by Justin Difazzio
Over the last several weeks, OC has been working as usual with one big difference: we’ve had the accompaniment of pounding hammers, whizzing saws, and whispering paint rollers. One of those things, we haven’t minded so much. And, if we’re being honest (and when aren’t we?), we haven’t minded any of the dust and noise, since it’s all been in the name of progress!
With a growing team to fit our expanding client base, we found ourselves in need of more space. Luckily, there was a vacant space right down the hall from our existing office, and it was even connected right to our studio (after cutting a big hole in the wall and installing a door)! More importantly than more space, though, we were able to custom tailor our new space to more accurately reflect our brand.
Your brand is more than just a logo, a set of colors, and maybe a slogan. It’s the way you’re recognized by the public. It’s an identity and a clear guide to how you conduct yourself. It’s your culture. Shouldn’t the space you inhabit five days a week reflect that brand?
The simplest way to make sure your office reflects your brand is to incorporate the style guide in your design. Get that logo up (that’s next on our list). Paint those walls to match your colors. Maybe design a display in a prominent spot where you can list your company’s core values in the company’s standard font. Get furniture that reflects your personality. Find a way to feature what your company does. All the same places your company draws inspiration from can inspire your office space and reinforce your brand.
But what if your brand color is neon green or fiery orange or jet black, and you don’t necessarily want your walls painted black or covered in blinding neons? That’s where another technique may be useful.
When your visuals maybe aren’t the best for large spaces, what can you do to incorporate your brand into your space? Have you given any thought to your company culture? Let’s use ourselves as the example. OC has a very collaborative and open culture. We work together on most projects from conception to completion. One thing we liked about our old office was the fact that we could all talk to each other and work together closely, since our workspaces were mostly on top of one another. But with the bigger space, we knew we would lose some of that closeness. It would take more effort to talk to each other than just leaning over.
Our solution? An open floor plan. Our new space has two pods of four desks each, and we’ve grouped them in a way that allows the people who work together most frequently to sit together in a pod. We got to keep our collaborative workspace, and we still have room to grow. Now, however, we’re not right on top of each other in the office. It’s a solution that fits our culture and our work style.
Solving Problems, Making Fun
The one big change is that Brian, Creative Director and President, has his own office. But we knew we’d be interacting with him just as much (if not more) than we had before, so we couldn’t just wall him off and leave him isolated. Instead, we put huge glass panels in his office walls so he could have the privacy for a meeting but didn’t feel separated from everyone else. We didn’t have to sacrifice any of our closeness, and Brian got the office he needed!
There’s more than just that in the smaller details of the office. Our meeting area features stylish chairs and couches. Our kitchen is no longer squirreled away in a separate area off our conference room. It’s incorporated into our space and expanded so we’ll make more use of it than we had before. The conference room also features a large pane of glass, carrying over the theme of separate openness from Brian’s office. And then there’s the chill room. Or the fun room. We haven’t decided what we’re calling it yet.
Whatever we decide to call it, it reflects an essential part of our culture: fun. We’re never afraid to try new things, to joke with each other, and to be ourselves around here. And part of what makes us all work so well together is this sense of curiosity and fun we share. Future plans for this space include a sky chair and other details, but currently we’ve got snowballs, Jenga, and giant dice for Yahtzee. It’s intended to be a space we can go for a short break, for a chance to unwind and decompress, and to relax. And we haven’t even mentioned the pool table and ping pong table in the adjoining space!
Not everyone can just pick up and change offices at the drop of a hat. We certainly couldn’t. This move took a lot of planning, collaboration, and reimagining. Luckily, that’s what we’re good at, so we took it in stride. But incorporating your brand into your workspace doesn’t have to mean huge renovation projects. Small updates can really make a difference, too. Try creating a focal wall in a bold company color. Change out some tired furniture or artwork with something in your style or something you have created. Ask your coworkers for suggestions and be open to change. Maybe a few fewer cubicle walls are just the thing you need to create some new vibes in your space. We’re really happy with our changes, and even as we get used to the new space, we are thinking of ways we can further incorporate the things that make OC unique.