Why Printers Should Embrace Samples
As on-demand technology enters the interior design market, it’s disrupting how some business models work. One of the places where I hear the most pushback from printers is regarding sampling. Printers don’t want to give away samples, and designers need them to do their job. If interior designers are going to embrace this technology, they need physical samples to make decisions. The printers who meet this need will definitely pull ahead in the interior design market.
Why do designers need samples?
A physical sample is essential for an interior designer’s creative process. They can’t place an order for an entire hotel project hoping a material selection is correct. They need to know it’s correct.
With a sample in hand, designers:
- See the color and make sure it matches their color scheme.
- Assess print quality to ensure it is as expected.
- Feel the actual material to be sure it has the right hand.
- Use it to get final approval from clients.
Do samples need to be free?
Ideally, yes. Designers working on large commercial projects such as hotels, hospitals, or campuses will be placing large orders. They are gathering a lot of different types of material. They need to see and touch these materials to make decisions. Charging even a small amount for a sample could be a hoop they are just not willing to jump through, especially for a large-scale project.
Keep in mind that most designers are not spending their days frivolously ordering samples. They don’t want the clutter any more than a printer wants the expense of making a sample unlikely to become an order.
What do designers need to know?
Designers also need to educate themselves about how the on-demand business model is different. Unlike how they sourced materials traditionally, there are no samples just sitting around in a sample room ready to be shipped upon request. Just like production orders, samples are printed upon request.
With this in mind, designers need to make fewer, more thoughtful choices. Thankfully, the benefits of on-demand printing mean that designers have more control than ever from the start. For example, they can match a color exactly instead of ordering a few samples to see which matches best.
The printers who develop an easy, low-cost system for sampling will make working with them more accessible for designers, and their business will grow in this market.
Kristen Dettoni is the founder and CEO of Design Pool LLC, the only pattern library created exclusively for interior designers. Since 1996, Kristen has worked for mills throughout North America, designing fabrics for automobiles, furniture, and home furnishings. She developed the first sustainable upholstery fabric for office interiors, the first sustainable upholstery fabric for automotive interiors, and was awarded a patent for automotive suspension seating. Kristen believes strongly in the power of good design to transform our environments and experiences.