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How to Design Your Space with Brand in Mind: 3 Considerations

Artisan DentalPatients of Dr. Nicole Anderson love coming to their appointments at Artisan Dental. They appreciate the care and attention that they receive, and they also love the physical space and relaxing atmosphere. Their response is no accident. Before a single line was drawn, Dr. Anderson thoroughly and passionately discussed her vision for her new practice and the corresponding physical space with our team at Iconica. We promised to help her design a space that would speak and live that vision.

Expressing the core qualities of a business through design is something John Seamon, Architectural Director for Iconica, takes very seriously:

“My goal is to make sure the space resonates with the crux of the business, its employees and its customers. Sometimes a company has already spent considerable time with a marketing consultant to formally define their brand and create a brand map. With others, such as Artisan Dental, the formal process has not taken place, but the information is still available. Dr. Anderson didn’t have a written definition of her brand – in fact hadn’t thought much about it prior to our sessions, but she has a head and a heart. She knew where she wanted to land and was able to express it.”

Artisan Dental hallwayDr. Anderson envisioned a holistic focus to her new practice, a theme we helped her to achieve through unique and thoughtful design. She wanted the space to reflect her belief that health, happiness, beauty, and comfort are intrinsically connected. She wanted her patients to leave feeling relaxed and rejuvenated, while at the same time feel confident in her use of the newest and most advanced technology.

On completion, Artisan Dental is a beautiful expression of the doctor’s wishes and she is delighted. And not only the doctor, but her patients. Published testimonials and reviews provide reinforcement:

“…I would definitely recommend Artisan Dental for someone who experiences anxiety when visiting the dentist…”—Sallie Jo C.

“This was the most spa-like dentist experience I’ve ever had. Everybody was sooooo nice and the space looked more like a hotel lobby…”—Jen D.

“I have been to dentists in three different cities…This is by far my favorite.  For one, the energy and ambiance (not usually something discussed when talking about going to the dentist!) is amazing.  The waiting area is relaxing with Ipads to use, bright colors, interesting books.  The exam rooms have huge windows that face the street with tons of natural light.  Everyone (from the front desk staff to the hygienist to the dentist herself) introduced themselves, were super friendly, and wanted to get to know me…”—A.E.

Artisan Dental patient loungeLocated on the third floor of a mixed-use building in downtown Madison, the interior design evokes calm while the practice echoes the urban setting with cutting edge technology. Tall ceilings, with areas of exposed structure and engineering systems, draw the eye upward, and floor-to-ceiling windows on the two exterior sides of the clinic add to the spaciousness. Glass accents are repeated throughout the interior adding color and texture. The upscale residential-style waiting area results from both design elements and furnishings. Pops of fresh color add a joyous touch, while natural materials such as wood and wool add warmth.

“Our space reflects our belief that health, happiness, beauty, and comfort are inextricably bound. Warm surroundings, natural accents, and state-of-the-art technology at every turn.”  —Dr. Nicole Anderson

Design with brand in mind affects both employees and customers by reinforcing the vision, purpose and personality of your business. It seems unthinkable to us to forgo such a fruitful process. Design with brand in mind can be applied to any space type – office, medical, industrial – the list goes on. Formal brand definition is helpful, but by no means necessary.

Follow these 3 steps when it comes time to design your own space:

1. Make sure everything lines up

Start with a clear definition of your target audience. Continue with a well-articulated brand or space strategy that aligns with your operations, your people and your customers. Everything else follows from that—the floor plan, the design concepts and all of the component parts.
Each aspect must “line up” against your defined goals. Is it appropriate for your target audience? Does it fit into your overall brand promise? Are you creating unique, differentiated, consistent experiences? Questions like these aren’t “nice-to-dos.” They are “must-dos” if you are going to ensure that your project comes together and meets your vision and financial goals.

2. Don’t be afraid to get messy

Branding can be conceptual and frustrating. That’s why it’s important to get your hands dirty. First, this means including a wide range of stakeholders in the process; owners, operators, architects, interior designers and even members of your target audience all work together to build your brand platform.
This collaborative process doesn’t just create a stronger result, but also ensures buy-in from all stakeholders from the very beginning. This means a shared understanding of what we call “True North” — meaning that all of your various team members and decision makers are working together under a shared vision. While this sounds obvious, it isn’t necessarily automatic and skipping this step can result in frustration, inefficiency and projects that frankly just don’t speak your language.

3. Put the “wow” where it matters

The battle of the budget is fought in design. That’s why it’s important to know what’s important to you — and to your brand (and its users) — before you start the design process. Need an inspiring grand entrance? Or, do you want your customers to feel like they’re in paradise in a particular area of your building? Is sustainability part of your DNA? Or perhaps you have specific concerns about air quality? By understanding where you want to put the “wow” in your building — and why users — you can make sure that you create the optimal brand experience.

Attention to brand provides opportunities to differentiate your company through your physical space. Passionate designers love digging deep into the soul of a business and translating that personality through space, shape, color and texture. With or without a formal brand, our goal is to understand your priorities and build an optimal solution based on your vision and needs. Let us know how we can help.

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