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Five ways you can use psychology to nail your graphic design

People buy when they have a need for something and consumers buy from people they trust. Knowing what your audience want before they do is how you hook them, and having a great graphic design is one way you can connect with them. Create a graphic design that appeals to predictable human behaviour and you will have nailed it. But how do you do that?

Keep it simple.

Ensure your design is simple and familiar. We humans are visual beings, we make split second decisions based on what something looks like and if it doesn’t appeal, we walk away. Take advantage of evolution and make your design relatable, easy to understand.

You won’t be there to explain to each individual customer what it is you’re trying to sell, so allow your product to sell itself. A great graphic design can also instantly change the perception of a product from complex to user friendly.

 

Make your graphic design attention grabbing.

The average attention span online is five seconds. That’s it. You have five seconds to pique someone’s interest and persuade them to hang around, if not they’re off. A prime example of this are modern websites.

Look at how websites have changed over the years. You can still find older websites with wonderful examples of how not to do it – pages crammed full of information, a wall of text, inaccessible to all but the most ardent reader. People don’t have time for a barrage of words, simplicity is key.

A design has to be simple to navigate, scannable, easy on the eye and the brain, designed to draw you in and capture your attention at just the right place. Art has fast become science.

 

First impressions count.

Like anything in life you don’t get a second chance to make a great first impression, and no matter what we are told, we all (subconsciously or not) judge a book by its cover.

Don’t try and be avant garde with your graphic design. A pleasing visual, something clean and simple will appeal to more people, a complex one can put them off.

 

A picture paints a thousand words.

Communication is key to understanding and you don’t always have to use words to get your point across. If you can find a way to express what it is you are trying to convey without uttering a single word, you have nailed your design. Take for example colour, colour is a powerful trigger for evoking an emotional response: the colour red has been deeply ingrained in our psyche to mean danger, green implies an organic quality and babybird blue is the colour of trust.

 

Appeal to people’s emotions.

Make sure your graphic design has a visceral effect on those viewing it. Have it tug at their gut, create an instant connection, make them love it but not know why. This can be as simple as a beautiful photograph or a striking use of imagery or simply a combination of colours that are visually appealing to the audience.

Top 5 UK Exhibitions for Start-ups

The cost of exhibiting for any business, not just a start-up, can be astronomical, so you will want to box clever and only participate in those exhibitions that truly work for you and your business.

Exhibiting as a start-up is most definitely worth it when you realise you are quite literally shooting fish in a barrel, they are a marketing dream come true. Presenting your start-up at an exhibition gets your business in front of a captive audience who are there solely to find businesses just like yours.

Where do you uncover the best exhibitions for your start-up? Look no further, as we have listed the top 5 UK exhibitions for start-ups below.

 

  1. Food start-ups

 Speciality and Fine Food Show

sfff logo

This is the UK’s leading industry showcase of fine food and drink. This exhibition puts your food business directly in front of a high quality audience of top buyers looking to source the very best in food and drink. Not only do you get to present your business, but you will be in great company, standing shoulder to shoulder with people in a similar situation to you. You can discover the latest trends, see whose products have been awarded Great Taste stars and even enter the Seed Fund start-up pitch competition.

 

  1. Technology start-ups

Wearable technology show

With visionary speakers to inspire you, the world’s media to cover you, buyers to charm and consumers to sell to, this is the one stop shop for your tech start-up. This exhibition is the largest business and prosumer show in the UK. Network, create partnerships, build your supply chain, discover the latest tech gadgets and wearables, whatever you do, don’t miss it.

 

  1. Wellness start-ups

SFN

For those in the health and fitness arena there is a wealth of wellness exhibitions all around the UK for you to showcase your wellness start-up at. The SFN expo in Glasgow’s SEC is the inspirational health and fitness weekend of the year. This high energy exhibition is ideal for you to meet inspirational people in the wellness world, attend live events, meet your fellow brands, but ultimately put your start-up in front of thousands of consumers and trade buyers alike.

 

  1. Business start-ups

The Business Start Up Show

Image result for 40th business startup

The go-to show for anyone starting or growing their business. Listen to the UK’s leading business experts divulge their secrets, expose your business to an audience of over 25,000 other businesses and take the opportunity to sell your business and services to these highly targeted consumers. You can also take part in 170 interactive training sessions or pitch to panels of multi-millionaire investors.

 

  1. Home Interior Start-ups

The Ideal Home Show

Related image

Whether your business is soft furnishing production or a complete interior design service, positioning your start-up business in front of a captive audience is key to growing sales. The Ideal Home Show is the UK’s most iconic and trusted home exhibition, celebrating its 110th year this year. Generate sales, launch new products, promote your brand or network with industry key players. This is not one to miss.

Why is colour so important to your office?

Everything we do as humans is viewed through the lens of psychology, and it’s not subtle either. You won’t have to go far to find examples of this in action: Reality TV behemoth Big Brother frequently invites behavioural psychologists to analyse the actions and interactions of the people living under the microscope, as it were.

