Environmental Branding encircles many design disciplines, these include interior design, graphic design, landscape, and industrial design. Communicating a brands values has the usual channels of print, web, t.v., radio, packaging, events and social media. Environmental branding however requires a company to communicate a brand experience within a three dimensional space for example in a retail, hospitality or workspace environment.
Many architectural firms and interior design agencies are extremely efficient in designing functional space to work for a companies retail, hospitality or workspace. They can design an amazing interior design that reflects the brands colours and culture to some extent but they are not graphic designers. In the same way graphic designers and ad agencies are not trained to design space or buildings.
Environmental Branding Requires Hybrid Understanding
Environmental branding requires an understanding of designing space, graphic design, branding principles and the practical knowledge on the different materials and processes needed to create the required environment. In other words its a hybrid of these disciplines and often requires the collaboration of a number of firms. Vision delivers high end fit out branding projects in collaboration with architects, designers, building companies, marketing managers and facility managers.
Function Follows Form Or Form Follows Function?
How a space performs is determined by it’s design. An example of how this is the difference between branding a workspace or a retail environment.
Retail Environment Branding
A retail environment is directed to the consumer. Environmental branding for retail is vital to ensure customers navigate the area effectively. This is usually very transient requiring multiple changes annually to reflect the market and evolution of products. The materials tend to be of a different quality due to economics although the systems they are put into may be costly for repeated use.
Workspace branding however is more permanent. The clients are actually the staff. Generally the brief is to reflect the principles of the company and its culture. It’s a very creative way to communicate to new and even existing staff what a company stands for. This can be done in a direct way through mission statements and values or a more subtle approach in visual communication can be taken in order to help create the culture.
For example an investment bank is generally not going to take a highly creative, in your face edgy branding design concept and place it all over their workspace. Why? They also need to attract the brightest new talent and programme developers for the next stage of banking? Yes but their primary function is not to lose investors money and create a stable, risk adverse environment. Their branding tends to be subtle and reserved but of a very high quality in terms of the materials and processes used.
Period Of Collaboration For Environmental Branding
More and more architectural companies are being asked to design a space in terms of the brands culture as well as its practical needs.
You cannot be a specialist in everything and I believe we are entering into a period of true collaboration of the aforementioned disciplines and industries that are required to deliver environmental branding for rapidly evolving work places and retail environments.