Technology has evolved rapidly in our industry, but the creative journey – our workplace design and environmental branding process - has not. Our instinctual tools are still pencils and paper. We draw to think. Technology makes the development and realisation of ideas easier, but creativity always starts with the humble pencil.
We used these simple tools to create an inclusive opening event and narrative design feature in our new London office. Why? Because we want our spaces to feel special, even personalised - making our mark is a ritual that helps us feel comfortable in our environments.
For one afternoon, we stepped away from our laptops, clients and deadlines to gather as a team and tackle our own project: installing 20,000 pencils into our feature wall as part of our environmental branding process.
After 1 hour, 37 minutes and 56 seconds, 15 pizzas and several disputes over the playlist - everyone in M Moser had made a small contribution and a big impact on the design of their workspace. The installation reflects our visual identity and seizes visitor interest – but most importantly; our wall showcases our collaborative, creative spirit. We made it together.
When planning our office relocation we asked ourselves – why are we doing this? How ready are our people? How do you invite everyone to become an active contributor to the design of our office? How can our space be authentic?
Early in the design process, our workplace strategists uncovered the driving ambition: to build a space where we could creatively interact with our clients and peers. For creatives, storytelling is part of our identity - we want to share our stories with our visitors by allowing them into the cutting room.
Therefore, the challenge - a story that allows our guests inside our mind-set. Something to show guests in our office space who we are at a fundamental level. The feature that people would ask about when they visit, and would stick in people’s minds when they leave.
Our workplaces are increasingly lifestyle influenced (termed ‘hospitality creep’ in a recent article by my colleague Steve Gale), where the boundaries between home and work are blurred. As a result, we are seeing many clients shift towards ‘unbranded’ workplace environments, placing culture is at the centre of their definition of identity.
We want our employees to be ambassadors for our brands – but as workplace designers, we have to be able to show people what we value. It is never easy to express company values without being literal which is why so many rightly shy away from it. Instagram-ready inspirational quotes and stock-photo supergraphics - your time is up.
Environmental branding and graphic design are more than applied wall logos. Let graphics be a persuasion tool, an opportunity for engagement and vehicle for communication.