While this use of psychology serves a very entertainment-driven focus, businesses and brands have been using psychological factors to direct a lot of their decisions for a long time. You don’t have to have a degree in social sciences to use some of these tactics to motivate your staff, we’ve many years experience in both design and production of office screening and we want to share 3 killer concepts that will definitely boost productivity.

Consider your colours

There’s more than a few idioms we use that involve colour. Seeing red, feeling blue, green with envy. Colour is commonly associated with specific feelings, and there’s been many studies that back up the notion that certain colours can evoke a certain response. Of course context matters, and we all perceive colour differently, but research seems to universally agree that red can represent power and strength, green depicts balance and calm, while yellow is commonly associated with optimism.

Use it: Want to spread a positive message? Make yellow a dominant colour in your office screens!

Shaping up

Everything is made up of a series of shapes, but when we hear the word it’s really common to just picture one or two based on geometry. Some of the most recognisable brands can have their logos analysed against the backdrop of shape psychology, and plenty of scientific research has validated this approach to design. For example, circles can be associated with wholeness and continuity, while triangles are often said to represent dynamism. Squares are the most commonly seen shapes and are commonly associated with feelings of strength and reliability.

Use it: Screening doesn’t have to be boring. If you want a more contemporary feel look at screens with more shape such as curved, wave or even a mixture of styles!

The Gestalt Principles

While this collection of theories goes back many years, it can still be defined as a relevant part of modernity. Gestalt principles examine how the human brain makes connections between visual elements. This can be either based on proximity, similarity, closure, continuation or figure/ground (the idea that in a visual there are some elements that the brain immediately sorts as ‘background’ and others that are pushed forward as the ‘figure’. These principles are used a lot in logo design and examples of it are plentiful.

Use it: Understanding that the brain could wrongfully group visual content together can be a useful tool in when designing your office layout.

 

 

Sources
http://www.colour-affects.co.uk/psychological-properties-of-colours

https://tubikstudio.com/knock-design-into-shape-psychology-of-shapes/

http://www.flintriver.co.uk/the-psychology-of-shapes-and-symbols-in-graphic-design/

http://coglode.com/gem/von-restorff-effect

http://3.7designs.co/blog/2012/08/10-psychological-principles-to-design-with/

https://www.bcrpainting.com.au/bcrpainterblogs/2017/9/1/why-should-you-pay-attention-to-colour-psychology 

Introducing… The Clippy Notice Board

Clippy Notice Board

The Latest Evolution of the Notice Board

 

Notice boards should be something which we can be proud of. The freedom to completely customise them is what has made them such a staple addition to so many environments over the years. Unfortunately, the pinnable style, which we have become so accustomed to is gradually becoming outdated. Although, notice boards still provide a necessary service, which means they need to adapt to modern public places. For example, they need increased flexibility, which is a key factor for adaptable workplaces, offices and reception areas.

This is where the Clippy Notice Board comes in. It enshrines simplicity and flexibility at the core of the design. It is easy to move, features a professional appearance and provides freedom to customise, making it a natural successor to pinnable notice boards. Below you can discover the thinking behind the design and how it has been tailored for a variety of modern environments. There are even comparisons throughout with the more traditional pinnable notice board to help when deciding between the two.

 

Clippy Notice Board

Clippy Notice Board

 

The Basics: Design

 

The design of the Clippy Notice Board was developed around what has made its pinnable counterpart so successful. To that end, it can be customised in a variety of ways of the grip strips. These allow posters, leaflets and any lightweight material to be added without sticking pinholes through all of them. While the linear design lacks some of the freedom which you may find with its predecessor, it more than makes up for it in other departments.

For example, one of the main benefits is that the Clippy Notice Board is free-standing. Within the design is a robust yet lightweight core, which ensures they are easy to move and can adapt to any space. In particular, this makes the Clippy Notice Board ideal in busy environments, where they can be re-positioned and placed in the optimal position to be noticed. For the hospitality sector as well as businesses, this can become extremely useful when directing guests to meeting rooms and function areas.

To compliment this, the appearance of the Clippy Notice Board is tailored to be more professional as well as easier on the eye. For example, the top and bottom panels of the notice board can be customised with high-quality graphic design to promote branding as well as highlight the key content of the board. The result is a display which is more structured and organised than the pinnable counterpart. This ensures it excels when grabbing the attention of passers-by.

 

The Benefits of the Clippy Notice Board

 

To expand on that earlier point about positioning – the location of the notice board is crucial for getting the message across. We can all dream of designing the perfect display, but if it is going to get shunted to the back of the room, then it is not going to get the attention it deserves. For pinnable notice boards, this is a common drawback as all too often they end up just fading into the background.

The combat this, the Clippy Notice Board is equipped with two free-standing feet, which allows it to be deployed in any open indoor area. This positioning when combined with a clear and concise design guarantee that attention is drawn towards the content, and therefore helps to deliver any notices and announcements.

