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Branding in workplace design plays an increasingly important role

Posted on November 27, 2015 by Paul Goodchild

Workplace Design

When people talk about the pace of change in the modern world, they often refer to the speed at which technology develops. In fact, almost every aspect of the world in which we live is subject to near continuous change. In the case of artworks and branding in workplace design, the world is shifting very quickly indeed. The past ten years have seen a steady and profound revolution in every aspect of the way that we produce and design artwork for offices, retail environments and public spaces. The forces that are driving this revolution are wide ranging and complex and include the materials, technologies and services offered by our own suppliers as well as the attitudes, demands and behaviour of our clients.

The constant state of flux in the market means that it pays for clients to understand the impact that branding in workplace design can have on their business. Often, it is the growing sophistication of clients that is the key driver of change. But the technology and materials available to them are moving so quickly it also means they may sometimes underestimate the choices they have.

Of course, there is a constant pressure to stay one step ahead of the game, with many interiors being redesigned every few years and with minor changes happening all the time. Businesses want to engage in a number of ways both with their employees and customers as well as other stakeholders, and one of the ways in which they achieve that is by making a visual impact with interior design.

This is most obviously manifest in the way in which facilities managers talk about what they want from an office design. The emphasis has switched to choice and, in particular, the choice of colour and design along with the ability to constantly innovate and provide new perspectives. That is why the demands for artwork and branding that offer a range of aesthetics and finishes across a number of price points has been mirrored by innovations in design, materials and processes from their suppliers.

The push-me pull-you nature of this relationship has resulted in an unprecedented level of choice. But this brings with it some new challenges. The onus can shift to the buyer to understand how their business functions in order to make the most of the options open to them. But there is also a challenge for suppliers in terms of letting their clients know what is possible.

It is certainly the case that we, as a workplace design and fit-out business, have to deal with increasingly sophisticated and knowledgeable clients. This change has become vividly apparent in the past few years and we must constantly strive to keep pace with changes in the market if we are to offer the best possible advice, service and results.

This can be challenging given the choices we now have in terms of materials, designs and printing technology. Trying to grasp exactly how far materials and technology have come in the last few years makes a clear brief essential. Understanding needs in the first instance allows us to provide solutions that are certain to meet those needs and in some cases exceed them.

It is also important for everybody to understand just how cost effective some solutions can be, especially in a competitive market with demanding customers who want to constantly be delighted by new ideas and inspiration. It is certainly possible to turn projects around increasingly quickly in response to new demands, but new technology also allows us to produce solutions at a price that makes changes to an interior commercially viable.

As well as making a branding statement, graphics and signage can also provide solutions to other challenges of interior design. For example, wayfinding, which once was a voguish if not deal-breaking concern, has become a more important concern. Interiors can play an important role in providing visual wayfinding clues and there may be a resurgence of interest in it as people discover more about the potential for wayfinding as an element of an interior design. It is also an important factor in meeting the demands of new legislation, not least the Disability Discrimination Act.

The use of signage, glass and other finishes to convey corporate identity and brand values as well as providing solutions to other business issues is something that encapsulates the increasing sophistication of the market. Branding used to be manifest in some pretty obvious ways, with logos woven into carpets, point of sale displays and banners with possibly the ubiquitous use of a small palette of corporate colours. Now it is often much more subtle and even draws on psychology to create interiors that appeal to particular demographics of customers. More than that, it can be constantly revised and changed to create dynamic new interiors that reflect changing campaigns.

There is no sign yet that this pace of change is about to slow. And nor should it. The increasingly sophisticated market offers benefits to everybody, not least customers who are able to enjoy better, more interesting, smarter, more colourful and more visually appealing office environments.