Making snap judgements is a fundamental part of the human condition. For example, psychologists at Princeton University have discovered that it takes just one tenth of a second to make our minds up about a person, while Google researchers have found that we are able to form opinions on design in as little as 17 milliseconds.
Given that our instant reactions can influence perception moving forwards, making a good first impression is everything. In an office setting, visitors are likely to form their opinion from the reception area, so when it comes to office branding, getting the design right in this key area can make all the difference.
Why Branding Is Important
Branding an office is a highly effective way of conveying a unified, company-wide ethos, which is why it is a crucial element of commercial interior design. A successfully branded office should be able to provide onlookers with a snapshot of the company’s visual identity and values, and this should occur almost instantaneously.
Focusing specifically on the reception area, the aim of a branding strategy should be to introduce the organization to visitors and outsiders, giving them a positive impression to carry forwards. It should have something to say about the type of business –and people- you are and the way you do business.
Think about some of the most famous companies in the world and you can easily pinpoint branding elements. Cadbury’s, for example, use the colour purple to demonstrate quality, while the Lego logo uses a font which instantly highlights the sense of fun associated with the products. Branding within their offices remains consistent with this.
Impact on Staff Members
Of course, it is not just visitors to a business who are influenced by office design; employees are as well. In fact, utilizing a strong branding strategy within your office can have far reaching implications, even helping when it comes to aspects like attracting new staff members and retaining the best talent.
“The impact of an organisation’s physical space is right up there with compensation in attracting and retaining great staff,” said Jacqueline Barr, Principal of Design at Ted Moudis Associates, during an interview with Office Snapshots. “Reception is where that journey or perception begins.”
Its impact on attracting new staff, in particular, highlights the importance of making a good first impression. If you turn up for an interview and an office has a coherent branding strategy, which tells you something about the company, you are far more likely to want to work there and far more likely to want to be part of the culture.
Getting Reception Branding Right
In terms of branding the reception area, it is important to think about your business, the products or services it offers and how you want them be perceived. If you are trying to present your organization as being edgy and modern, there is no point opting for classic design and you should try to be bold instead.
Similarly, if you want to be thought of as a tasteful, professional company, you will want a nice, clean-looking reception area. Furniture should be practical in terms of seating guests and employees, but should also convey something about your company’s vision. Traditional office seats say one thing, modern swivel chairs or high-end leather sofas say another.
However, at the same time, branding does not always have to be overt and in-your-face. In many cases, less is more and there are subtle things you can do, such as painting a single wall or introducing large format art works in the company colours, to brand a reception area without overwhelming visitors or sacrificing elegance.
Reno is a Director of a leading exhibition company Enigma Visual Solutions, specialising in retail designs, interiors, graphic productions, signage systems, creative office branding, event branding, conference set design and much more. He specializes in experiential marketing and event productions. He enjoys sharing his thoughts on upcoming marketing ideas and design trends.