The limited options to be creative may be seen as a drawback, but in fact, there is some solid reasoning behind this decision. By keeping the core of the design the same – structured and organised, this helps to make content easier to view on the eye. Often, many pinnable designs are overcrowded with hundreds of fantastic ideas which can unfortunately drown out many of the key points being made. With the Clippy Notice Board, the appearance is kept clear and concise, delivering messages and notices to their target audience.

 

Clippy Notice Board

Clippy Notice Board

 

The Clippy Notice Board is designed and manufactured by Rap Industries. We have been creating bespoke office partitioning and notice boards for over 40 years. Throughout that time, our designs have developed to meet the shifting needs of the modern workplace. For more information on this notice board as well as other products we manufacture, please call 01733 394941 or send an e-mail to sales@rapind.com.

4 Ways of Creating Stunning Notice Boards and Bulletin Boards

 

Getting the Message Across in a Digital World

 

In the world of smartphones, Bluetooth headsets and tablet computers, getting a message across is an escalating challenge for marketers and businesses. Our connection to the internet means we are being bombarded by notifications throughout the day. Whether this is via our phone or e-mail inbox, we are often trapped in a perennial cycle of people trying to nudge us towards using or buying their products. So, when it comes to getting the message across, we are going to have to be creative and be unique.

Even though technology is sown into the very fabric of our lives, there is still great marketing value in notice boards. Yes, essentially those large tack boards which were a familiar addition to every classroom, ever.  Admittedly, the design has evolved since those days, but their core function remains very effective in public places. Whether this is in offices, reception areas, hotels and more, their purpose is to grab a person’s attention for just a few seconds. Great design and an eye-catching message are crucial for this, which is why we’ve looked at how to make your notice boards a success.

 

Notice Boards - Photo: mySAPL

Notice Boards – Photo: mySAPL

 

1. Get a Creative Member of Your Team on Board

 

This will be your most important starting point. If you’ve not got an eye for design, then attempting to create visually enticing notice boards could end up being a waste of your time. Even if what you have to announce isn’t quite as exciting as the latest viral trend, it needs to be able to demand the attention of a passer-by. Then by corroborating their design skills with your ideas, it is possible to create stunning notice boards and bulletin boards.

When selecting colours, deciding on fonts and finalising images, ensure you keep the location of the notice board in mind. Lighting in the room, as well as its location, will all have an impact on how it should be designed. For example, if it is placed in a large reception area, then a small dull font is not even going to warrant a glance. From here, you can begin to put together a fluid design which is personalised to impress. Even for basic announcements, a creative design can make it much easier to read on the eye.

 

2. Plan Where the Notice Boards Will Be Placed

 

A common problem with wall-mounted notice boards is that they often fade into the background. If this is in a spot where people commonly just walk past, then even an eye-catching design will not get the message across. This is why free-standing notice boards can be a much more valuable addition. Examples such as Clippy Notice Boards enable notices and announcements to be placed in the eye-line of the target audience. So even if they are glued to the screen of their phone, your content will at least be in their peripheral vision as they walk past.

The combination of a free-standing notice board with eye-catching content will help to get the message across. Importantly, they are effective in minimising the space required, leaving the area with plenty of room to manoeuvre. On top of this, they are also easy to move, enabling them to be adjusted and re-positioned for greater effect. This ultimately allows the area to be dynamic and capable of adapting to different events and visitors, depending on what is required on the day.

 

3. Create a Theme and Stick To It

 

One of the major reasons why notice boards can become so ineffective is a lack of effort being put into the design. Often, they are used in locations where people are passing through or just spending a few minutes there. As such, if the design of the content is dull and bland, then what kind of encouragement is there to take note of the message? If the announcement has been knocked up in a few minutes on a Word document, then what does this say about the importance of the notice?

To narrow down time, we recommend creating a theme and sticking to it. Even if this means spending a little longer to develop a creative template, this can then be quickly adjusted as and when required. One of the potential options here is to incorporate corporate branding to encourage people to take notice. An official design such as this makes the message appear relevant to the business and therefore relevant to the reader. As well as this, it also keeps the design of the notice boards consistent with the existing environment.

 

4. Notice Boards Should Be Dynamic

 

This final point is situational depending on the location you have. For example, if you have a reception area, then it is likely that you will have different people passing daily, meaning there is little need to adjust the design. However, if for example, it is in an office, then it is crucial to modify it to keep it fresh. This not only shows that there are new announcements but will also encourage them to glance over every day.

Simple changes keep things relevant and also gets your target audience into the habit of checking for notice changes. Ultimately, notice boards do not have to and should not be boring. You only need look online for some of the amazing creations produced by teachers for example. These are tailored to get children and adolescents looking, which is often a challenge on its own.

