The Science Behind the Way Archviz Influences a Buyer's Decision
Egypt, cca. 2780 B.C. It’s hot as hell. Imhotep, pharaoh Djoser’s architect, is sweating beyond decency. Finally, he finished the concept.
He rolls up the papyrus without even knowing he’s about to carve his name in history. Yet he dared and he succeeded in designing what’s believed to be…
The first. Pyramid. Ever.
Pharaoh Djoser was sold.
He loved it.
When you think about it, Imhotep was a visionary who enabled generations of extravagant rulers to shamelessly request gigantic, pointy tombs for themselves.
Believe it or not, around 30.000 builders repeatedly obliged to these requests throughout history. And today, almost 15 million people visit the pointy tombs every year. (Have you seen the pointy tombs yourself? They are truly magnificent.)
So, you’re probably wondering what does this story have to do with archviz and its power? Your question is legit, but fret not – we’re getting to it.
Here’s the Thing: Archviz Has Been Here for Centuries
Unless you’re one of those people who believe that pyramids have been brought to us by ancient aliens (weird, but ok), you can agree with us about one thing: these complex constructions required a lot of planning, logistics, and architectural mastery.
So, even in the early days of our civilization, architectural visualization was used to bridge the gap between the architect and “the client”, and sell the design. At the time, the usual clients included pharaohs, popes, kings, or local governments.
The need to visualize something that’s yet to be built was always there. However, two things related to archviz changed throughout time:
- The means
- The purpose
We’ll touch upon this briefly because the way acrhviz evolved plays a vital role in engaging today’s prospects and converting them into buyers (if you’re not that interested in this, feel free to scroll to the “Why Archviz Is So Powerful” section right away).
How the Means of Archviz Changed Throughout History
The means to visualize architecture changed drastically.
The first detailed pattern books and design drawings appeared in the Renaissance era. That’s when craftsmen and architects began to realize the true value of creating great blueprints.
They introduced perspective in drawings to add depth to space, and made maquettes as scale models (boy, these are such delicate works of art, we can only imagine how much did the dude sweat while making them *swamp ass alert*).
The 19th and 20th centuries brought axonometric drawings, collages, and photo manipulations. These added new phazz to archviz.
But the real revolution happened in the 80s and 90s with the technology of computing. Microsoft and Apple were the biggest tech names (well, they still kinda are) that changed the face of every industry out there. Archviz was no exception. Dedicated programs and renders entered the picture and they never left us since.
Fast forward to the 21st century and you have incredibly sophisticated means to visualize architecture and create incredible experiences for customers. It’s becoming impossible to distinguish between a render and a real photo. There’s VR, AR, all kinds of stuff.
How the Purpose of Archviz Changed
Let’s see what were the goals of the first 2D plans, scale models, and blueprints, shall we?
- They anchored one idea and turned it into something tangible and visual.
- They provided instructions on how to get from the idea into real space.
- They tried to visually communicate the aesthetics and functionality of the envisioned building or construction.
Today, with population growth and rapid urbanization, as well as the development of both commercial and residential real estate, the purpose of archviz has changed.
Don’t get us wrong, the core intention stayed more or less the same. It’s still about communicating ideas, taking the time to carefully plan, and finding a common ground with all those involved in the project.
However, archviz has shifted into a new realm of visual and real estate marketing. Thanks to technology, we are now able to build relationships with customers and even help them travel through time (yep, you read that right).
Today’s archviz is primarily about selling.
Why Archviz Is So Powerful
So, we know that archviz (or architectural rendering) is the art of creating 3D images or animations that visualize something that’s yet to be built. Bearing that in mind, you could say that archviz companies are essentially creative communication agencies that play a great role in real estate marketing.
There’s science behind the reasons why archviz is so powerful in terms of influencing a buyer’s decision. Most of them have something to do with the fact that people are visually wired.
You Can Look, But You Can’t Touch (Yet)
Believe it or not, 70% of all your sensory receptors are in your eyes and it takes less than 0.1 seconds for you to get a sense of a visual scene. We all know that humans have five senses.
Well, scientific circles added a sixth one – but no, it has nothing to do with Bruce Willis. The point is, you have different senses, but you consume the world around you primarily through your eyes. That’s your dominant sense.
We are undeniably visual beings. In fact, the main reason why we find stories captivating is because of our ability to create mental imagery – even involuntarily (thanks, primary visual cortex).
When your potential buyers look at 3D renders, they don’t see an imagined space. They see their potential future home or office. It’s the power of the image, the hyperrealism that creates a subconscious belief that this isn’t just a bunch of rendered colors and lines made with a computer. Rather, it’s a photograph from the future. It’s time-traveling with a twist.
It Cannot Be Unseen
Visuals are heavily used in education and there’s a pretty good reason for it. In fact, one study showed that after three days, a person retains around 65% of visual information that they were exposed to.
So, imagery tends to stick in long-term memory. And if we happen to see something that makes a very strong impression on us and drives us emotionally, then this percentage gets even higher.
Archviz has the power to engage the eye and suggest a narrative that buyers can identify with. This is why subtle details that evoke the feeling of the home such as furniture bits, lighting, and shadows, colors, texture are so hard to forget.
People can’t help it but to start envisioning themselves within that space.
Help Them Get in Touch With Their Feels
Newsflash: people buy things led by emotions and then try to justify their decisions with logic.
As a matter of fact, Harvard professor Gerald Zaltman argues that up to 95% of buying decisions are subconscious. This means that, although we like to brag that homo sapiens is the most advanced living creature on the planet – the poor sucker is still not very rational in the way he acts (just look at world politics, you’ll get the idea).
So, what does that mean for archviz?
It means you should use imagery to sell the sizzle, not the steak.
You see, in 1980, Robert Plutchik, psychologist and educator, created the wheel of emotions which covers four basic emotions and their opposites. When you study through them, you’ll see that visuals have the power to trigger each of them and even cause visceral reactions.
When people start comprehending a certain visual, a complex underlying processing mechanism is triggered. Mind you, this doesn’t mean you should ever try to manipulate your end buyers. It merely means you should carefully craft an emotional selling proposition for them.
Just Let Me Show You
There’s an old Chinese proverb that goes like this:
As you can see, there is a gradation in terms of how well we receive and remember information depending on the way it’s presented to us.
In archviz, this has incredible value. Yep, we’re talking about mind-blowing experiences brought to you by AR and VR.
VR and AR in archviz bring a whole new level of marketing real estate because they literally teleport your buyers to another space and time.
Instead of letting buyers imagine their future home, AR and VR places them there, which brings an all-consuming sensory experience. The buyers feel like they are in control, they are dazzled by the space they explore.
Remember: just because it isn’t there doesn’t mean it’s not real (or that it doesn’t feel real). Funky stuff.