Perth, 24th February 2010
As lighting designers we rely heavily on our experience when specifying products for our lighting designs. The more experienced we are the better we also can read manufacturers product catalogues. Suppliers that have been around for a long while are experienced and generally know their “stuff”. But often we get suppliers or manufacturers agents to visit us with their latest product catalogue without really knowing what they are actually offering. It would n’t be the first time I get a young sales person over in the office that does not know the difference between lux or lumens.
Product selling is quite different from application selling! We need to understand primarily what a product does, not necessarily what all the technical parameters are! We think in lighting effects, not in technical units…at least I don’t.
So a good lighting catalogue (and sales person) should really help you in assessing lighting effects rather than citing a long list of all its products technical features. Don t get me wrong, we need the photo metric data as experienced lighting designers we can translate the curves and diagrams in probable lighting effects. But actual lighting effect pictures (with the actual fitting, not other fittings and non achievable effects as we often see in “dodgy” catalogues) will help us better understand what to expect. Application selling is also about promoting the unique features that set the product apart from others and that can benefit the lighting effects and lighting concept that I am after. I am selling my lighting concept to my client so I also need those special lighting features that will help make my client happy!
I know that making lighting catalogues is a tedious job, having been involved myself making one in my Philips time! The trend seems to be that the bigger the catalogue the better, but to me the simpler the better, as long as it captures the essence of the product…Don’t forget catalogues are sales tools in the first place, not necessarily a design tool!