Brand-driven workspace design

 In better by design

Ask someone the question “what is a brand?” and the first thing that will come to mind is likely to be a company logo. Probe a little further though and they may start to think more broadly.

Employees might remember their induction day when they were told about their new employer’s ‘brand values’, or suddenly realise that the lettering across all of their company stationery was exactly the same typeface. They may consider how their tone of voice changes slightly when they’re speaking on a business call or think about how all of the guys in customer services wear exactly the same coloured tie.

Regardless of how little we think we know about branding, most of us are able to come up with similar lists of brand ‘touch points’ when given the time and space to think about it. Pretty soon, we’re able to see that effective company branding is something that meaningfully informs many areas of an organisation and has both internal and external facing components.



What does your workspace say about your brand?

In New Zealand, today’s organisations are realising the opportunity for pulling their brand through into workspace design and the many company-wide benefits it brings. Taking a lead from some of the notable international examples seen in the U.S and Europe, more local companies are now using brand-driven office design to express their culture, impress their clients and attract employees.

“Employer branding plays a vital role in office design because many employees today – especially Millennials – weight the quality of their work environment, against their salary and performance expectations.” says James Smith of Outline Design. “When researching a job position, people question which values the company lives out day-to-day and what possibilities and prospects they could be in store for.”



The starting point for a successful brand-driven workspace design is to have a clearly defined organisational brand strategy. For larger companies, this will be developed by their marketing departments and advertising agencies. The brand strategy will describe the firm’s character and values and informs an office design project in a range of ways including:

  • The spatial layout style and the style of working it fosters / encourages
  • Types of furniture selected (Desks, chairs, tables that have curved edges are deemed to inspire spontaneous conversation – and encourage more organic movement)
  • Colour pallette used across the design – not always just taken from the logo
  • Specification and quality of fittings (do they reflect your firm’s positioning in the market?)
  • Selection of finishes (yes even a gloss paint says something different to a matt finish)
  • Wall graphics and signage
  • Special features that express company culture (who wouldn’t want to slide between floors at TradeMe’s offices?)

“Ulimately it’s about congruence.” says Smith. “If a company is consistent in the way they think, speak and act, they’ll build trust. Having a clear brand strategy helps define this and ensures our design work is as informed as it can be.”

To help businesses achieve brand-driven workspace design Outline Design offers expert brand consulting and development services.




About Outline Design

Outline Design is an established commercial interior design firm based in Auckland, New Zealand offering the full range of interior design services. To find out more contact us.

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