How 3D Rendering Helps the Marketing of Furniture Companies


Introducing any new product to today’s saturated market is difficult. Things get even harder for furniture companies because they have to communicate the values, features, and functions of a product that has an otherwise simple purpose. A chair is for seating, a cabinet is for storage, a desk is where you put the laptop, and the stationery goes into the drawer. However, a piece of furniture usually does much more than what it is intended for. Made with intricate details, it is both a functional and decorative item. If crafted from heavy-duty or exotic materials, furniture can be the centerpiece of an interior or perhaps an investment thanks to the high resale value.

It takes an innovative advertising technique to deliver the correct message about what furniture can do and how it may improve life beyond the typical function. Taking hints from IKEA’s marketing strategy, furniture companies big and small have now started to understand that 3D rendering is the best way to make the point and promote customer engagement. 

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3D furniture rendering is the process of converting a three-dimensional model of an object into a two-dimensional format. All rendered images start as 3D models created using computer-aided design (CAD) software. In its original form, a 3D model is a technical drawing of the shape of an object. Although the shape is easy to perceive and recognize, the overall image is plain and unsuitable for advertising. Rendering completes the missing elements such as color, texture, pattern, lighting, and shadows. A proper rendering process done by a skillful artist produces photorealistic computer graphic imagery (CGI). For companies that make or sell furniture, 3D rendering can help with the marketing effort—a big deal for many reasons.

Realistic product images without a photographer

Whether you want to make a printed or digital catalog, chances are you need a professional photographer to prepare the product images. You may also need to hire a photo studio to ensure you get good-quality promotional pictures. The problem is that the catalog requires regular updates. You have to hire a photographer again as soon as the product list changes. It is not a one-time expense, and it hurts the profit margin each time. 

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One of the most significant advantages of 3D rendering compared with conventional photography is that it doesn’t take a photographer and a studio to create product images. Powerful CAD software in the hands of an experienced artist is all you need. Unlike photography, a 3D model can be rendered multiple times under different settings to reproduce unique images every single time. There is no need for a myriad of lighting equipment, decorations, additional items, and room layouts to create any product image. Crucially, you don’t need any physical product at all because everything is done on a computer. 

Perfect for product websites

No one argues that real product photos on a furniture website make a great tool to convince customers. Once again, your company is at a disadvantage here because the pictures do not come cheap. If you want to capture all the little details of the furniture from various viewing angles in many different interior designs or show how good they look under perfect lighting conditions, you have to pay for monumental photography work. 

3D renderings are the next best thing to traditional photography, if not even better. Detailed renders can show how the furniture will look when placed in multiple types of environments. You get to choose which part of the furniture to highlight, the position of the lighting source, and how intense the light is. A render artist will make sure that all the dimensions are accurate and the view is as close as possible to being realistic. Moreover, you can provide an interactive platform for visitors to rotate and have a 360-degree view of the image.

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Blogs and social media

A business website is primarily static because the content does not change much over the years. Familiarity and consistency are essential, which means frequent changes are not advisable. You don’t want a customer to revisit your furniture website and get confused with different product placements or new pictures. This is where a blog comes in: you can post fresh content, including images, without altering the website’s layout.

Keep the website as a place for your current furniture lineup. The blog is where you post concepts, helpful articles, industry news, design-related information, and portfolio updates. In addition to driving traffic to the main website, a blog is an excellent platform to communicate directly with customers through comments. To make sure both the blog and website have equal content quality, 3D rendering of furniture is a must. Thanks to the level of realism and detail that 3D rendering can achieve, you can communicate ideas more easily and share your insights in clear language.

The same thing applies to social media. Social websites like Instagram focus heavily on multimedia content, making it an ideal space for a furniture company to promote products and engage customer interaction. More importantly, social media makes it easy for anyone to share images. Even if some people are not interested in buying your furniture, they may send the links to their friends and families, who perhaps will find your products appealing. Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter are powerful channels, so you might as well take full advantage of them by posting your best 3D rendered furniture to the networks.

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Fresh click-inviting newsletter

Let us not forget about the newsletter, the old but tried-and-true Internet-based marketing effort. Every company wants to stay in the customers’ minds and always looks for enticing ideas to grab customers’ attention. Email marketing may be old, but the content doesn’t have to be old as well.

Instead of using mere words to tell customers about your new offerings and updated catalog, spare some space to attach 3D rendered images. Placement can be at the top or middle of the email in the hope that it doesn’t go straight to the trash bin. If your company sends a newsletter once a month (or sooner), providing fresh imagery is indispensable to avoid annoying the subscribers. An attractive image may encourage some of them to click the link and land on your website.

