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Retail Space Planning Guide to Attract Shoppers & Influence Purchase

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Did you know that your shop’s design can actually have a significant impact on customer engagement and sales? From drawing someone into your store to ensuring that they leave after making a few purchases, successful retail design is really all about understanding what moves a potential shopper and influences their buying decisions.

Which is why, today, we’ll be exploring some of the basics of retail space planning.  Space planning is essentially the art and science of organising store elements to help shoppers navigate with ease and also get them to stay in your store longer. An important thing to remember is that from the moment a potential customer steps in until they decide to checkout, your design decisions will determine whether you make a sale or not.

Benefits of retail space planning

One of the biggest benefits of retail space planning is that you’ll end up with a layout that is not only aesthetically pleasing, but is also very functional and easy to navigate in. This will in turn help your products to sell faster.

Steps for effective retail space planning

Step #1

Think about the entry

The entry point or the decompression zone, as it is popularly referred to as, is where your potential customer transitions from the outside world into your store space. It is the space that prepares him/her for what lies ahead. So, to craft an appealing and enticing decompression zone, you’ll want to

  1. Create a wide and clutter-free space
  2. Make entry easy and obstruction-free, with a clear overview of the merchandise on display
  3. Avoid any marketing gimmick, this can be potentially distracting
  4. Create a space that is welcoming and not cloistering

 

Step #2

Direct your Customers

It’s very important for retailers to ensure that shoppers have it easy when it comes to finding products.  This is why, a right to left (counter-clockwise) approach works very well.  Since most people are right handed, they will turn to the right by instinct. Many stores will have a circular path while some will make it easier for shoppers to navigate by colouring the path or covering it in a different texture.

 

Step #3

Now slow them down

Now that your prospective customer is inside the store and browsing through you goods, a good idea is to get them to slow down with speed bumps. Provide a few visual beaks by incorporating special offers, signages, or popular merchandise, halfway along a particular section. This will ensure that shoppers end up walking all the way to end of the aisle exploring these items.

 

Another interesting space planning technique is to do away with windows. Often this shuts out any distraction and connection with the outside world, helping shoppers lose track of time and by that spending more time at your store.

 

Stocking staples or frequently used items at the back of the store is another effective space planning technique. This automatically increases the time a shopper will spend at your store, also creating opportunities for impulse purchases.

 

Step #4

Throw in some comfort

Make it a comfortable and memorable experience for your shoppers by creating a waiting zone with chairs or benches. Shoppers are automatically motivated to spend more time at your shop. Keep these benches facing the merchandise, so visibility is high and your products are on their mind, while they wait or lounge around.

 

Step #5

Shelf spacing

While shelf-spacing is a debatable topic with retailers having a bunch of different approaches, some of the popular techniques include:

  1. Placing products at eye-level
  2. Placing products at the end of the aisle, for maximising visibility.

Another valuable tip is to observe your customer closely and notice what it is that draws them in, as well as their overall response to your store’s layout.  You see, designing a shop’s interior is a never-ending process. You’re always going to want to tweak, change and add on elements in your bid to improve the customer’s experience. And this matters tremendously because ultimately it is what will influence your company’s bottom-line.

Now, if you’re on the lookout for professional guidance for your retail design project, we can help with that too. Give us a call on 1800 551 225 today.

 

 

The 3 Stages of a Commercial Interior Design project

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A question that clients often ask us is: “What does an interior designer do during a commercial project?”  Today’s blog post attempts to answer this question by sharing the exact steps and stages involved in any new commercial interior project.  If you’re on the fence about hiring the professionals to do up your spaces, this blog post will give you plenty of insights. Read on…

Broadly speaking commercial designers will either create or lead the construction/renovation of a commercial area. So, whether it’s a retail space, corporate office, doctor’s clinic or a restaurant, they’ll be able to guide you with regards to your choice of materials, layout, space planning and distribution, interior wall arrangements and also liaise with the other professionals working on your project.

Stage 1 Design Development & Sourcing

At the initial meeting, the designer will look into your requirements and ask questions.  After you’ve provided your brief, they’ll study your space, take exact measurements and also research ideas about finishing details, furniture styles, colour palettes, flooring, etc. Based on the all the information that has been collated and gathered, they’ll prepare drawings and space layout options for you to review.

