Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Brand Communication through workspace graphics

Space is the brand new medium for the message in corporate interiors, and innovative graphics are showing the way says brand and communication designer Amee Nagraj.

The writing is on the wall…and the floors, the windows, the ceilings, and many other surfaces: interior designers and architects who still think of a space's graphics program as merely providing a basic way finding system are missing the opportunity to connect with end users and spread the brand message.

More and more people are realizing that a workspace can be thought of as a medium of communication. Clients today are very interested in the idea of how their spaces can be actively used to communicate the company’s ethos, values.

While the use of graphics in architecture isn't new - think about the facades of centuries old cathedrals and how their sculptures tell a story - today, the ways in which graphics are being incorporated into interiors and architecture run the gamut from dominant typography or large-scale photographs to interactive installations and digital signage both in the interiors as well as the fa├žade. This is particularly evident today where corporates prefer to occupy entire buildings – here typically, graphics are used to brand the facade. Yet graphics are not just some sort of print on a wall; they also provide information, whether it's way finding, storytelling, navigation, or just a unique aesthetic experience. Even in terms of material and media there is no stone left unturned. From vinyls to films to fabrics… everything is used innovatively as a medium for a message.

Not only are the means of incorporating graphics into projects continually evolving, but also the point at which the graphic designer enters the design process. Today's way finding solutions and graphic elements are anything but generic templates. Graphic designers are not always brought in at the initial planning stage of an interior space; but for certain types of projects they are involved very early, which allows for greater flexibility. Even if the exact imagery or typography may not be finalized at this stage, designers know how they want to use them in the given space. The earlier one starts thinking about the project's individual message and how graphics may interact with the architecture to convey this information, the better. The hardest part is getting the graphics and the architecture to work together; but if one plans it from the beginning, the hardest part is already done. Tightening budgets may see graphics playing an even greater role in projects in the future. It's a lot less expensive to change a space using graphics than it is using bricks and mortar.

Overall graphics in workspaces offer a unique experience. Office areas such as the reception, conference and meeting rooms, lobbies, etc can display appropriate brand messages for visitors, while internal areas such as work and dining spaces can be motivating and energizing for the employees. The experience is unique primarily because the branding integrated with the interior design customizes the space for a specific brand and goes far beyond being just another well-designed space with a classy finish.

Source: Accenture - Vaahini