Turquoise soft seating? Sorry, not in the brand guidelines

04 June 2015. Feature.

Ask any marketer about design and they will tell you that everything must stick to brand guidelines.

There’s a set of principles on pretty much everything from fonts to colours and photography to tone of voice, all designed to ensure the brand message is communicated consistency and synergy is created. So, how does branding influence an office design?

We recently completed a project for Stack Exchange where branding was key, so we sat down with designer Ruth Hartley Hoad to tell us all.

”Like any other young tech company, Stack Exchange needed their space to represent their dynamic and fresh approach. They wanted their brand to shine through so it played a big part in the new office design. For example, they jumped at our suggestion of including four phone booths for informal meetings for two people, each of which have a different theme and highlight a side of their personality. 

Instead of creating quirky interiors with no meaning or relevance for these phone booths, it was decided each would have significance to Stack Exchange. Two of the four represent their global offices in New York (a classic NY Subway with NYPD cop) and Denver (complete with mountain range). One pays homage to their old office in Southwark, and the most out there one features numerous unicorns (that’s kind of their mascot)!

All tied together, these meeting rooms represent the Stack Exchange brand and history, without the logo plastered all over them. In essence, showing their fun side representing who they are.

To further celebrate Stack Exchange’s brand within the office design, colours were chosen for the units from their logo (shades of blue) mixed with oranges from their sister company Stack Overflow for their tea point. The space was to say, “We are Stack Exchange” without literally putting a sign up. A subtle representation of their brand.

The beauty of design, as everyone knows, is that it allows for freedom, innovation and creativity. So don’t see adhering to your company’s brand guidelines as a blinker, but more of a platform to create a truly personalised and meaningful design.”

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