Trends in Brand Integration
Integrating brand into a physical space has been called many different names: graphic design, branding, environmental graphics, experiential design, brand integration, the list goes on and on. But no matter what title you give it, brand integration into physical space(s) has been appearing on nearly all of our clients’ wish lists lately.
These clients aren’t just corporations wanting branding on their office headquarters either. Educational clients want their students to be inspired, healthcare institutions want to create a calm and safe experience for their patients and clinicians, retailers want to appeal to consumers through their physical spaces, and office clients want their physical brand to attract and retain talent. So how do you accomplish this? Finding the right balance of brand, wayfinding, space and identity is key.
Although brand integration can be as simple as placing a well-designed logo on the wall, it has grown to encompass so much more beyond that. It is that intangible identity you feel when you walk into a space. You can understand the core values and culture of an organization before you even talk to a single person there. However on that same note, it is also those super graphics that grab your attention, communicate information and guide you through a space. No matter how it’s designed, interior branding needs to be intentional and work in harmony with a building’s architecture and interior design.
So if interior branding has become a staple, what are the trends that distinguish timeless and well-designed spaces from the rest of the pack? What trends are still going strong? Below are my own insights, not in any particular order, backed up by real internet sources. So they have to be true.
1) Material selection is everything (seen on this list at #2)
Consider all things as having potential for an installation or brand piece. I’ve seen everything from pencils to sticks to empty paint cans artfully arrange to echo a brand. Thoughtful arrangement and intention is key when using raw and unexpected materials.
2) Getting personal (seen here at #2)
I’m convinced people are tired of only seeing the surface level of a brand. These days people work for companies and companies work for clients that align with their ethics, work culture and core values. But that alignment can’t just been known, it has to be seen and felt.
3) Designing for Employees (seen here at #3)
Integrating brand into the physical workplace not only gives employees a sense of place and pride, but is a wondrous tool for recruiting and retention. Especially for those Millennial folk. win/win/win.
4) Digital Integration (this whole thing)
With the constant advancement in the digital arena, digital brand elements have become incredibly popular to integrate within a space as a standalone element or as a part of a more static design. Digital integration helps spatial branding stay current and also, adds a dynamic element that triggers our other senses to experience a space.
5) Health conscious branding (seen on this list at #7)
Our whole world is shifting to be more health oriented (yay!) and the up-and-coming environmentally conscious WELL Building Standard Certification is triggering a whole new set of spatial graphic requirements that integrate health and wellness elements.
Graphic Design Lead
Chelsea has a B.S. in landscape architecture from The Ohio State University. When she's not designing graphics for M+A projects, she is probably walking her dog or finding the best places to eat.