In an age when an wide array of media are available to advertise and enhance an organisation’s corporate identity, more and more organisations are turning to smart office designs to augment the organisation’s corporate identity.
This works well in an economic environment which calls for organisations to be prudent about costs. To some extent, such initiatives also allow the employer to focus its attention on its employees, constantly reminding them of what the organisation stands for.
It’s a Mad Adworld
Advertisements scream out at us wherever we go these days, using brands to reflect a company’s image. Now branding has moved into corporate boardrooms. Offices, which used to be a very sanitised and ‘corporate’ atmosphere, are now being spiced up by branding within the offices, to aptly reflect the organisation’s identity.
Such branding reinforces the company’s corporate identity in the mind of visitors, besides employees. It goes without saying that such in-house branding often does the work of “selling” the organisation’s ethos to potential employees and clients who visit the workplace, in a strong yet tacit manner.
New age design firms, now add value to design by incorporating branding within the office interiors. Most modern day organisations demand this of designers and architects: the workplace needs to reflect the corporate identity, along with the ethos of the organisation.
Although this is a shift from the traditional role of an architect or designer, most design professionals have smartly adapted to such client demands and now offer seamless services incorporating these requirements.
Elements & Surfaces
How is branding used to enhance an organisation’s corporate identity? A designer identifies elements and surfaces which could be used for branding in a manner such that it has a utility factor, and at the same time, does not look out of place. The branding material and colours are juxtaposed in such a way that each ‘area’ within the office (say if corridors were an ‘area’) develops a unique identity.
Moreover each area is neatly merged into one another, creating a spectacular ‘seamless’ effect. If one were to take a walk around the workplace, the design creates different experiences…you turn a corner and say “Oh there’s more”.
Despite the proliferation of email; storage and filing systems still remain a crucial part of every office these days, with organisations always desiring to have more and more storage and filing space. A school of thought even says that email has increased the need for physical storage, with many employees taking print-outs of important emails.
As shown in the picture alongside (‘A’), the shutters of a full height storage unit, rising to the ceiling from the floor, can be cleverly used for branding, by cladding the same with imagery reflecting the corporate identity. Such a move enhances the look of the area, changing a dull boring ‘storage area’ to a bright and vibrant huddle area. It goes without saying that this has a positive impact on the corporate identity.
Picture ‘B’ shows a passage within an office which is a far cry from the traditional 1.2 metres straight passages within offices. Firstly, it is a meandering passage and it is flanked by a series of semi circular meeting rooms on one side and a longish wall on the other, fronting several rooms. This is the central spine of the office and each circular meeting room (total five such rooms) is meant for each of the five departments within the office.
Translucent film with very strong visuals depicting the five different departments, are wrapped around the curved glass partitions of these meeting rooms. The film serves a dual purpose; firstly it gives privacy to the meeting rooms, which are often used for confidential discussions. Secondly the ‘branded’ circular meeting rooms jutting out into the main passage, creates a very interesting walking experience, with every bend in the meandering passage promising a new ‘feel’.
Instead of simply following the oft repeated formula of using bright colours for a cafeteria, branding materials can be juxtaposed with flat screen television screens to constantly remind the employees of the core values of the company.
The television screen also doubles up as a presentation screen during in-house get-togethers in the cafeteria, something which is quite popular with most organisations.
Flat screen televisions are increasingly being used at the reception area to continuously flash imagery related to the organisation’s corporate identity. Amongst other advantages this keeps the waiting visitor engaged, creating the right value proposition about the organisation in his or her mind.
No More Blank Walls
There need not be any ‘blank’ wall at the workplace anymore. If one does not know whether to put up a Husain or a Dali on a wall ‘which is looking too blank’, designers can work in conjunction with the organisation’s advertising agency to create an imagery for that wall which can then become a utility wall.
Such a wall can be “wall of fame” to honour good performers, or it can become a “mood board” where employees can scribble their thoughts across a large glass canvas or the wall can also be used to talk about the history and legacy of the organisation.
The modern day role of the architect/designer is fast changing from the traditional role of making a few drawings. Clients expect a single point of contact for all matters related to workplace design.
A few design firms have now developed the in-house capability to provide corporate identity related creative ideas, which traditionally has been the advertising agency’s domain. Such ideas are then merged with the designer’s workplace design to create a seamless design, ensuring that no part of the workplace looks like an “afterthought”.
It is crucial to think of and identify the media of the ‘brand’ related imagery as this effects the selection and preparation of the surfaces on which these are to be mounted, and vice versa. Hence, incorporating ‘branding’ within an office always calls for detailed planning right at the beginning of the conceptual design stage and is not something which can be done by calling the friendly agency guy after the interiors are ready. Design firms often provide a single point of contact to the client for coordinating such activities.
In an age of OOH, more and more organisations are now opting for ‘in-branding’ as explained above; this is a trend which is likely to catch on. There is the increasing pressure to have a high recall for brands in this age of an overdose of television, print, internet and other modes of advertisement. It helps to enhance the corporate identity right where it starts…at the boardroom.
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