 

Clippy Notice Boards

Clippy Notice Boards

 

Rap Industries are designers and manufacturers of notice boards and office partitions. By working with schools and businesses, we utilise their feedback to create products which are effective in their relevant environment. For more information on how we can help, please call 01733 394941 or send an e-mail to sales@rapind.com.

Modern Alternatives to the Pinnable Notice Board

Clippy Notice Board

 

Finding an Alternative to a Well-Worn Design

 

Notice boards hold a great deal of potential when it comes to displays. Their ability to be completely customised puts the creative look completely in your control. That said, the pinnable notice board still has its limitations. While the design is simple, a pinnable board will always cause permanent damage to the content you are adding. Furthermore, the clear majority of notice boards are wall-mounted. This is hardly an ideal position when so many people now have their eyes glued to their phones. A modern notice board is all about addressing these issues and ensuring that important messages and announcements stand out to their target audience.

As a small disclaimer, we are talking about notice boards in a business setting, where attracting attention is often more of a struggle. So, if you are tired of using traditional pinnable notice boards, then you are in the right place. They have consumed much of the market, so it is often to find any reasonable alternatives which are not going to cost you a ridiculous amount. As well as some of the more obvious alternatives, we’re also going to examine some more unique options which may be ideal for your environment.

 

Clippy Notice Board

Clippy Notice Board

 

1: The Emergence of the Free-Standing Notice Board

 

For busy environments, in particular, a wall-mounted notice board simply is not going to cut it. Often the content is too far away to be seen and often, it becomes an ignored background aspect. To address this, there are now free-standing notices boards. These are ideal to be set up in hallways and reception areas. Crucially, the information can then be seen clearly by all that are walking by. A unique example of this is the Clippy notice board. This modern notice board features an eye-catching design which allows content to be added via the grip rails. Not only does this prevent any damage to the content, but it is also quick and easy to use.

As a free-standing notice board, these are often the ideal addition when presenting important announcements and information. Their design is built around grabbing attention as people walk by. Then, assuming the content is clear and can be seen from a fair distance away, will convey the message even if passers-by are indulged in the screen of their mobile device. As a final caveat, they are also easy to move, ensuring they can be utilised in different areas or positions, depending on what is required.

 

2: Customisable and Magnetic Notice Boards

 

A recent trend which is growing in popularity is to opt for magnetic notice boards. Often, these double-up as a whiteboard or blackboard, offering a whole new level of creativity. While not suitable for long-form information, these excel when used to display brief updates to passers-by. Firstly, the customisable board can be easily changed and there is even room for some creative finesse when writing out the message.

Then, the inclusion of the magnetic board allows any leaflets or announcements to be conveniently added with just a few magnets. In terms of style, these offer much more than traditional pinnable notice boards. For example, a magnetic blackboard can be fantastic for more rustic environments or restaurants where snippets of information can be added and quickly changed when required. A common issue for pinnable notice boards is that their cheap price often inhibits the final design. As a result, this is a major contributor to them simply fading into the background and not fulfilling the purpose which they were purchased for.

 

3: Consider the Value of Digital Notice Boards

 

While the aforementioned options may provide a cost-effective solution, there is an option to help to really get the message across. Digital notice boards provide a unique way of displaying messages and announcements. While these are likely to stretch your budget further, they do offer the best way to display information. These electronic options often combine a low-end computer with a decent screen. For a bit extra, you can even get the two combined.

With this setup, it is possible to create interactive and enticing displays. With the introduction of the screen, it is possible to create static displays as well as using videos and animations to illustrate messages. The result is significantly more appealing to passers-by, which ultimately means a higher chance of communicating the message to the target audience.

Whatever the budget, there are now a wide variety of options available as an alternative to the traditional pinnable notice board. Often, the decision comes down to the setting. If you need a simple board just to be creative, then the pinnable is still the way to go. However, for more complex and busier environments, it is becoming increasingly necessary to have attractive visual tools to get the message across.

 

Clippy Notice Board

Clippy Notice Board

 

Rap Industries are manufacturers of notice boards, office partitions and acoustic pods. Our experiences over the past 40 years have moulded the design of our products today. For more information on how we can enhance your business environment, please get in touch. To do so, either call 01733 394941 or send an e-mail to sales@rapind.com.

4 Office Design Trends to Take Notice of in 2018

Modern Office Design Trends

 

Implementing New Innovations for Future Growth

 

With the new year well underway and modern office designs taking shape, it’s about time we looked at the innovations which are leading the way. In the past, the office usually featured a static design which remained unchanged for years on end. Nowadays, the design of the office is significantly more important. While it can be a key factor in boosting productivity and stimulating creativity, it also holds several other benefits for businesses. For example, with a growing millennial workforce, a greater priority is placed upon where they work, and creating an enjoyable working environment is now important for attracting and retaining younger generations.