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Promotional aspect categorization

When it comes to 3D furniture rendering, there are three basic types:

  • Exclusive Visage: the focus is on the appearance of a specific product. Advertised furniture is depicted in front of plain black or white background.
  • Lifestyle Model: the rendering showcases furniture products in an interior space. A proper combination of positional arrangements, dimensions, lighting, and colors accurately represents how the products will look in various settings.
  • Product Associate: a scene features some furniture accompanied by complementary items. They are positioned in such a way as to highlight the main products.

The whole point of the categorization is to offer advertising variety in uniformity. Although the main furniture products may be the same in all three types, different renders widen your potential customer base. Even if someone is not impressed with an exclusive visage, a lifestyle model may trigger a response.

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Flexible presentation

Every single piece of furniture can have ten or more design options. A 3D designer can start with one design of a wooden chair in a natural color, yet it is not difficult to imagine that a rendering process can result in a large assortment of variations. The designer can propose different colors, materials, upholstery, pattern, detailing, finish, and even fastening. Since the visualization is done in a CGI environment, experiments with physical products are unnecessary. All of a sudden, your company is in possession of possible production models despite spending no money on any actual prototype.

Rendered images also are ready-to-use advertising materials. You can post them on websites or social media and immediately start a marketing campaign for a product not yet manufactured. It is almost instant marketing without giving the impression that you are in a hurry to push new products out of the production line.

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Detailed specification

By adding some informative content to the rendered images, you can also turn the advertising materials into clear manufacturing plans. Concise information such as dimension, types of wood/metal to use, and an exploded view of the furniture (with annotation) gives a detailed specification of the product. In addition to providing a description of every part of the furniture, the perceived message is that your company has the manufacturing capability to assemble those parts into a fully functioning product.

Indeed, furniture is not the most complex object to assemble, but at the very least, the target audience is now convinced of your technical proficiency. As an added bonus, the production team can use the same rendered image to learn and understand what the designers want. 

Multiple design concepts

Lifestyle models of furniture rendering can help expand your customers’ vision about the products. Furniture is put into a thematic environment to trigger an emotional response and encourage the audience to dig deeper into the product’s true value and purpose. Customers will see how the furniture looks in various interior designs, such as minimalistic, rustic, industrial, contemporary, and classics from particular time periods. The availability of options affects purchase decisions. No matter the concept design you need, 3D rendering can create it.

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Real-life scenes on a budget

A professional, experienced photographer with the right set of equipment can capture excellent product images to depict real-life scenes, given the time and budget. To produce a single image with all the proper lighting and weather conditions may require hauling an entire crew with camera gear out to create one scene. And a perfect backdrop doesn’t always arrive at the right moment. Furthermore, the final image only offers so much in terms of modification (photo manipulation). You must build multiple sets to obtain a reasonable number of photos good enough to use as marketing materials.

The 3D rendering process removes all those hassles. It doesn’t even have to wait for nature to provide the right intensity of sunlight, shade, and weather. Every tiny detail of a scene is computer-generated. A 3D artist has the freedom to change the light source, increase or reduce light intensity, alter the direction of sunray, wind speed, water reflection, surface deflection, and shadows. Because 3D rendering does not depend on external and often unpredictable factors, depicting real-life scenes is a lot quicker compared to photography. Depending on the rendering studio tasked with the job, you can get dozens of 3D furniture renderings—each painting a different picture—in a couple of weeks or so. As a result, you get to display the products quicker than your photography-based competitors.

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Short preparation time

To produce a hyper-realistic image, a 3D rendering professional needs only technical drawings and style preferences. Detailed instructions allow them to deliver an unmatched level of realism. It takes anywhere from a few hours to several weeks to produce high-quality 3D rendering, as it all depends on the complexity of the project. That said, it is still much quicker than what traditional photography would take to come up with equally good results.

3D rendering makes sure you get campaign-ready furniture images in a short time or at least avoid any pushback from the scheduled timeline. It is useful when you have to outrun competitors, for example during seasonal and other time-sensitive marketing campaigns. 

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Season-appropriate design

Thanks to 3D rendering, it is not at all a cumbersome process to give your catalog a seasonal makeover. With every change in season and holiday, customers are on the lookout for new trends, up-to-date designs, and fresh styles. The conventional means of producing marketing materials is hardly sustainable, especially for a small company. It is just too expensive and time-consuming.

3D rendering can use your existing technical drawings or 3D models and recreate new scenes appropriate to the current marketing subject. If in the spring the rendering features natural elements like flowers, leaves, and calm decorations, it only makes sense to replace them with snow and a glowing furnace in the winter. Color schemes may range from warm tones to freezing white. All that work involves no photographer at all. As long as you have the base 3D models of the furniture, rendering tackles the rest of the process. 

