There have probably been thousands of good ideas borne of the contact of a borrowed pen on an unused dinner napkin. Songs have been written, phone numbers exchanged, and contracts drafted through this and other distinctively low-tech methods of documentation. Of course, lightning can strike at any time, and in those moments of epiphany you probably have to doodle something quickly, and on whatever you can find. But when you can get back to your computer, you’ll be able to convert that scribble into something usable before sharing it. As technology has evolved from rulers and grid paper to custom construction software, the industry has grown by leaps and bounds. There are several ways this rising tide can lift your ship:
Quantifiable Ideas : One key advantage of software over dinnerware is the ability to be exact. While you may have an encyclopedic memory of the measurements on a project, the aesthetic aspects are tough to imagine if everything isn’t drawn to scale. Consider our window treatment example. You may know the precise dimensions of the window, but knowing how much material it will take to achieve the desired effect is an artistic element with scientific parameters. In other words, you need an accurate measurement of what you’re dealing with when it just looks “right”.
Storage & Editing : Sometimes with design, it’s difficult to get a customer started from the blank canvas of a residential lot or an unfinished room. It can be very helpful to have something to start with, even when it’s light years away from what the final product will be. After all, sometimes the best way to determine what someone wants is to first find out what they don’t want. Imagine that your newest client has a space highly reminiscent of a project from some years back. With design software, you can simply pull up the old design quickly and have at least a starting point for discussion. You’ll either be in the ballpark or way off base, but either way, the conversation has some substance and you have direction. File drawers full of fading graph paper can’t retain those images as effectively as a computer.
Sharing : There’s a painter, a carpenter, a flooring installer, and an electrician to explain your grand vision to. These crafters, while very artistically inclined, deal primarily with a feet-and-inches reality. And as noted above, it’s critically important to have exact numbers to connect to your inexact opinions. Use of good software permits you to print and email your designs to other participants in the project, ensuring that they know exactly what is happening and what the final look should be. In a designer’s mind, everything is perfectly matched and fitted. But once that idea must be shared with the outside world, you need some help.