This point, combined with the fact that many offices are now used to host meetings and presentations has led to the office becoming an extension of the company’s brand. In addition to this, the design of the office is a key component when increasing productivity. Typically, this is achieved through creating comfortable working environments which are tailored to the strengths of its employees. As such, office design trends are evolving, far faster than they were 10 years ago. Often, these are tailored around the open office design, with the end goal focused on creating a balance between collaboration and privacy.

 

Modern Office Design Trends

Modern Office Design Trends

 

How Office Design Trends Are Catering to the Millennial Generation

 

By millennial, we are talking about employees who we born after the year 1990. What distinguishes these from the rest is the fact that they were brought around modern, digital technology. For example, the mobile phone, personal computers and games consoles were freely available. As well as this, their upbringing co-aligned with an increasingly liberal education system. The result is a different set of morals and beliefs than what business owners are used to. Rather than just focusing on money, millennials are more likely to set their sights on a career which is also fulfilling.

This is where office design becomes important. By fulfilling, we’re not necessarily talking just about doing humanitarian work. In fact, much of the career advice given to millennials over the past 20 years, has been to find a job you enjoy. This means to discover a career they are happy doing every day, working in a place which is comfortable and being surrounded by like-minded individuals. Because of concerns such as these, there has been greater emphasis placed upon building a community through office design.

This idea revolves around the open plan office. Some of the key office design trends over the past decade are built around finding a balance between collaboration and privacy in such an open environment. Rather than just reverting to the cubicle design of old, instead, designers are turning towards flexibility. Because of wireless technology, there is no need for employees to become attached to a single desk. Instead, modern offices are creating spaces for collaboration to take place and others which provide complete privacy from the surrounding office.

 

Office Design Trends in 2018 are Focused on Utilising Technology for Success

 

Many of the office design trends which we are seeing this year are built around this idea of flexibility. While they can certainly cater to the newer generations, it is also important to consider older ones who will have become accustomed to existing designs. In order to make the most of the space available, permanent, private offices are a thing of the past. Therefore, it is important for modern office designs to create effective private environments which are suitable for all generations. Simply telling people to pop a pair of headphones in is not a long-term solution.

 

An increasingly popular option is to create versatile, acoustic booths. These are semi-permanent and incorporate advanced acoustic technology akin to what you may find in a music studio. This helps to filter out much of the ambient background noise while creating a private space which fits in with the open design. These can then be used by individuals, for group work as well as for meetings. The result is an office where employees can be flexible and work in environments which are suitable for their work.

 

Creating an Office Which is Future-Proof

 

As we alluded to at the beginning, the speed in which offices are changing is increasing every year. While they are not complete overhauls, it is necessary for the office to quickly adapt to the needs of the business. If the number of employees continues to grow, then the office must follow suit. Fortunately, an open office is far more effective at this than any other design previously. Furniture, partition screens and even acoustic pods are relatively easy to re-arrange. Then it is simply a case of making the room for additional working space.

Furthermore, with interchangeable components such as these, it is simple and more cost-effective to adapt the design over time. Furniture such as desks and partition screens will not need to be changed every year. Therefore, modern office design trends are based upon a system where components can be added and removed wherever necessary.

On the topic of furniture, adjustable desks are something we all should be looking at. As modern office design trends look towards the future, this also concerns the future of employees. Many studies have begun to reveal the damaging effects of working in an office for 8 hours or more a day. There is a need to create environments which allow people to be as active as possible. While the flexible working areas will help, it is components such as an adjustable desk which get people moving and help to safeguard against some future health issues.

 

Integrating Branding into Office Design

 

The final factor we are going to cover involves the aesthetic of the modern office. With the examples set by Silicon Valley, the recent trend has been to incorporate white spaces with colourful and vibrant colours. While this has a number of benefits, such as being able to boost people’s mood, it fails to really make the space unique.

This is one of the reasons why this year, we are increasingly seeing company branding being incorporated into colour schemes and design plans. As mentioned earlier, the office is increasingly becoming part of the marketing and promotion of an organisation. Use of bright colours can be great for a creative business as it promotes that part of their identity. However, if you are in the business of finance, then glowing yellows and dazzling greens hardly create this image of professionalism and consistency.

 

Modern Office Design Trends

Modern Office Design Trends

 

Rap Industries are expert manufacturers of office partitions, acoustic pods and room dividers. They have designed components for organisations both large and small for over 40 years. If you wish to find out more about the services which they offer, then please call 01733 394941 or send an e-mail to sales@rapind.com.

How Should I Design My Office?

Modern Office - Photo: Bakoko

The Basics of Office Design

 

So, you’ve decided your office needs a re-design to bring it up to scratch. Well, the blueprint for what we consider to be a ‘standard office design’ has evolved substantially over the past 10 years, in part due to studies such as this. Aside from installing dedicated gyms, a swimming pool and even a spa if you fancy, this means we are having to innovate to make the office more ‘healthy’. It’s worth noting at this point that a successful office design does not consider just physical issues, but also mental. This means looking past the fancy furniture & stylish meeting spaces. Instead, it’s important to consider the little things which we will be getting onto later.

