Expressing your organization’s values in your space’s design is a key part of building a high performing culture. There are a range of tools that companies and designers can use to accomplish this including printed graphics, wall coverings, way-finding, and artwork. In our more than decade of experience helping our clients create unique expressions of their identity, we’ve found that artwork has several key advantages over these other medias.
According to Kate Davis, Associate Principal and Workplace Strategies Design Director at HKS:
“The trend for branding office space is about taking it beyond the basics. Many consider branding to just be slapping a vinyl company logo on the wall. In reality, branding is about creating authentic places that embody the culture and spirit of a company and its people.”
Using artwork in lieu of traditional branding can help you:
- Connect your employees and clients to their surrounding community
- Boost creativity by avoiding stale, commercial environments
- Retain the value of your investment in your office’s furnishings
- Increase employee morale and boost productivity
Avoiding Stale Office Designs
Employees don’t want to work inside of a commercial – chances are your employees know what company they work for! In fact according to Rachel Earl and Ursula Krentz’s Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, “Overly repeated, familiar images that appears too simple are more likely to have a negative influence on mood”.
To be most effective, office design should avoid repeating familiar, boring, imagery. Stimulating images have been proven to inspire creativity from employees and to encourage productivity. In order to maximize the impact of the environment, a well designed office branding strategy requires more than wall paper and logos.
“If creativity, innovation, and open conversations are elements of an organization’s purported culture, the placement of engaging artwork can help substantiate these values and make them visually available.”
Workplace artwork has been shown to elevate moods, physical well-being, and even drive performance. In fact, two university studies on how work environments can affect overall performance found clear evidence that incorporating artwork drives employee productivity:
- UMass Amherst’s Professor Alex Haslam’s recent study found that employees in offices decorated with pictures were 17% more productive than offices with bare walls.
- The University of Exeter’s Dr. Craig Knight who primarily studies the psychology of working environments has found a distinct difference in productivity between decorated and undercoated workplaces: “employees in offices with art .. work 15 percent quicker than those in offices containing only the things necessary for required tasks”
Both of these studies show that artwork can yield measurable business improvements with increases in employee engagement, retention, and productivity. Now that it’s been established that your walls can boost employee performance, managers need to look at the cost of not investing in artwork for their spaces.
How Art Retains its Value
Considering everything that goes into a business space, artwork has for centuries been a smart investment. If you think about furniture, floor covering and equipment lifespan, artwork holds its value better. The investment is often less than 1% of a total construction budget.
Branding elements do have a place in a strategic plan for work environments; however, in recent years art has sometimes been compromised by alternatives that initially appear as being lower cost and a good value in the short term, but the product becomes stale and outdated too soon with little ROI and no residual asset value. Utilizing artwork instead of branding in your office design will help you maximize the longevity of the investment you make in your space.
Defining Your Image
We see artwork as an asset – a tool for you to build the kind of professional environment that visually speaks your values to employees and clients. When consulting with clients, our goal is to understand the unique needs of your organization. We seek to understand what your drivers and desired project outcomes are in order to provide you with the best product for your project. Fill out the form below to receive a free SmartArt Proposal from one Art Consultants. Find out how we can help you build your ideal professional environment!