They’ll also source samples for all your finishes, so you can test and finalise according to your preference. Any custom-designed pieces or treatments will also be included in for your review.

The next step is to meet and review your plans and finalise all selections. Once you’ve given a go-ahead on your design drawings, the designer will add in all the final detailing, the exact measurements for all the joinery and also draw up electrical and plumbing plans.

Sometimes, interior designers are able to create a 3D version of the proposed layout, with the colours, furniture and furnishings selected, to give you a real visual idea of what your space is going to look like.

Stage 2 Tendering

Here’s where we come in. At the tendering stage of the project, you’ll want to start sharing your plans with building contractors to get their quotations. Your designer will now detail out all your drawings, so that we know exactly what you’re intending for the design. Remember: The more details you provide, the more accurate our price quote is also likely to be.

Once you’ve received multiple contractor bids, the designer will assist you in reviewing each one of them to ensure that the pricing is fair and accurate. They’ll also draft and submit purchase orders now, so all your equipment, furniture and furnishings can be received before construction actually begins.

Our Tip: During the build stage, unforeseen developments can result in your budget to increase.  That’s why; it’s recommended that you account for a buffer amount of about 10-20%, just in case.

Stage 3: Build & Installation

With the build/renovation work on in full swing, your designer will stay in charge of regular site visits to inspect the progress. Typically they’re now functioning as a project manager and looking into every minute detail of the build work. After the construction work is completed, they’ll coordinate the delivery and installation of your new furnishings, accessories, artworks, etc. The final walk-through with you will help fix any small issues that need attention.

So, there you have it: The 3 stages of a commercial interior design project.

Now, if you’re unsure about hiring a designer on your own, we can help you with that as well. We’ll commission a designer to create your designs, but not before we’ve created a brief for the designer. We’ll look into your project from start to finish and remain your point of contact for any new developments during the process.. This means,

  1. We’ll view your site/tenancy
  2. Create a brief based on your requirements
  3. Put together a cost estimate based on the work required
  4. Send your brief to a designer of your choosing or ours
  5. Coordinate with all three parties
  6. Have the designer draw up and finalise the plans
  7. Build the interior and work with the designer on changes
  8. Keep the designer in the loop and have them keep a check on the site for potential defects

Now that we’ve defined our exact role and helped you understand the entire construction process better, is it possible that you want to take this conversation further?  Get in touch today. Call us on: 1800 551 225.

 

– Pia Sinha

THE TOP 6 BENEFITS OF RENOVATING YOUR OFFICE

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An office refurbishment or renovation needs thought, detailed planning and tons of expert guidance. But why even consider one? You see, the average employee will spend a large part of his/her life at the workplace. It’s critical therefore, that you create an environment that is not only welcoming, but also guarantees employee efficiency. Now, we’ve been helping clients with their renovations and refits successfully for over 30 years. What we can assure you is that you can achieve plenty if only you make your spaces work to their fullest potential. Not convinced? Let us show you the exact benefits of renovating your office.

1) Enhances Productivity

From improved colour schemes, lighting to a general feeling of freshness in the office, an office renovation can do a lot to impact your employees’ morale. It will also give them the impression that you value them enough to create an environment that is conducive for them to thrive in. Your employees will in turn automatically feel motivated to work better, harder.

2) Attracts new clients

There is no doubt that your office is the face of your company and the quality of your workspace can in fact suggest how successful your business is. A renovation will lend a new lease of life to your office. Plus, it makes for excellent first impressions, telling your prospects that your business is doing well. This can go a long way in helping potential clients or customers put faith in your brand and choose to do business with you.

3) Creates more room

When you renovate, you’re likely to alter the layout of your space. This means you can create more space to fit your expanding workforce more comfortably by simply taking down walls and modifying the size of other spaces like storage, hallways, etc. A change in the choice of furniture can also mean more room for better traffic flow.