With the layout of your own office in mind, there are a few factors to keep close throughout the design process. Firstly, your staff. Everyone has their own frustrations with the office, whether it’s a lack of natural sunlight, lack of privacy or just a noisy co-worker. This feedback should be factored in at the start, as the design should be tailored to help make them happy. If the workforce is happy, then theoretically, they should be more productive and even more creative. Of course, quick disclaimer, even the perfect office design will not fix every problem within a business.

 

Modern Office - Photo: Bakoko

Modern Office – Photo: Bakoko

 

Working with the Existing Design of Your Office

 

Still with me? Good, now let’s start with the framework you have available. Your office; is it big or small? Multiple rooms or just one large ones? Where are the windows located? The latter is very important. Being close to a window or just being exposed to natural light is great for the mood. If you’re sat in a box in the corner of the room, things are going to get dull, fast. If you’re not graced with glass windows wrapping around the room like a New York skyscraper, then don’t worry. Knock down any interior walls which are preventing it seeping into separate corners of the office. If you desire some kind of structure, then Perspex/glass partition screens are the ideal solution.

Now, back to the first questions that were posed; what space is available? This is important as multiple rooms can provide more flexibility. One of the key issues with office work is that we often become trapped at a desk, for 8 hours a day, staring at a screen. This encourages fatigue and is one of the reasons why we start having issues with bad backs. Therefore, consider creating two separate areas; one for collaborative work, where desks are kept in close proximity and another for quiet work where distractions are kept to a minimum.

With this, your staff can move freely (laptops are a key consideration in a design like this) and work in an area which suits the work they are doing as well as the mindset they are in. Should there be space the spare, then an acoustic pod should be a consideration. These can be effective when used as a meeting room or group room.

 

Creating Balance Within an Office

 

I’ll expand on this idea of creating separate working areas. This is something which you are likely to pick up on by talking to staff. Some of them will love working side-by-side, bouncing ideas off each other and developing plans. Then there are others, often less vocal, who would rather just stick a pair of headphones on and crack on with the work at hand. Your design should be tailored to the people that work there. If nobody is bothered, then you can get away with keeping desks close together. But if your team likes their personal space and often conduct individual work, then this has to be factored into the layout.

 

Invest in Furniture for Long Term Gain

 

Furniture is always the most expensive part of any re-design. Because of this, many companies will choose to shy away from premium products to keep the overall cost down. Appropriately designed seating, partition screens, desks and peripherals are vitally important. This is because they create comfort. Even if employees are sat at a desk for a couple of hours at a time, the strain caused as a result of cheap furniture will create long term problems which could end up costing more than an ergonomic chair. Their modern design is not there to convince you to part with more of your budget. It’s there to make it easier to work and for longer – ideal when you are looking to get the most from your staff.

 

The Finishing Touches…

 

By now, you should have a strong idea of how the office is going to be laid out. Once that is set in stone, you can start to think about the interesting part – the decorating. Most modern offices have ditched those monotone colour schemes and dull shades. The reasoning is that people are hardly motivated to work in an environment which makes them feel miserable. Surprisingly, people actually like to work in places which are interesting. Therefore, you should be considering using bright colours where possible. There is nothing wrong with whitewashed walls as long as they are coupled with vibrant partitions and eye-catching furniture.

As a parting point, many indoor design experts would recommend infusing your branding into the design where possible. Whether this is a colour scheme or specific design, keep it consistent. The office should become part of a company’s identity, rather than just the place where people work. This point is crucial, especially if you are hosting guests and visitors as it helps to build your rapport with them.

Hopefully, this little post should provide the basis for you to begin designing your own office. We’ve barely touched upon elements such as the acoustics, which are an important consideration. Re-designing the office often only takes place every 5-10 years, so do your research and make sure the investment helps your business and your brand long term.

 

Delta Office Screens

Delta Office Screens

 

Rap Industries have been established for over 40 years. They design and manufacture office screens and partitions bespoke to create effective and attractive working environments. You can find out more about the services they provide by calling 01733 394941 or by sending an e-mail to sales@rapind.com.

How to Solve the Inherent Flaws of Open Office Design

Office Design - Photo: K2 Space

Adapting Open-Plan Designs for Success

The now infamous Google offices have generated substantial debate over the years between office design experts. The futuristic design, characterised by ping-pong tables, restaurants within a few hundred yards and THAT twisting slide, create this utopian image of office design from the outside. Visitors have often gawked at the freedom afforded to employees and envisioned how such a design could be implemented within their business. A post from Lindsey Kaufman has re-surfaced in the past month which her frustrations with open office design. Back then it was an upward trend, but now it has become the norm.

