Whether you’re a start-up company or a well-established business, using your building and architectural design is crucial when presenting your brand to the world.
Think about the message a lawyer sends when, from behind a mahogany desk, they invite you into their wood-panelled office. What does Google HQ’s premises tell you about the company, with their sparse, colourful design and slides instead of stairs?
Define your brand
A good company knows who they are; a great company can sum that up in just three words. For instance, Google would likely commit themselves to being smart, fresh and universal. That atmosphere, that ideal, is stated visually in their offices across the globe.
So start by understanding who you are. A brand is a lot more than a company name; it’s your values, your company personality, and even the way people feel when they think of you. It’s in the copy on your website, your business card logo, and in the building itself. Everything should speak in one clear tone.
We all know first impressions count, and it starts the moment a client or customer pulls up outside the building. An office in a swooping Zaha Hadid-inspired glass-and-steel construction is a world away from those in a Georgian building – not just in terms of design, but in terms of what that building says about your company. A start-up company is likely to be seeking inexpensive premises, so that’s the ideal time to think beyond the bottom line, and ask which location best suits the brand as a whole.
What greets a client when they walk through the doors? A firm handshake, a big ‘Hey there’, or a sulky nod of acknowledgement. This is the moment when companies can really start to impress upon them what the brand is all about. For instance, a creative and dynamic company is unlikely to emphasise those traits if their employees work at unimaginative rows of battery farm-style desks. And if the client doesn’t have confidence in you, it’s game over.
Layout and interior design is also crucial for employees too – effective use of palette and positioning of furnishings can change the very culture of your business, motivating your team and reinforcing that key brand message. Essentially, consider how visitors not only perceive the layout, but also how they – and employees – interact with it.
The materials used in the construction of commercial premises are perhaps the most important factor of all. Let’s return to that lawyer, that mahogany desk, those wood-panelled walls. These are strong, dependable, traditional materials. Thematically, they blend with the brand values, reinforcing it at every turn. This is storytelling through design. This is brand-building.
Exposed brickwork is another material that really speaks to people about the nature of your company. It’s a raw aesthetic, adaptable for a range a styles from bohemian to classic. In short, it’s creative, warm and honest. What business doesn’t want to be like that?
We’ve all been to that one pub that one time that had typewriters or American number plates adorning the walls. Sure, they’re not practical extras, but what they are is visual short-hand, without needing to paint the atmosphere on the walls. A relentlessly professional company will feature awards and commendations; a design business will display prototypes and artwork. All of this speaks to clients about who you really are.
Branding isn’t just integral, it’s vital for the survival of businesses that need a personality to compete not just in the characterful online world, but in the real world where clients and customers and employees are. That starts with building designs which can showcase that personality, that atmosphere, the feeling for who you are, what you do, and what you really stand for.
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