Inching towards our 3-year mark this year, we decided to spell out our distinct identity. Thus began our journey of designing ThinkBumblebee’s office space.
As well-followed designer, illustrator, and author Frank Chimero puts it — “People ignore Design that ignores People”. Thus, when embarking on our workspace design journey, an intuitive starting point was — what messages do we want to convey to our stakeholders? For instance, Employees spend a disproportionate amount of time everyday, at the workplace. Hence, it is crucial to create a space that blurs boundaries between Work & Play, is functional yet visually appealing and comfortable. All of this promotes productivity and efficiency, while also engaging employees. For customers and investors, Workspace design sets the tone for the business, tells them a story about the brand’s journey, work ethic and success.
We moved to our current office (World Trade Centre, Kharadi) over a year ago. ‘The Hive’ (as we fondly call it!) had 3 white-washed walls that served as a blank canvas. Multiple brainstorming sessions helped us sharpen the messages we wanted to convey, on this canvas.
Next, our design team experimented with various formats — doodles, abstract art, graphic wallpapers, floral patterns, landscape, typography etc. For instance, one of the options considered was various forms of Bees, to represent the myriad personalities we as employees brought to ThinkBumblebee.
We had 3 walls to design, while ensuring they were in sync, visually and story-wise. Of the 2 walls facing each other, one was to be employee-centric and the other, was to depict ThinkBumblebee offerings.
The employee wall turned out to be a more challenging one to design; since it was dissimilar in concept, to its counterpart. Our design team brainstormed and sketched various executions of ThinkBumblebee’s 5 values — Bold, Passionate, Curious, Real. Open. And after multiple sketches and feedback sessions we were able to agree upon a single, cohesive design.
The ‘values’ wall imprinted our values into our employees’ minds. It was matched in typography and color, to the ‘offerings’ wall; which depicted our solutions and the sectors we serviced. Here’s what these walls ended up looking like, each catering to a different stakeholder:
The third wall (right at the entrance) was intended to provide a welcoming, personable, uplifting vibe. Based on creative crowdsourcing among ThinkBumblebees, we decided to dedicate the third wall to quirky, Data-centred memes:
Like most experiences, this one also left us with some ‘lightbulb’ moments:
Bringing everyone onto the same page is the first hurdle. This is particularly true of small organisations like ours, where just about everyone has an opinion, is given the freedom to voice it and tends to speak their mind. Which also makes arriving at a consensus; a litmus test in patience, listening, scheduling skills and much more.
Avoiding Chinese Whispers is critical, to execute the concept accurately. In excitement, various ideas are discussed, evaluated, debated, discarded or adopted. There’s got to be one team-member simply keeping track of how ideas are being processed, by the group.
Resist temptation to go overboard. High-involvement brainstorming comes with its own pitfalls. A group of high-involvement individuals can generate a humungous amount of seemingly unique ideas. What matters is going back to the intended message, and picking those (few) ideas that best resonate that message.