4) Is ideal for a rebrand

Renovations and rebrands go hand in hand. Why? Since you’re changing the way you want people to think about your brand, you’ll also want the theme to continue in other aspects of your business, like your workplace, for instance. Besides, a rebrand without a reno can also run the risk of failing to match up to the expectations of potential clients and in turn negate any of the positive effects of the rebrand.

5) Promotes health and safety

An office space that has been used for a while is prone to general wear and tear with the possibility of damage to fixtures, etc that may pose a health and safety hazard to your employees. A renovation will do well to take care of all these problems in turn helping reduce workplace accidents.

6) Encourages creativity and employee interaction

Your renovation can help create a layout plan that promotes free-flowing employee interaction. In doing so, creativity and teamwork will receive an impetus and your business in turn, is more likely to prosper.
Now, are you looking for the experts for your next office renovation? Perhaps you just have more queries about what an office renovation entails.

Give us a call on 1800 551 225 and we’ll help you with all your questions today.

Why Office Cubicles Still Have Their Advantages

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Are you considering ditching office cubicles all together? You may want to think again.

When office cubicles hit the market back in 1967 they were touted as being revolutionary and changed the landscape of the work environment.

Less than 20 years later however, office cubicles were blamed for being stifling and were linked to workplace dissatisfaction, reducing creativity and limiting interactions amongst employees.

Today, workplace cubicles are often rejected in place of collaborative, open floor plans but could they still have their advantages?

Many office spaces choose to still use cubicles, and for good reason. While they may not work for every workplace environment, here are 3 key advantages of the cubicle that are important to consider-

1.) They Enhance Focus

While an open office space is the hottest trend right now, cubicles have been shown to be far superior when it comes to promoting focus and productivity.

In an open office there are often many distractions such as phone conversations, footsteps and so on, whereas the cubicle offers a place of retreat.

Being in a cubicle also offers a certain degree of privacy without walls or doors, which helps to enhance concentration but also leaves the opportunity for communication amongst other team members.

In a way, cubicles offer a happy medium between having an open workspace and also having privacy.

2.) They Promote Purposeful Communication

Open offices are often believed to be the best design choice for improving work place communication and collaboration, but one study found that office cubicles are actually just as effective, but in a different way.

According to the study which was published in the Sage Journal, office cubicles were shown to support “more intense patterns of interaction and smoother flows of information, while reducing interaction time amongst colleagues”.

In other words, cubicles were found to promote communication amongst employees, however the interactions were found to be shorter and more purposeful.

It seems that in an open office space, people are more likely to idly chat, whereas the idea of approaching your co-worker in a cubicle creates a greater sense of purpose when it comes to communication.

3.) They Reduce Clutter

Cubicles are often small and are sized to fit a computer, some desk space and not much else. This means that there is often no room for clutter when it comes to cubicles.

We all know that cluttered workspaces can reduce productivity, increase employee dissatisfaction and promote stress, and it seems that cubicles can definitely help to counteract this.

Due to the easily accessible nature of cubicles, employees are also less likely to leave personal things or sensitive documents laying around, which can also help to curb the build-up of clutter.

Cubicles have come a long way since the 60’s and they no longer need to be drab and uninspiring. Today, there are many modern cubicle designs that are flexible and come in an array of colours and shapes.

So, while cubicles may not be everyone’s favourite they still have many benefits to consider and may be a surprising solution for your office environment.

4 Warning Signs Your Office Needs an Update

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We would all like our offices to have the latest and greatest in furniture and design, but of course, this is not always possible.

Office redesigns can be disruptive to the workplace and not to mention, they can be costly. But when does an office design become necessary?

It is easy to think that your office can get by looking the way it does year after year, but the truth is that eventually a poor office design can impact on productivity and can leave your employees feeling uninspired. Customers and clients are also likely to be affected, and may feel “put off” by old, outdated office spaces.

Eventually, over time your poor office design can cost you your business, which is why it’s so important to pay attention to these warning signs and to take action-

4 Warning Signs Your Business Needs an Update

1.) Your Office Space Looks Out of Date

If your office has drab walls and desks or furniture that is more than 5-10 years old, it could be seriously harming your business. When your office looks out of date, it sends the message to your clients and employees that your business is behind the times and not up to date on the latest in the industry.