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Lower marketing costs

Nothing shown in a 3D rendering of furniture needs to exist in real life. The furniture, or rather a picture of it, starts as a digital object drawn on a computer. Then some clever photo manipulation techniques transform the base model into a realistic-looking picture. A major upside of the method is the absence of physical products. You can create a photo album without having the object in the first place. Rendering requires no product prototype so that you can save money on marketing.

Your furniture company can now spend the saved budget and time to focus on real marketing efforts. If previously the campaign was done through social media and online platforms, now it can afford the more expensive and effective methods of promotion, for example, TV ads on popular shows and product demonstrations at public venues.

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Quick digital alterations

If the rendered image misses some important points, a 3D artist can implement changes quickly. There will be situations in which product designers want to make a few alterations to the existing promotional materials just days before the launch of the marketing campaign. 3D rendering makes it easier to add additional shots from different angles, give final touches, change colors, or remove complementary objects from the scene.

What makes 3D rendering an ideal form of furniture imagery is the ease of modification. A 3D model can serve as the foundation for hundreds of unique renders to fit the marketing ideas. And the best part is the low-cost production budget. It is much cheaper to create a 3D rendering than to build a whole new photo set each time you need a new image. A new render doesn’t happen instantly, that’s true; it takes time, but the process will not be as long and expensive as preparing a new promotional photograph.

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Catering to different markets

One-size-fits-all doesn’t really work as a furniture marketing approach, even more so when you want to sell the products to a vast target market. A different customer group within a certain demographic can have an entirely conflicting idea of what furniture should be. For example, the middle-aged working class may want their furniture to be simple, practical, and understated, whereas the fashionable young group will find that elaborate, modern, and colorful items are more appealing.

You have no option but to adjust the catalog to cater to different markets. 3D rendering allows for limitless adjustments to details big and small without changing the basic specification of the furniture. Small changes in colors, upholstery, and finishes can work wonders to boost your products’ appeal to multiple target markets.

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So far, the discussion about 3D rendering has revolved around the still-image format. However, modern CAD software is more than capable of creating animated rendering too. It is not just a product image that you can rotate and zoom, but one that comes with pop-up information. For instance, a rendered image of a chair might have some clickable spots in important parts to reveal the material, dimension, maximum weight, an extra stool underneath, style, and specifications. Click on the armrest, and the page reveals a text to describe what it is made of and how it is manufactured; if it is the cushion, the pop-up says something about its thickness and durability.

Think of it as an exploded view of furniture in 3D, displaying the product part by part and layer by layer. Interactivity does not affect the level of detail. If anything, clickable arrows or dots encourage the audience to explore more about the furniture. The only downside is that interactivity only works on online platforms. For print media, the images are usually screenshots of the interactive render.

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Creativity-inducing format

One of the most overlooked advantages of 3D modeling and the subsequent 3D rendering method for marketing is their effect on designers’ creativity. Instead of spending a lot of time and money buying actual materials, paint, tools, and prototyping services, designers have the freedom to build anything imaginable using a computer. It does require CAD software (some are free) and a learning process to master the interface. Still, it is money and time well spent. Creative teams will be able to explore new design approaches and product concepts for many years to come without additional expense.

With endless product variations at their fingertips, designers can come up with new ideas on the fly. Over time they may be able to produce not only best-selling furniture but their own marketing materials. Until they can master the software, in the meantime rendering is a job best left to professionals, whether through hiring a design company or freelancers. 

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Limitless creations

Although photography is more than capable of producing an excellent furniture catalog, 3D rendering is a mile ahead in terms of creativity, completion time, and affordability. Given the right CAD software, the only limit is the designers’ imagination. The ability to create something out of literally nothing is every designer’s dream. The simple fact is that 3D rendering can produce an impressive level of realism that surpasses the lifelikeness of photography. It is astounding to see that a computer-generated image turns out to be more convincing than an actual photograph.

IKEA has been at the forefront of the utilization of 3D rendering in furniture marketing. They have mastered the art to the point where hardly anybody realizes that more than 75 percent of the images in their catalog are 3D renders. This is not to say that only big companies with seemingly endless financial resources can take full advantage of the technology. The cost for 3D rendering services has been becoming more competitive over the years, which means small furniture companies and marketers continue to see it as a better alternative to photography.

3D models are also valuable assets. A designer can render the objects over and over again with different settings to produce unique images each time. For those working in the furniture industry, 3D rendering is a fast lane to improving creativity, marketing efficiency, and, at the end of the day, profitability. 

How Cad Crowd can help

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