When we founded Brand Creative five years ago, our intention was to create a multidisciplinary studio that would seamlessly merge interior design with graphic design. We were collaborating with large companies and startups that were business savvy enough to understand that working with a single studio’s vision as brand guardians was fundamental to their brand’s success.
What’s different about how we approach our work is that each project undergoes a brand strategy phase where we define (or redefine) the brand’s essence using insights and experience from both disciplines. We listen to one another, we focus the conversation around the end-user, we discuss case studies from our respective design “worlds” and, ultimately, we come to an understanding of what is needed to move forward in creating branded environments that are both engaging and authentic.
Translating the brand strategy into a consistent visual language between the two disciplines is the next step. Our designers share inspirational mood boards and sketches while beginning to define and collaborate on graphic elements, motifs and colour palettes that are used in our respective scopes of work. Throughout the project, we are able to physically sit with one another and discuss various elements as they develop. We influence each other’s work by conducting frequent internal presentations, informal critiques and also support one another when presenting to clients.
From an interiors perspective, our designers understand that graphics can add a rich and meaningful dimension to our spaces and having our own internal team to support us is an ideal and truly collaborative existence. There are several instances of how we collaborate on a daily basis but we have narrowed down the top three scenarios in which graphic design plays an integral role in creating an engaging interior environment.
This first scenario is a clear sign of our “digital” times. When working with established retail brands that want solid in-store customer engagement, we cannot ignore the digital realm. Most retailers expect that our interior concepts will include areas around the cash desk and fitting rooms that will encourage social media engagement and connectivity with the brand.
Our graphics team is able to understand not only the ergonomic properties of where these screens are integrated into furniture and surfaces but also see firsthand the colour palettes and materials being proposed for the area and graphically translate that into their work. Our goal is to create apps and display screens that aesthetically work with the interiors while still being user friendly.
In Go Sport, Mall of the Emirates, we designed branded zones that each integrated technology via touchscreens and interactive displays. This was an in depth collaboration between our interiors and graphics departments where understanding user interface and ergonomics was key. The women’s department includes theatres and wall graphics that seamlessly integrate video and social media content. The running shoe wall includes an interactive display and motion sensor feature where customers can discover specifications about feature display products on a custom designed app and digital screen that is incorporated into the surroundings created by the interiors team.
The development of motifs, patterns and colour palettes are the most natural ways that graphic and interior designers can collaborate. During concept phase, it becomes apparent how similar all design disciplines are in their approach to finding inspiration. While designing the interiors for Hamac (a luxury beachwear brand), our team was inspired by retro pottery from the 60’s and a “tribal-esque”, monochrome motif was re-imagined into tone on tone 3D patterns for the interiors as well as the primary pattern used on business collateral and packaging.
In our work for Nar, a shisha lounge and modern arabic restaurant, our interior designers collaborated with the graphics team to create a stylised version of an Arabic inspired pattern for the custom designed carpet in the majlis area. This same pattern was used across the menu design and marketing pieces and complimented by secondary motifs curated by both departments.
A great interior designer will be able to convey a brand’s tone of voice through material, furniture and lighting selection, but there are times where the subtle nuances of a brand’s message can be further enhanced by words, icons and infographics. These graphic additions can resonate with customers (in retail spaces) or employees (in office spaces) by communicating ideas that aren’t possible to communicate through interiors alone.
The integration of visual communication in a physical, 3D space can help customers understand a product or service in more depth, which then builds brand trust. In an office space, graphic visuals can help employees understand the company’s values.
Our own office is a manifestation and visual representation of how we work on all our projects and our designers consistently report on the positive effects that this space has on their perception of our work environment. Quotes, inspiring messages, patterns and imagery were intentionally selected and carefully placed within our environment for maximum impact.