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Best practices: How to write company brand guidelines – Interior design

In this series of Best practices: How to write company brand guidelines, deBroome will be sharing our expert knowledge of style guidelines – how to get started, what to include and questions to consider. We hope to give you the tools to create a solid foundation for your brand style guidelines.

Chapter 9: Interior design

Working habits changed during 2020. Remote work, home offices and back to back to back online meetings have become a new standard for people all around the world. Still, many long to the shared space where they go about their work, interact with colleagues and use real, physical whiteboards. In this chapter, we will look closer into the things that need to be considered when documenting and sharing your corporate interior design guidelines.  

A coherent brand expression

Some offices are small and need to be decorated in a smart way to maximize the space. Other offices house thousands of employees, demanding thorough planning for efficient movement between landmarks within it. Regardless of the office size or decorating options, interior design should be a natural extension of the brand. Whether you are decorating your office yourself or hire an interior designer, your interior design decisions should be guided in order to achieve a coherent expression of your brand across all spaces, digital as well as physical.

How it's different

So how is it different from the other disciplines of brand guidelines? With interior design, there can often be some added complexity – or, some would say – creative freedom. Interior design in its nature leaves room (no pun intended) for interpretation.

Just as we discussed in the print design and digital design chapters, branding needs to be applied throughout all disciplines in order to achieve consistency, recognition and trustworthiness. However, digital and print colors are not directly translatable into textile colors. Good or bad artwork can be a highly subjective matter. Lighting that has been installed can be difficult to change. And so on. And this is where guidelines come into play. 

The elements of interior design guidelines

Decide on and make sure to document the guidelines for the materials used in your physical spaces. What impression do you want them to make, or add to? Although budgets might not be limitless, consider characteristics such as sustainability, functions and aesthetics to find a fitting mix.

– Areas to consider:

  • Desks
  • Chairs
  • Storage/shelves
  • Textiles
  • Flooring

Consider how your interior color guidelines will be applied in practice. For example, you might want an office space to be neutral in color but the office signage bright in order to better capture attention. It is important to know that your brand colors might not be directly translatable into material colors used in your interior design. Therefore, it can be a good idea to define a complementary color palette for this branding discipline itself.

– Areas to consider:

  • Color balance
  • Contrast
  • Consistency 

Using patterns can be a good way to break up solid blocks of color throughout your office. Patterns can be used on wallpapers, furniture or any type of textile. There are all types of pattern styles so remember to aim for consistency. For example, you might want to define whether you use graphic, geometric patterns or more natural, organic ones.

– Areas to consider:

  • Style
  • Variations
  • Frequency

Solid, thoughtful decor can be a make-or-break factor in any interior. Lightning, plants and artwork work together to create the final, important touch. It can bring that extra dimension of comfort, function or inspiration. Consider the different areas you are decorating. Spaces for work will for example need different lighting from a break area.

– Areas to consider:

  • Lighting
  • Plants
  • Artwork

A final note

As we have touched upon throughout this chapter, interior design can differ from your other brand disciplines in terms of how your brand is applied. However, the same principles still apply. That is why it is so important to include interior design in your overall brand guidelines as well as making these guidelines available for others.

Previous chapters

Stay tuned for upcoming chapter:

  • Chapter 11: Brand strategies

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Dino Ceric

Dino Ceric is a product designer at deBroome, revolutionizing the way businesses manage their brand through digital brand products.

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