consider these 3 elements:
Designing your business premises requires you to make countless decisions.
Whether you’re moving into a studio for the first time, or looking to renovate your current space, every phase demands thought and attention. This can be especially true at the start, where you can struggle to determine the direction for your building design.
IN MY EXPERIENCE, THIS IS WHERE BUSINESS OWNERS CAN EXPERIENCE OVERWHELM. AT THIS EARLY, ANTICIPATORY STAGE, I TEND TO SEE BUSINESS OWNERS GO DOWN ONE OF TWO ROUTES:
- They can’t visualise what they want their design to look like at all. This is typically because they don’t know what building design options will be possible for their business (and their budget). This means they struggle with identifying a potential design direction, finding sources of inspiration and articulating their desired look and feel for the space.
- They can visualise SO many options for their space, they don’t know where to start. This is because they’re so deep in #inspiration overload, losing sight of the unique needs of their business and customers. With so many bright, shiny possibilities around, they get caught up in making one-off decisions that don’t feel coherent (and can end up breaking the bank).
While these scenarios might seem like opposites, they’re actually remarkably similar when you look closely.
Both of them come down to decision overwhelm and both can cause projects to stagnate, often before they get started.
In one case, it’s not knowing what’s possible for the business space, in the other, it’s knowing TOO many possibilities. But in both cases, the real issue is lacking a clear, guiding intention for the space. Without having a strong rationale behind WHY you’re making certain design choices, you can lose sight of the bigger picture and drown in the details.
The good news? This can be easily solved by consulting with a building designer before you kick off the conceptual stage of your design project.
As professionals, we’re trained to guide you through the decision making process by;
-getting clear on exactly how you need your space to function
-who will be utilising the space
-how you can take your business’s brand and translate it into your physical space.
By establishing this from the get-go, a quality designer can help you get clarity on WHY certain choices work better than others. Advising you on the best ways to use your budget AND available space so you don’t stretch beyond what you can afford.
But whether or not you’re ready to engage a building designer, there are a few key elements you can keep in mind when first approaching your design project.
By understanding how to apply these elements to your business, you will create a solid foundation. This foundation can help you make any design decisions going forward.
So, sit down with a strong cup of coffee, think over the prompts below and capture your brainstorming however works best for you.
How does your space need to function so that it fulfils its purpose in a streamlined, user-friendly way?
Determining how you want a space to ‘function’ is all about considering HOW it will be used and WHO will be using it. Of course, this will vary depending on your business.
It comes down to understanding what your clients/customers/employees expect to see in your space. From their perspective, what’s essential? What would make the space ‘work’ for them?
If you run a yoga studio, your clients probably expect a serene, beautiful area where they can hang out before their class. Sound-proof, spacious rooms to practise in.
If you have employees in an office, they’d benefit from ergonomic work stations, a clean, communal space to eat lunch, and a meeting room.
If you operate a doctor’s surgery, a prospective client may be feeling anxious upon entry. They would need a waiting room with minimal noise and a clear path to the reception.
When you understand who is using your premises and what they’re using it for, you can make design decisions that prioritise functionality.
And better yet, you can exceed those client expectations by making small shifts to your space. Making it even more intuitive, seamless and engaging to use. After all, this is the magic of good spatial design!
Whether it’s adding break-out office spaces for creativity and collaboration, choosing luxurious fabrics for your waiting room or making sure your cafe can cater to disabilities, there are so many ways to make your premises more functional.
How does your space look and feel and importantly, is this aligned with your brand?
When it comes to interior/aesthetic design for your business, it’s way too easy to fall down a rabbit hole (hello Pinterest!) Let’s face it - decorating feels like the fun part!
But the truth is that interior design requires STRATEGY to really work.
Without a plan in place, you make a whole bunch of isolated choices
- around colours
only to realise that there’s nothing tying them all together.
Again, it comes back to knowing what you do and who you do it for. And most importantly, it comes back to understanding the BRAND of your business.
Beyond form and function.........
How do you want prospective clients and customers to feel when they walk through the door?
What’s going to set your business apart from others in your industry?
What do you want people to associate with your business?
Do you want to promote yourself as a luxury experience?
Do you want to be known for your bold creativity?
Do you prefer a clean, minimalist look and feel?
When you get clear on your brand, you can make aesthetic choices that align with it.
Whether you’re finding furniture, choosing a colour palette or adding decorative touches, you can ask ‘Does this fit with the style of my brand? Does this give my clients a sense of who we are as a business?’
How does your space actually serve the people it is created for?
This third element is absolutely essential to any business, and it is a culmination of function and aesthetics. It brings everything together into one coherant experience for your customer/client.
How do you want them to FEEL when they’re in your premises?
What kind of energy do you want your space to exude?
At first, talking about feelings and energies might seem ‘woo-woo’, but stop and think about your own interactions with brands.
Why have you chosen them, and why do you come back to them, again and again? Chances are it’s not just the fundamentals of their product or service, but the entire experience they’ve created for you, which shapes how you feel about their brand.
Your business premises can be such a crucial part of this! Consider how you can design your premises to deliver an exceptional customer experience from start to finish.
How can you meet and exceed the expectations of your clients?
What features can you build into your space that will differentiate you from others in your industry?
Once you establish this, you have a rationale for ALL design choices, whether they be structural or aesthetic. No more making decisions on the fly, or hesitating over whether the latest design trend will work for your business.
Use your customer experience as the ultimate litmus test and you will end up with a design that is coherent, consistent and compelling to the right people.
By considering these three elements at the START, you will have a solid foundation from which to make all decisions going forward.
Instead of wasting time, energy or money on trends that don’t make sense for your business, you can feel confident in making choices that ultimately contribute to a better, more intuitive, customer experience.
Instead of making a million one-off decisions that don’t fit together, you can keep coming back to ONE clear design direction that aligns with your brand.
By thinking about the needs and expectations of your clients, customers and employees, and considering how you can exceed them, you can create a premises that is functional, beautiful and unique.