Many of today’s commercial interiors provide businesses with an under-used blank canvas to communicate their brand’s ethos and creatively engage their staff. Large expanses of open walls, glass partitions and corridors all present a wonderful opportunity to create a visually inspiring workplace.
Interior design and space planning may personalise workspaces into impressive and functional environments, but the design of commercial interiors can often be enhanced to work more productively by engaging a branding and graphics strategy. We are all too familiar with the lengths designers and business owners go to in differentiating retail spaces through the clever use of branding, products, props and point-of-sale to enhance their brand’s desirability and engender customer loyalty. The design of commercial interiors should not be excluded from this thinking, given that their function is to stimulate and inspire a productive work environment in the best way possible, and commercial interiors present an equally important showcasing opportunity for the business.
Huge technological advances and the capabilities of large-format digital print have created the climate for graphic design to fuse with interior design, maximising brand engagement opportunities within the workspace. This opens up the potential for designers to interlace communication graphics into a stimulating and informative interior design statement.
Every business will have a product message they will want to convey and working in conjunction with architects, marketing agencies and multidisciplinary designers of all kinds, specialist large-format digital print companies – such as BAF Graphics – set new benchmarks in what can be achieved by using digitally printed graphics in the workspace.
But the emphasis isn’t simply on digital print technology. Experience is paramount, particularly when it comes to working with all the different surfaces and applications within an office environment. Sourcing suitable materials is essential in ensuring that large-format graphics firms meet the design brief and that the materials withstand the demands of a modern commercial interior, as well as provide environmentally friendly options that meet businesses’ stringent requirements.
Personalised wallcoverings, overlaid branding, product shots, slogans and communicative graphics all have a place in work environments, receptions and conference rooms through a variety of different graphic solutions. Extensive glazed corridors and privacy screens can similarly incorporate subtle graphic elements and manifestations, which can be printed digitally to optically clear films and which are in themselves almost invisible once installed. Similarly, translucent and coloured films provide an alternative to traditional frosted films and can be cut to almost any shape or size.
Cafeterias and breakout areas present the perfect opportunity to continue the informative graphic theme, but in a more relaxed and lighthearted way. Open atriums give us height and a chance to connect larger multi-level environments with impressive suspended printed banners and backdrops. Meeting rooms, designed to encourage creative thinking, should be inspirational and provide the means of evoking ideas. In this instance, incorporating graphics into branded magnetic and dry-wipe wall areas can provide a useful backdrop for brainstorming.
Whether for a call centre or a head office, for a bank, software or telecommunications company, businesses today adopt multi-channel graphic-rich marketing strategies, across all mediums, including retail, websites, print, TV and events, and visual consistency between them is paramount. These essential graphic elements provide the perfect ingredients to portray and extend the brands’ reach into the workspace, unifying a total brand experience for consumers and staff.
Maintaining a business’ competitive edge is essential in today’s fast-paced market, particularly as product ranges are updated, slogans change and brand livery evolves. The adaptability of digitally printed graphics means that the graphics themselves can evolve to coincide with the tight changeovers and turnaround times businesses demand. BAF Graphics prides itself on its speed of response and ability to meet tight deadlines. Acting as a ’one-stop-shop’ for a multitude of interior graphic solutions, it can provide everything from project management, artworking and print production through to installation, taking care that every aspect of a company’s intellectual property is sympathetically reproduced.
Cost-effective graphic solutions can also be introduced into design schemes, which can be changed over by the business’ own staff, requiring no secondary professional installation. For example, magnetic wall surfaces can be created to accommodate vertical drops of printed ferrous wallpaper that simply adheres to the magnetic wall and can be swapped over quickly. Similarly, low-profile aluminium frames can be secured to wall surfaces to receive interchangeable printed fabric panels that are simply pushed into place by the client. The aesthetics of both solutions can blend in seamlessly into an overall design scheme, yet still provide the flexibility clients require.
Moving images and video shown on large LED and plasma TV’s have their place too and provide another dimension to brand engagement in a work environment. These sit hand-in-hand with the role of printed graphics, which create a more encompassing static interpretation of a business’ identity. Moreover, digitally printed graphics can provide solutions that span both mediums with wonderful LED illuminated graphic walls and lightboxes where image and colour make powerful statements and come alive, night or day.
The potential that graphics bring to the commercial environment is endless – the challenge is how far designers will go to incorporate the full capabilities of digital print in creating inspirational and informative commercial interiors.
Island Records, London
Island Records’ London headquarters underwent an interior design makeover by renowned art director Cally, who has produced some of the record industry’s most innovative album covers. BAF Graphics produced and installed wallcoverings that feature legendary Island artists in tuxedos on a corrugated graffiti background, reflective of the company’s ethos.
Pinsent Mason, Manchester
HKR Architects created some extraordinary visual imagery for this law firm in the centre of Manchester to reflect its status as one of the leading law firms in the UK. Designs incorporated various glass pod-style quiet rooms to provide privacy. For graphic visual effect, each was branded with iconic images of Manchester buildings. In conjunction with branded signage and digitally printed wallcoverings, these graphics were printed in white and solid colours on to optically clear film.
British Gas, Cardiff
Creative communications agency WMW called on BAF Graphics to produce and install graphics for more than 30 major installations for Centrica Energy and British Gas locations. In Cardiff, WMW came up with a creative concept that captured the spirit of the local area while creating a practical framework for office communications. The resulting work featured specially commissioned local photography coupled with bright ’wave’ illustrations to represent the energy of the people of Cardiff. The BAF team brought these ideas to life by producing digitally printed wallcoverings and glass manifestations. Russell Wilson from WMW says, ’BAF’s technical know-how and can-do spirit delivered a great finished product and, crucially, a very happy client.’