The good news is that updating your office doesn’t have to be complicated. A few coats of paint, a bold accent wall and some updated desks and chairs can make a world of difference to your space.

2.) There is a lot of “Stuff” Everywhere

Over the years your office can collect a lot of stuff that becomes redundant, such as mismatched stationary, old printers and so on. This can not only create a cluttered workspace and hamper productivity, but it can also make your office feel smaller and less open.

To counteract this, every year plan a big clean out of your office space where you remove things that are no longer in use. This helps your office to stay clean and can also free up more space. Offices that regularly clear away stuff that is no longer needed also look more inviting.

3.) Your Office is Too Crowded

In Australia, it is recommended that an office environment should offer each person 6-10 square meters of space. However, this number may be more depending on the type of work that your company does. If your office space is offering less than this, it is a clear sign that it is time to upgrade to a new and bigger location.

4.) Having Unused Space

Having unused space in your office is also a clear sign that you need to work out a better flow or order of events in your environment. Unused space is a waste and may mean that other areas of your office are cluttered or being overused.

While every office environment will be different, work out how you can turn your unused space into something practical and useful. This in turn, will help to improve productivity and will also give your clients and employees more space to get things done.

How Your Office Design Can Communicate Power and Strength

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The layout and design of your office speaks volumes about your brand and the type of business that you run.

Even though we know we should never judge a book by its cover, the minute your customers, clients or employees walk through your office doors they are making observations about the type of business that you run.

No matter what accolades you have or trophies you have acquired, if your office is cluttered, messy and disorganised, it is likely that you are going to turn prospective customers and employees away.

While keeping your office clean is fairly obvious, did you know that you can also use the layout and design of your space to convey emotions like power and strength?

Just like a massage parlour may convey feelings of serenity and peace with water fountains and relaxing music, your office environment can adopt this same concept to instil a feeling of strength and power.

Here’s how-

1.) Favour Industrial Design
Industrial design is a huge trend in office design right now and includes high, open ceilings, exposed brick and a combination of metal and wood. This style is not only fashionable, but it also helps to convey feelings of power and strength. Psychologically, seeing exposed building materials conveys the message of “hardwork” and helps to portray that your office is honest and down to earth.

2.) Allow Natural Light
Having natural light in a workplace has been shown to enhance feelings of productivity and happiness. And of course, there is nothing more powerful than seeing a productive and happy work place environment.

Artificial and fluorescent lights can also be very draining and can convey a “stuffy” feeling. If your building doesn’t receive a lot of natural light, placing plants and other greenery in the space can help to counteract this. Just make sure to keep the plants alive and healthy looking, as dying plants definitely do not help to indicate strength and power!

3.) Present Accolades/Certificates-
If your business has won awards, trophies or certificates, consider making a stylish display cabinet that is visible for clients and customers when they enter your office space. By showcasing your many successes, it helps to promote the strength and power of your brand. It can also help potential customers and clients to get excited about working with your company as well.

Many doctors and medical professionals use this technique, and seeing their certificates on the wall definitely helps to put the patients mind at ease.

4.) Use Strong Colours
Colour can have a powerful effect on our mood and the way we think. Using strong colours like grey, dark green, red, orange and even gold helps to convey power and strength in the office space.

Choose a colour palette that works the best for your brand and compliments your logo. By doing so, you can help to create an organised and professional looking office space that instantly conveys the feeling of confidence, power and strength.

5 Affordable Design Hacks for Small Retail Spaces

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Small retail spaces can be cosy and exclusive but they can also be difficult to organise.

When it comes to your retail space, your layout is everything and can heavily impact on your sales, customer satisfaction rates and so much more.

If you are struggling to organise your small retail space, here are 5 affordable hacks that you can implement –

Hack #1 Have an Accent Wall

When you have a small retail space, the last thing you want to do is use a lot of bold colours along the walls. This can create a “boxed-in” feeling and can make your retail space feel cramped. Instead, consider using white, neutral colours on all of the walls except one. By having one accent wall in a bold colour, it can create the illusion of more space and it can become an eye catching feature of your store. While paint is a great and affordable option, using coloured wallpaper with different textures can also create the same affect.

