What colour should I choose?Published 20.10.16
There is so much information, opinion and myth around colour in the workplace. A lot of the information circulated generally tells you about certain colours that you should or shouldn’t use, how one will more you more productive, or what areas should be what colours within your workplace. A video I recently watched outlined that 95% of how we perceive anything, be it a space, product or cuisine, is actually subconscious and is built from past experience, connotations and assumptions. So when you look at a product you aren’t looking at it at all, you a thinking about what it reminds you of, how it made you feel, and therefore what this new product will be like.
The role of any designer becomes more and more difficult as the user gets older, sees more and therefore has more bad experiences to counteract. For example, if when you were growing up you had a pair of yellow wellies that you refused to take off, you are more likely to enjoy working in an office that features yellow, than an individual who has a pollen allergy.
Another popular article that is all over the internet is what the current trend is for this year. As much as culture and trend seem to effect the marketplace, doesn’t mean that is your only option when deciding on the aesthetic of your interior. Design essentials outline that design needs to be empathetic to a situation, a need, a place, or a person. None of these are anything about trend, which actually states what others around you like rather than what you like. A trend is a lot of people copying a lot of other people to create what they think they want.
Saying that, it seems that 2016 has brought us a new outlook on life. We have been wired into technology that grows larger (in capability not size!) and faster every day, that de-stressing, yoga and turning off are the new trend. Bloggers travel the world and expose themselves to different spaces, cultures, time and outlooks, does this mean that throughout that time they will produce less work? Will that week’s article follow the trend of the county they happen to be sat in? With so much information and inspiration around you are you ever able to have original thought? If I am a designer sat in a blue office, will my designs that I send out be more blue than not?
The client design process dictates that designers are to send out a layout, or product, with everything completed, colours, textures, shapes and layout, ready to go. The difficulty with this approach is that if I happen to choose a colour that the client does not like, it will be very difficult to look past. They may love that table, or chair but because it is shown in ‘that green’, the product or design may be disregarded. So how do we get past the association that colour dictates whether we like something or not?
As an alternative to reading what colours mean, or what are the ‘top 10 office’ to get inspiration from, perhaps we can talk about why those offices are in the top 10 in the first place. From studying thousands of offices over the last five years, I honestly believe that a ‘top 10 office’ features two things… Time and Space. I know time is a bit of a general point, but bear with me. Time is something that we all complain we don’t have, so how would your employee feel if you could give them more time. The big, ‘top 10 offices’, companies are not magicians, they have access to the same resources we do. So how do they make time? Easy, by saving it. By providing lunch, you save 10minutes in the morning not having to make a sandwich. By providing a dry cleaning service, you save the 30 minute (at least) going into town to drop off and collect items. Believe it or not a table tennis table or gym membership actually saves time too, as it gives people a venting system to have 30 minutes of exercise in their lunch hour, making them more effective in the afternoons. Saving time in the duration it takes to complete tasks. Just think of how effective, productive and genuinely happy the Google employees are and they are given 20 percent free time within their work day. Is that wasted company time? My second point of space is through soft seating pods, bean bags, coffee areas, individual pods, tree houses, an atrium, giving employees’ the space to complete their work and really get into the process, development and completion of a task, without disruption or involuntary distractions, making them more productive and therefore happier in their work.
So while you consider the colour of your new office, canteen or boardroom, take a moment to step back and consider how your staff feel, what they need and how the will use the space you are creating for them. Make sure you are creating an interior that attracts and nurtures the talent that is driving your business. Take control and shape your future. Good Luck