Stating that Google ‘got it wrong’ I would consider being an exaggeration. However, the blueprint they created has been haphazardly applied other workspaces which are often significantly smaller. The Google offices are admittedly open, but what makes these offices unique is their flexibility. Having 31.79km2 at the Googleplex ensures there is abundant space for, quiet zones, gyms, cafés and the rest. Even relatively large businesses who take up multiple floors in tower blocks cannot hope to rival the flexibility that the Google model provides. As Lindsey found out, the result was a mess – neglecting factors which ultimately harm employee productivity and health.

Modern Office Design - Photo Courtesy of: K2 Space

Modern Office Design – Photo Courtesy of: K2 Space

The Problem with Proximity and Personal Space

Before we had the open-plan office, white collar workers endured the cubicle design often for the entirety of their working lives. When this was created, it promised to give employees privacy whilst enabling employers to cram them in like a well-played game of Tetris. Surprising really, that it took half a century to modernise such a flawed design. A simple combination of flimsy partition screens which did very little in the way of reducing audible or visual distractions. Interruptions caused by colleagues chatting, phones ringing and people passing through not only harms productivity but it triggers frustration, stress and the myriad of health issues that can result from the two.

The open office designs which we see created in the Google-style simply remove the screens and fail to address any of the issues which were harmful in the first place. For example, it’s rare for most businesses who design their own office to consider the acoustics of the area. The soundwaves reverberating from colleagues and their devices is incredibly unpredictable. This leads to persistent interruptions which are incredibly harmful to productivity. Hard surfaces such as hardwood floors and painted walls can look sublime, but they reverberate sound around the room causing it to echo. Instead; carpets, acoustic wall panels and acoustic screens should be considered to help keep ambient background noise to a minimum.

Transforming an Open Office Design into a Flexible Design

If there are multiple rooms available, then a flexible workspace is far more achievable. With all the detrimental issues associated with sitting at a desk for multiple hours a day, there has never been a better time to create an office which provides employees with freedom. Laptop computers are the key tool here (assuming they are required). Their versatility means that sitting at a desk all day is a thing of the past. Deadline approaching and you need space to focus? Take a seat in a designated quiet zone. Looking to collaborate while working through your tasks? Head over to one of the communal areas. Holding a meeting to discuss ideas as a group? There are dedicated spaces for that.

This freedom of movement is successful in several ways, but critically it appeals to a diverse workforce. We may hold ‘collaboration and innovation’ as our mantra, but throwing people together is not a guaranteed way to succeed. While some may excel in this style of an environment, others will feel overwhelmed. This risks alienating them further and creating a new batch of problems. Office design must consider the concept of introverted and extroverted workers, who are unique in their own rights and excel in contrastingly different environments. What you don’t see in the glamorous videos of the modern office is those tucked away in the corner, happily working away without the hustle and bustle of the open office.

Tailoring the Google Blueprint for Personal Use

When considering office design, it’s important to remember that most of the major corporations will have contracted expert interior designers to create a tailored office design. Their blueprints will take everything into consideration; aesthetic, acoustics, practicality and logistics. So, if you are looking at going down the same route, then I’m surprised you have made it so far down the article. Instead, where we see many shortcomings is when smaller businesses go it alone. They often adopt a lot of the stylistic choices on available, while neglecting many of the smaller factors which can make these areas so effective.

To begin with, the most important factor to consider is the opinion of those who already work there. What environments do they feel comfortable working in? What works about your current office design and what does not? What would they like to see? People can be resilient to change, so creating a design which is going to maintain harmony after the refurbishment is extremely important. Then you can begin to tailor the design based on your requirements. Which layout will work best? Is it possible to create different working areas with different conditions?

Before jumping ahead to pick out fabrics and colours, there is still the all-important factor of acoustics to finalise. If you have a large, busy office, then the noise is likely to be a concern. In situations like these, we would recommend using soft fabrics throughout to absorb some of those soundwaves. To protect yourself against any future issues then looks towards acoustic screens and acoustic wall panels to help control the ambient background noise.

The Finishing Touches

Then, and only then is it time for the fun stuff. Office design is far more meticulous than meets the eye, and sloppy designs will only hamper productivity. A complete re-design is often only done every five years or every decade or so. Therefore, investing the time into getting it right will stand you in good stead further down the line. Many businesses appear to have gone gung-ho in the open office craze in recent years, which has led to feelings similar to those expressed by Lindsey Kaufman. While that opinion is shared by many, it does not have to be the case when working in an open office. Careful consideration for the office design can make a substantial difference to the productivity and wellbeing of those working within them.

Acoustic Screens - Office Design

Acoustic Screens – Office Design

Go Displays are expert manufacturers of office partitions and acoustic pods. With over 40 years of experience in the industry, we have extensive insight into how to create an effective office design. For further information on the services we provide, please call 01733 232000 or send an e-mail outlining your enquiry to sales@go-displays.co.uk.