Hack #2 Display Items Vertically

If you don’t have a lot of room to work with, displaying items vertically and along the walls can be a great way to get around this. The best way to achieve this look without creating a cluttered appearance is to hang shelving at different height levels. This not only allows you more display space but it also creates a visually appealing look.

Hack #3 Have Organised Storage Space

In a small space it can be tempting to crowd all of your merchandise onto one shelf, but this can detract your customers and make your space look even smaller. To counteract this, consider limiting the number of items you keep on display and only refill your stock when you need to. If your store doesn’t have a storeroom, keeping a small organised storage unit under the register is also a good solution. By having an effective storage system, it can help your store to remain clutter free and organised.

Hack #4 Make Use of Lighting

Lighting is a great way to create the illusion of more space and can instantly add an open, airy feel to your store. For the best results, consider using a combination of different lighting such as natural light, lamps, track lights and sconces. By varying the lighting in your store, it can help to create a spacious feeling and as a bonus, it also provides a nice decorative touch.

Hack #5 Use Open Bookcases as Dividers

Dividers may seem like a great way to organise your store but they can also make your smaller space feel even smaller. To work around this, consider using open bookcases as dividers instead. These not only allow you more storage space, but they also create a more open and expansive feel. Using bookcases instead of permanent dividers is also much more affordable and allows for greater flexibility as well.

These 5 hacks are simple, yet they can have a profound impact when it comes to creating more space in your retail store.

Opening a Restaurant? Here are 4 Money Saving Tips

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Opening a new restaurant can be daunting. There are many factors to consider from the layout to the menu and so much more.

If you are looking for budget friendly ideas when it comes to the design and overall aesthetics of your restaurant, here are 4 top tips to consider-

1) Choose Your Tables Wisely 

You may think it is more economical to purchase cheap tables and cover them with fresh linen table cloths but you may want to think again. Table cloths can be expensive to maintain and require constant washing and replacing.

A good tip when it comes to saving money at your restaurant is to choose tables that look great without a table cloth.

By choosing nice tables that fit the décor and theme of your restaurant, you can save on the cost of the table cloths and the labour fees, such as the washing and the pressing.

If you like the idea of having fresh linens in your restaurant, a good substitute instead is to use cloth napkins. Napkins are much easier to maintain, and don’t require pressing. Napkins are also much cheaper to replace and can add a touch of class to your restaurant.

2) Protect your Menus

Giving your customers a menu printed on thick card may seem like the cheapest option however, this is not always the case.

Paper menus without protective coverings can easily get dirty, ripped and crumpled. This is not a good look for your restaurant and can end up costing you time and money in reprinting fees. Furthermore, constantly reprinting menus is not environmentally friendly.

In order to ensure your menus stand the test of time, consider placing them in a protective sleeve or folder. This not only adds a touch of class to your restaurant but it also ensures that your menu stays free of rips, tears and food spills.

3) Try Second-hand Restaurant Equipment

The kitchen in your restaurant is the most important part, but it can also be the most expensive. Chances are your kitchen will need many gadgets and appliances from storage fridges to grills, ice-machines and so much more.

While you may not be able to buy everything second hand, looking into gently used kitchen equipment can potentially save you thousands.

You can also look into leasing kitchen equipment in order to save money as well, especially in the beginning when your set up costs may be high.

4) Skip the Uniforms 

Uniforms with your restaurant logo embossed on them may look neat and professional, but they can also be expensive.

In order to keep costs down, consider having your staff wear their own clothes. A simple white shirt and black pants is a classic look that most wait staff would be happy to provide.

If you want to create a uniform of some kind, consider giving your staff aprons instead. Aprons are much more affordable than an entire outfit and will give your staff that professional feel you are looking for.

These 4 money saving tips are simple, yet they can go a long way when it comes to keeping costs down in your restaurant.

4 Office Fit-Out Ideas for Small Workspaces

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Is your office space feeling cramped, cluttered or small?

If you have a small office space however and are looking to maximise every square inch, having an office fit out can be an excellent option, especially if moving or upsizing is not in the budget just yet.

