Benefits of Environment Design
The benefits of environment design (sometimes referred to as “environmental graphic design”) are not new to us at Sandbox Signs + Graphics, but the concept has become more important as businesses and organizations gain a better understanding of the benefits of a space that works holistically. So what does that mean?
Environment design takes into account not only the main function of the each installation (signage, wayfinding signs, exterior and interior signs, office layout etc.), but also how these elements work together, affect clients, employees, and reflect the organization’s values and personality. When working this way, a company’s environment works as a whole rather than as a disparate mishmash of its constituent parts.
Good environment design benefits clients, employees, and the company.
Benefits to Client or Customer Experience
From the standpoint of people who use your office (or your building), environmental design benefits clients as they interact with your space. Whether they are attempting to find their way to your office or its various facilities, or are sitting in waiting rooms, their subjective experience can be positive or negative, simply based on the environment they find themselves in. The next time you are in an office waiting room that makes you feel welcome, comfortable, and relaxed, ask yourself what it is about the space that is enriching your experience. You’ll likely notice a group of small things working together to make your visit more pleasant. Perhaps the office was easily found; or, maybe the separation between waiting room and workspace was planned in such a way as to provide privacy and reduce noise for both office workers and clients; or, when you needed a washroom, you didn’t have to ask for a key or its whereabouts, because well-placed signage answered your questions.
The experience you provide your clients or customers isn’t just the responsibility of your employees. While professionalism, competence, and courtesy go a long way to improving customer experience, they are only one part of the equation. Your clients often spend more time interacting with your space than they do your people, so a well-planned environment — one that considers clients’ needs — plays an important role in the customer service you provide. Positive or negative, , it makes a statement about your company and a lasting impression.
Benefits to Employees’ Experience
Just as a good customer experience can increase sales as well as customer retention and loyalty, enhancing your employees’ subjective experience can increase their loyalty, comfort, and productivity.
For example, etched or frosted privacy film for glass workspace divider panels is one small environmental design addition that can have dramatic benefits for both employees and employers. Aside from its aesthetic appeal, privacy film reduces distracting stimuli and provides a relatively low-cost alternative to an enclosed office. Employees feel taken care of, concentrate more easily, have more energy and accomplish more. Employers benefit from the rise in productivity and employee well-being.
Benefits to Your Company or Organization
Your company or organization exists in balance sheets and your bottom line, but it’s more than just a money-making entity. Your company has a personality. That personality grows, sometimes of its own accord, out of many interacting components, including: the relationship and experience of clients; the relationship and experience of staff; your company’s core values; and, how those core values are transmitted through less tangible means of communication, such as environment design.
You can immediately tell the difference between a company that considers its “personality” in design and one that allows design to grow organically without considering the implications. For the sake of this discussion, let’s call the company that thinks about the implications of design “Planned Environment Co.”, and the company that does not “Unplanned Environment Co.” When you walk into the building of Planned Environment Co., you know where you are going; you can find the office; the company’s personality emerges out of well-designed entrance signage with company branding; and, once in the office, you still sense the company’s presence as a personality, and, you sense the planning. They were thinking about you! Conversely, as you enter the building of Unplanned Environment Co., you’re not certain you are in the right building; you have difficulty finding the office; signage is confusing, haphazardly designed, hard to read, or non-existent; and, when you finally arrive at the office, the negative experience — sensed as frustration or perhaps lack of ease — continues. You look around and every design element seems to scream “We have no idea what we are doing!” They were NOT thinking about you at all.
Every aspect of design, from the signage on your building, directory board and hallway walls, to wall design and signage in the waiting rooms and offices, is a reflection of your company’s core values. Ignoring them, like Unplanned Environment Co in our example, and the message you give clients, employees and the general public is, “We don’t care about you…and we don’t care how we are perceived.”
When companies work with architects, designers and signage companies to bring to fruition a purposefully planned and cohesive vision — one which considers all aspects of the company (clients, employees, branding, and values) — the result is beneficial to all.
Questions About Environment Design?
If you have questions about what kinds of environment design might benefit your organization, a conversation is the place to start. Contact us for a consultation and we’ll help guide you to appropriate solutions that benefit your clients, your employees, and your brand.