How Brand Experience Can Elevate Your Workplace

Brand_care_Visma_taping

In the past year, we observed a trend shift among our customers towards enhancing the workplace experience. Bringing an exciting brand experience to workplaces proved to be an environmentally sustainable, cost-effective, and creative way to promote happier, healthier, and more productive workplaces.

The role of brand in placemaking

One effective method for integrating the brand experience into our spaces is through Experiential Graphic Design (or Environmental Graphic Design).

Experiential graphic design takes a broad view, incorporating elements of industrial design, interior design, copywriting, graphic design, and architecture. This approach allows us to align workplace design with the organization’s overall strategy.

Experiential graphic design plays a crucial role in placemaking, educating, reminding, and enhancing the everyday experiences of those who occupy a space. The work environment needs to evoke positive feelings in its users, which can be achieved through various means, such as reflecting the local surroundings, the company’s heritage, its cultures, and values.

Brand experience and environmental graphic design are particularly significant for large corporations with numerous global offices, as they allow them to establish a unique identity for each location. (1)

TRANSFORMING WORKSPACES THROUGH DESIGN

Environmental graphic design isn’t only about branding. It’s about aligning the physical workspace with the company’s larger strategy, enhancing the brand image and employee experience. Consider environmental graphic design during workplace transformation to align the brand with the interior design. Some brand elements may need adjustment for space needs, like translating digital colors to physical ones for a relaxing employee environment.

Working with Visma Finland on their multi-floored Rautatalo campus, we partnered with their brand team to introduce their latest rebranding and workplace transformation. This allowed us to encourage new ways of working and the company’s new image to their employees and the public. Visma Finland is a great success story, as bringing a vibrant, fresh brand to life complements the beautiful workplace and Alvar Aalto’s architecture

For Yara Finland we created customized tools to strengthen their office branding. This included developing house rules, space card templates, and glass wall tapings that aligned with their brand guidelines. Our goal was to improve communication and navigation within their workspace, while also showcasing our dedication to creating functional environments that reflect the brand’s values.

WAYFINDING IS CRUCIAL TO THE EMPLOYEE EXPERIENCE

Effective design seamlessly integrates into its environment, only revealing itself when necessary. For instance, a simple shade of red can subtly guide behavior and workflow in a given area.

Signage and wayfinding systems aim to eliminate unnecessary distractions, allowing users to concentrate on what truly matters – productivity and well-being. The combination of environmental graphics and digital tools can create a smooth experience for employees, enhancing workplace efficiency.

In our work with Vaisala, colors and icons were carefully assigned to each space, enabling teams to swiftly navigate the facility. Our traffic light system, which defines each area’s function, effectively directs the users with the necessary information. The same approach was used in our project with the University of Arts Helsinki, that involved the creation of bespoke wayfinding elements, space layouts and information templates, rooted in their established brand guidelines.

PROMOTING POSITIVITY AND WELL-BEING

“Creativity lives in that sweet-spot spot between blank walls and chaotic embellishment, a position occupied by thoughtful and informed graphic design.” (2)  When executed tastefully, graphic design can functionally introduce art and aesthetics to the public. Posters and icons need not always serve a specific purpose; they can also act as conduits for art curation and humor, even in sterile environments.

One way to evoke emotions is by focusing on the psychological impact of certain graphics and design elements.

For instance, the biophilia theory posits that individuals seek connections with nature, which can enhance their overall mood. While incorporating plants and other living elements into an office space is an excellent strategy, graphic treatments can also suggest this connection to nature. (1)

Creating visual blocks on glass walls effectively introduces clarity to a space while addressing privacy concerns. In our work with GE, we brought their playful brand to life in their workplace. We creatively utilized elements from various districts in Helsinki to obscure the view into open to highly confidential spaces.

BRIDGING THE GAP BETWEEN DIGITAL AND PHYSICAL

In the era of hybrid work, it’s essential to seamlessly integrate digital communication methods with physical spaces to enhance a sense of belonging to a company’s culture, even when working remotely. The digital brand identity, if mirrored in the physical environment, can play a pivotal role in the organization’s overall strategy, fostering a cohesive hybrid model.

Virtual platforms can provide a space for brainstorming, discussions, and team-building activities, replicating the dynamics of a physical office. At the same time, the physical workspace, reflecting the company’s digital brand identity, can represent the organization’s values and mission.

In our collaboration with Visma Finland we designed the icon library and house rules template in line with their brand guidelines so that they can be used also in their internal communication.

A STRATEGIC APPROACH TO WORKSPACE DESIGN

In conclusion, integrating the brand experience into our workplaces through Experiential Graphic Design is not just a trend but a strategic approach that fosters a sense of belonging, enhances productivity, and promotes well-being. By aligning the physical workspace with the company’s larger strategy, we can create unique identities for each location, guide behavior and workflow, and even introduce art and humor into our daily lives.

Our successful projects serve as a testament to the transformative power of this approach. As we move forward, let’s continue to explore and innovate, using design as a tool to create workplaces that are not just spaces but experiences.

SOURCES
1. Workdesign Magazine
2. Worktech Academy
3. M Moser Associates
4. HqO

At Agile Work, we specialise in designing workspaces and facilitating change in the work environment. Contact us, and let’s get started!

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