When it comes to planning an office fit out in a smaller space, there are some tips and tricks you can follow that can help to not only maximise every inch but also create the illusion of more space.

Here are 4 office fit out ideas to consider when dealing with a small space-

1) Choose Light Neutral Colours

One of the easiest ways to create the illusion of more space is to use lighter colours that are clean, cool and crisp. These include neutrals, whites and pale blues or greens. Darker or warmer colours can give spaces more of a cosy feel, which can be great in a larger space but not so great in a smaller space. Darker colours can also create more of a cramped feel, so they are best to be avoided when choosing your colour scheme. Textured walls and patterns can also create a more “cosy” feel so these are also best avoided when dealing with a small space.

2) Clear the Clutter  
One of the most important things to consider before staging your office fit out is what is truly necessary in your space. Over the years it is likely that your business has collected files, paperwork and other things that are really no longer necessary. A good way to start with the decluttering process is to work out what you really need in your space. Once you have established what is truly important, it will be easier to clear away what is no longer necessary.  When planning your office fit out, having a list of what is needed will also help you to prioritise the layout and design of your space.

3) Choose Multifunctional Furniture 

When space is of the essence, having big, bulky furniture that doesn’t serve multiple purposes is best to be avoided. In order to maximise the space, it is best to use multifunctional furniture that can serve a variety of purposes and functions. Having furniture that is flexible and easy to move around the space is also a great way to maximise space.

4) Use Lighting to Limit Shadows

Another helpful tip to create the illusion of more space is through lighting. When your office space is well lit it helps to create an open, airy feel and can also make your workplace more inviting. The trick with this is to have ample lighting to limit shadows and any dark spots. To do this you need to have lighting on all three levels- eye level, floor level and table level. By doing this, it will help to keep your office space looking open and bright.

By following these 4 simple tips, your small office space will not only be functional and practical but also extremely spacious.

Can the Layout of Your Office Promote Employee Wellbeing?

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Our environment has a huge impact on our feelings of wellbeing and happiness. In fact, new research has found that a well-designed office can drastically boost the moods of employees and even customers and clients.

When it comes to determining how to design your office space, it is becoming increasingly important to put an emphasis on employee wellbeing. This is because everyone knows that happy and healthy employees lead to higher productivity rates and higher profits. 

In one study, it was found that happiness in the office space boosted productivity by 12 percent and this number continued to increase as the years went on.

Of course, thinking about the wellbeing of all of your employees when it comes to your office fit out can be tricky. Where do you even begin?

Here are some steps to help you get started- 

1) Create a Flexible Work Place

Creating a flexible workplace is about offering functional spaces that can be easily changed or adapted depending on the tasks that need to be completed. Having a flexible workplace allows you to accommodate to the many needs and desires of your staff, even if your office space is small. 

For example, you may choose to use furniture that you can easily move around and reconfigure. Or you may design one area of your office to be a quiet, relaxing space and another area to be focused on communal tasks or socialising. 

By keeping your layout flexible, it also allows you to accommodate for new employees and for changing trends. 

2) Reflect Company Culture in Your Design  

Before you select the layout of your office space, the most important factor to consider is your company culture. What does your company culture stand for?

If you have a company culture that is focused on mindfulness for example, then it is going to make sense to include soft muted colours, Zen furniture and maybe even exercise equipment.

On the other hand, if you have a fast paced office environment and a highly motivated company culture, you may want to favour bold colours and bright furniture. 

By taking into account your company culture in your office design, it will also help you to attract the right kind of employees. 

3) Keep Noise Distractions to a Minimum

Loud noises or distracting noises is one of the most common complaints for employees. 

When planning your office fit out, consider the nosiest areas of your work environment and then try to keep those areas in one section of your office space. 

You may also what to consider installing sound absorbent materials such as carpeting and sound proofing. Having closed cubicles that workers can have access to when they are looking for complete peace and quiet is also a good idea. 

Every company is unique, which is why no two office fit outs are ever the same. 

Before planning your office fit out, take a moment to consider the needs of your employees and what is going to work best for the majority. 

You may not be able to cater to everyone, but with some strategic thinking and planning you can get pretty close.