printed by anyone with a standard letter-size printer. Yet why would any firm want to be known for doing things the easy way?
“Easy” should be left to the competition. Instead, clients should be made to realize how much time and effort is required to generate top-notch drawings and why they are an essential part of the process.
Thus, the 8-1/2"x11" format should be abandoned altogether for client drawing presentations. These drawings are simply too small to establish a proper view of the necessary detail required to impress clients and provide a readable road map for contractors
Many kitchen and bath professionals supply tiny floor plan drawings that include every possible dimension under the sun. The result is a tangled maze of dimension and extension lines that form a nearly unreadable and absolutely confusing mess (see Figure 1). Sloppy presentations do not say good things about the drafting and work habits of those responsible for drawing preparation.
The Proper Equipment
One of the advantages of using a larger sheet size is the ability to convey more information and detail in a larger and more readable scale on renderings. Generally speaking, for kitchen projects, anything less than 1/2" scale is difficult to read and can be limiting when it comes to including all of the notes necessary on a thoroughly developed set of renderings ready for approval and production.
A commitment to larger format renderings will likely require an upgrade to a printer capable of handling larger media, as many kitchen floor plans at 1/2" scale may not even fit on 11"x17" paper. Of course this depends on the market. A dealer in Manhattan may do just fine on 11"x17" paper, while those who service larger homes in suburban areas will potentially need more paper space at a 1/2" scale.
It simply makes no sense to invest thousands of dollars in a software rendering package, only to run the results through a $150 desktop printer. For less than $1,000, it is possible to purchase a new ink jet printer capable of up to 18"x24" output with a much higher level of resolution than standard desktop models. In fact, many have excellent success buying factory reconditioned hardware with full warranty and tech support usually discounted 25-35%.