Creating a Workplace that reflects your Vision – Part 2

Inspiration Series Nº 2


Do you have a clear visual image of your goals?   Think of how focussed you’ll feel when you can picture exactly how your Vision looks.  Start simple with a collage to solidify your ideals in your own mind, and which you can then use as a tool to communicate to your designer.  We call this a “moodboard”, because as opposed to a simple collage of images, the aim is to select image, materials, pieces of text, or anything else you can imagine that captures a concept, look and feel.

Here’s the fun part:  Creating a “moodboard”

Mood boards are a great tool communicate your desires to others, including your team or your designer.

When defining your vision, consider the following:

  • Your Mission statement, or Unique value proposition
  • Your ideal customer profile
  • Quotes &/or statements that inspire you.  I find this a good place to get me started (especially descriptive quotes by famous authors like Charles Dickens).
  • Your corporate colours & logo (if they exist yet)
  • Draw from your history.  Is your company an old family-owned one, or are you inspired by an ancestor?
  • Imagery, fonts, colours, patterns & textures that visually match your core values.  Think of words to get you started like warm, welcoming, high-tech,that describe your business.
  • Descriptive words (i.e. like simplicity, integrity, meaning….).   A dictionary and thesaurus come in very handy!
  • Be legendary – take inspiration from famous people, art movements, moments in time

Next, create a collage.  You may be tempted to cut & paste on a word document, but remember that this is a fluid exercise and it’s highly visual, so I’d recommend using a big pin board an simply pinning things the “old fashioned way”.  Put it in a area where it can be seen every day, to have things added to or taken away from, until all the parts of it starts to feel right to you.  Be critical – it’s easy to add an image because you like it, but step back and examine it to make sure it’s defines your Vision.

Place it in an area where all team members can see it;  it helps to explain your inspiration to ensure that they get the same message that you are aiming to convey.

As an example, when working with the owners of Citrus, a Melbourne marketing agency run by women – their aim was to create a workplace with a sophisticated feminine vibe.  The images they had collected as inspiration for their office included pictures of modern homes they admired, and finishes and textures such as plush rugs, a marble-clad reception desk and bronze mirror finishes and mirror finish pendant lights as details, that conveyed that look of sophistication & gave a unique feel to their reception area.

While working on a concept for a national law firm a couple of years ago, I drew upon the firms 100 year old history of shipping law for inspiration.  In contrast, for my own work, inspiration comes from my family on both sides: engineers, draftsmen, architects & advertising.  Therefore I have the technical background that’s rubbed off, and all the paraphernalia of old timber drafting boards and technical drafting equipment that I’ve inherited over the years that leaves it’s legacy for me.  And hopefully for my daughters, but that’s another challenge!

Concepts & historical examples can also provide a grounding for your Vision.  While working intimately with Air New Zealand’s Customer experience and marketing teams, and using a “Change by Design” methodology, I explored the establishment of exclusive groups and clubs through history (such as the Moulin Rouge, The Groucho Club, The Rat Pack, etc…) and how that insight could transform not only the design, but the way passengers and staff thought of Air New Zealand’s lounge, as a club or community, not just a pit stop on the way to somewhere else. This thinking influenced all areas of the lounge, from the reception point, to dining areas and shower facilities, and took into consideration the journey from ticket sales to the in-flight experience.

Here are some helpful guides:    Visualise and Affirm Your Desired Outcomes:  A Step-by-Step Guide, by Jack Canfield, and Visualise It, by Jennifer Baumgartner Psy.D.

For Air New Zealand, I started by defining the concept of the club culture by writing a Manifesto.