It goes without saying that an office space or place of business needs to be functional, but that doesn’t mean it has to be boring or lack personality. While it’s true that the building itself should be well thought out, it’s also important to consider other design elements that make it comfortable, welcoming and even inspiring.
“Typically, when we start a project I will ask, ‘What’s the first impression that you want a visitor to have and what’s the internal message that you want to send your staff?’ You want that to reflect your mission and values,” says Katie Briner, Senior Environmental Graphic Designer at local architectural and engineering firm Design Collaborative.
Strategically using graphics and artwork within the building can help reinforce a company’s brand, promote a positive culture and motivate employees. That’s exactly what leaders at Pizza Hut of Fort Wayne wanted when they were designing their new downtown Fort Wayne headquarters. Their goal was to give a nod to the company’s rich history while clearly focusing on the future.
“That was the vibe that we were looking for — something modern, yet something that acknowledged the past because that’s critically important to our business and our culture,” explains Freeland Group Restaurants Chief Financial Officer Matt Fortney.
The result from Design Collaborative was clever, colorful and creative. “For example, we have a wall that has a bunch of pizza pans on it and that’s where we show our purpose, our vision and all of our core values,” explains Fortney. “While we could have just hung a sign on the wall that has those words on it, we wanted to exhibit it in a modern and fun way.”
Lauren Elliott, Design Collaborative Director of Interior Design, says her team often works with clients who might know what they want the space to feel like, but aren’t sure exactly how to create it. She encourages them to incorporate internal messages that help employees feel more aligned with the company’s vision and values.
“The graphics say a lot about an organization and strongly communicate messaging to the team,” says Elliott. “I also encourage people to be a bit bolder about that kind of stuff because it’s not permanent, it’s easy to switch out, and it’s a great opportunity to be unique and fun in a way that’s still super impactful without having a huge cost implication.”
“You don’t want to send the message that you didn’t think through everything or that some things were an afterthought,” adds Senior Architectural Designer Kelly Shields. “We want all of it to feel cohesive. When someone enters the building, graphics and artwork can make the whole experience curated and seamless.”
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