When it comes to designing your workspace, it isn’t just functionality that you should bear in mind. You also need to bring your brand into the design.
Branding as a marketing strategy is an old idea and one that companies have been utilising for decades. Nowadays, branding is more important than ever due to the amount of business that is conducted online. Websites, email sends, social media platforms, online videos and all other digital activity is done with a business’ brand in-mind.
However, the digital world isn’t the only place that branding is important. Your office should reflect your brand in the same way that your Facebook page does, even if your customers aren’t stepping foot inside it.
Too many companies fail to include their branding within the design of their office, opting instead to focus on the public-facing side of the business. This can create a divide between the beliefs that the business claims to have and those that it actually fosters among its employees. Over time, this can water down its brand and make it lose effectiveness.
The benefits of a branded office
There are a number of benefits that you could be missing out on if you haven’t incorporated your branding into your office space or if you haven’t included it successfully.
For starters, your brand says something about your company. It puts a message across about your core beliefs and the type of business you are. You want employees to understand and embody this message just as much as your pictures on Instagram should. If your business branding is all about fun but you have a dull, grey office, it will be hard for your team to put this idea of fun across in the work they do.
It isn’t just your employees who need to get your brand when they walk into your office – you want clients, potential employees and other companies to get a feel for it too. Whether you have client meetings, are recruiting or are looking to partner up with other businesses, the way your office looks and feels can have a big impact. After all, a serious law firm that has a multi-coloured office may not send the right signals.
The design of your office is all part of the brand experience, just as walking into a store is. If you create a cohesive experience that sends the right message, it can result in an inspired workforce, as well as communicate in a positive way to clients and partners.
Establish your brand
Before you start adding aspects of your brand into your office, you need to assess if your current branding is hitting the mark. Even the world’s biggest brands update their identity over time, so it is worth seeing if your brand could do with a refresh before you start shelling out on a new office design.
You should look at whether your brand currently sends the right message about your company, if your logo is recognisable, how your brand is communicated via different platforms and when it was last updated. If it is looking a bit tired, people aren’t clear about the messaging or it is used differently on different channels, you might want to consider having a refresh.
Whether your brand needs a facelift or not, you do want to ensure you have brand guidelines in place that can be utilised on all channels and can inform the design of your office. This should include information on brand colours, tone of voice, key messaging and any other information that will aid with day-to-day brand activities.
This brand document will also help ensure you are putting across the right messaging with your office design. Is your brand cool and minimal, loud and creative or serious and subtle? However you define it, this should be put across to people effectively through your chosen design.
How do you brand your office?
Once you have a stronger idea of what your brand is, you can start considering what it looks like in terms of your office space.
Create a branded office doesn’t just mean plastering your log everywhere and only using your brand colours. You need to create a balance between getting the message of your brand across successfully and overwhelming people with branded elements.
You want people to be aware of your branding as soon as they step through your office doors, but you need the design to be inviting as well as tell a story. The key to achieving this is to be subtle with your brand elements.
Showcase your logo
Your logo should be displayed in your office but it shouldn’t take up every wall. It is a good idea to showcase your logo in your reception area, which serves a practical purpose of showing people they are in the right place as well as putting your brand across.
You can either have your logo shown as art on the wall or instal a custom reception desk that features your logo. Either option creates a striking design feature that will help to set the tone for the rest of your office.
Your brand colours
Just because you have set brand colours doesn’t mean you need to use them everywhere. You should decide on primary, secondary and tertiary brand colours to use in your office, as well as complementary colours to use on the walls. This will allow you to create contrasts and highlights that tell your brand story in a subtle way.
It is a good idea to utilise furniture when showing off your brand colours. Matching chairs, soft furnishings, plant pots and other types of furniture with your brand colours can make them shine without being over-the-top.
If you do want to add a lick of paint to the walls, do this in smaller areas to make them stand out. Meeting rooms, breakout areas and social sections of your office work better in bolder colours than the rest of your office. Just be sure to keep the area of your office where most of the work is done fairly neutral so your design doesn’t impede productivity.
As well as the colour of your furniture and walls, you might want to consider what extra features you can include throughout your office to help support your branding.
Do you have signs that point to different departments that can be branded? If you have multiple floors, should each floor showcase a different brand colour? Do you want to invest in mugs for employee use that are branded?
On top of this, you’ll want to consider other ways to get your brand messaging across. For example, if your brand is about fun, should you invest in a games area for your office? Workspaces that support development could create a learning space complete with materials that their team may find helpful.
Everything about your office should support the message that your brand puts across and this should be backed up by the culture you create in your workspace. This way, people who walk into your office know what you’re about and your staff feel as though they are part of your brand.