We all know that first impressions are important in human interaction. Most of us spend endless amounts of time making sure that our personal aesthetics are up to par with the standards while also conveying the right impression of us. In that first brief moment people are expected to know your confidence, attitude, taste, wealth, values, and more. This in many ways holds true with respect to corporate lobby spaces. That first impression with your lobby sets the tone and expectation for the rest of the customer’s visit.
While corporate lobbies come in endless shapes and sizes, with different needs and budgets, there are certain aspects of design that make them inviting as well as brand-relevant. There are many things to strive for when considering a new or updated lobby space.
A lobby should:
- Invite—From the first point of entry, a lobby should make a visitor feel a certain ease.
- Greet—While not all companies have reception desks, a visitor must understand they have arrived and feel welcome.
- Stimulate—Whether by the architecture, graphics, furnishings or ornamentation, getting a visitor excited to be in your space is a true advantage.
- Orient—Visitors should have a sense of where they need to go through a focal point, the signage or layout of the space.
For the manufacturer, a lobby space should also:
- Promote the Quality of the Brand—The quality of your brand can come out in so many different aspects of design. The lobby space must communicate the thoughts and beliefs of your company in a clear and consistent manner.
- Show a Little Swagger (without Bragging)—A confident company is not afraid to try something unique and unexpected in their lobby space to entice a certain visitor reaction while at the same time showcasing their culture.
- Teach the Customer Something—The lobby is a great opportunity to provide the visitor with educational information about the company’s offering as well as the core values.
- Be Streamlined and Clean—Clean is next to holiness. Clutter has no place in a lobby. From the location of trash recepticals to how a reception desk is maintained, design looks at clutter as the enemy.
- Evolve with Time—The space you design and plan for today is most likely going to have different needs in 5 or 10 years. Changing technologies, company growth, visitor flow, and the economy can all help to render a lobby obsolete. The design of the lobby space must be somewhat organic to bend and twist with change. This change may not even be noticed by the visitor and may be purely functional within the company.
- Keep in Mind Function and Control—Keeping a lobby space safe for the company as well as its visitors is extremely important. The control of egress within a space should be as hidden and unobtrusive as possible.
With all this, manufacturers often fall short on the design and updating of their lobby spaces. Some do not feel they have the visitor traffic to substantiate the time and expense. Others are simply too busy with the day-to-day business at hand, or wonder why they should change somethng that’s not “broken”.
Companies with a strong vision of their product and brand simply find a way to stay relevant and consistent when confronted with their clients and the public interacting within their environment. And, companies who invest in their brand are the ones that get the investment back from their customers.