Why There Has Never Been a Better Time to Buy British Goods…

Buy British - Credit: Cat Burton

 

How Brexit Makes British Products More Affordable

 

Every time there seems to be any uncertainty in Britain, we always here the same rallying call to ‘buy British’! You might be thinking it’s a broken record at this point, but this recognisable cry is not just a generic example of political rhetoric. Manufacturing was once the heartbeat of Britain, creating jobs, livelihoods and communities in its wake. Now, it’s largely outsourced around the world due to cheaper wages and higher profits. However, manufacturing still exists and the quality has not declined since Britain’s industrial heydey. Usually, you would expect to pay a premium for British goods, owing to a higher cost of living which hikes the price. Events over the past six months have begun to change that perception.

With the Brexit vote favouring a move to leave the European Union, this has caused the Sterling to slump. You may recall a similar speech being bandied around during the recession nearly 10 years ago. Essentially, when the pound slumps, this makes it more expensive for us to import. This is caused by the pound being worth considerably less when compared to a foreign currency. On the reverse, however, this makes exporting cheaper – ideal for foreign companies looking for quality goods. Even for British people, the weak pound is likely to drive up the price of everyday goods, making British alternatives more attractive.

 

Buy British - Credit: Cat Burton

Buy British – Credit: Cat Burton

 

What Have the Past 6 Months Suggested? 

 

Voting to leave the European Union placed Britain in a unique situation, one never trodden before. The experts and the analysts filled our news feeds with the supposed doom and gloom which comes attached to leaving what had become a comfort zone. In the months since Britain has yet to implode, the economy is stable… for now and exports have increased. Rejuvenating the manufacturing industry has been on the government’s agenda for at least the last decade. Now, in the aftermath of the Brexit vote, there are shoots emerging which suggest this could become a reality.

Demand for British goods has held and even increased since Brexit. As the value of the pound came tumbling in the weeks and months later, this led to ‘Made in Britain’ being cheaper abroad. For instance, the average spending by foreign credit cards increased by 11%. Meanwhile, importing goods became more expensive, driving the price of foreign products up (the Marmite debacle is a great example of this).

However, this is not to suggest that Britain is going to transform itself into a powerhouse, such as China or India. Instead, it is utilising an educated and highly skilled workforce to create quality goods. The ‘Made in Britain’ marque which you may see adorning some products is as much an evaluation of quality as it is telling you where it is from. Goods ‘Made in China’ come attached with this stigma of cheap materials, cheap product. The opposite can be said of Britain, despite a lack of evidence to suggest the contrary.

 

Why is ‘Buy British’ Regarded So Highly? 

 

The perception is that when you are buying British, you are buying quality. This all stems from brand Britain; the Industrial Revolution, the Royal Family and the British Empire. Its history is far from being covered in glory, but it creates resonance worldwide. In the east, China may struggle to shake off the image of packed factories, cheap labour and a lot of smog. Likewise, Britain is tightly associated with this identity of what it means to be ‘British’. This is not to say that goods produced in Britain are complete tat, quite the opposite. It’s a proven track record forged by Boeing, Jaguar, Rolls Royce, HP, Cadbury’s and so on. Each who forged this stock reputation, which every British manufacturer now follows.

Having an identity such as this gives the manufacturer’s something to strive towards. Products are designed and developed with the quality set as the main goal. For customers abroad, especially in developing countries, this is ideal due to high demand for quality goods. With the sterling at its weakest state in recent memory, there has never been a better time for foreign consumers to buy British.

 

Where Do British Consumers Stand?

 

Only a few weeks ago, across ‘the pond’, President Trump’s inauguration speech was centred around buying American and creating American jobs. The same theory was reverberated in the UK by Labour deputy, Tom Watson. The idea is that by supporting local manufacturers, this results in more jobs being created and more wealth being kept in Britain. Undoubtedly, as we move closer to Brexit, the government will look to shine the light on British goods to begin making up ground on its trade deficit.

In the coming years, we can expect the price of imported goods to increase. Meanwhile, after Brexit is complete, there is a good chance the cost of British goods will fall. This will primarily be caused by an independent Britain looking to reinvigorate its ‘self-sufficiency’. As inflation rises, this is likely to happen in tandem with the price of imported goods also on the rise. As a result, while British goods may not necessarily be cheaper, they will be more comparable. Significantly, this is one of the reasons why there is such a drive to ‘buy British’ as doing so will see more money being pumped into the British economy, rather than being sent abroad.

Buying British, for Britons is primarily an ideological decision. The rising cost of inflation will start to pose the question to consumers as to whether they prefer British cheese or Swiss, rather than which is cheaper. For those outside of Britain, there has never been a better time to buy British, certainly not in recent memory. While investors may have been turned away by relative instability, one-off orders are sometimes up to 10% cheaper when using the US dollar, a significant saving.

 

Buy British - Universal Screens

Buy British – Universal Screens

 

About Rap Industries

Rap Industries are a British manufacturer, based in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire. Established for over 40 years, we have designed and produced office partitions and exhibition stands for clients across the UK and the world. If you wish to find out more about the services we provide, please call 01733 394941 or send an e-mail to sales@rapind.com.

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