Divide and Conquer
Placemaking is a fundamental element of Experiential Graphic Design, the perception of our surroundings has a very real effect on our mood and how we interact with others.
“Environments that do not provide ready access to spatial hierarchies may interfere with variable personal needs for social interaction. Stress may result from these unmet needs.”
Gary W. Evans, Sheldon Cohen: Environmental Stressors
Clearly designating areas by implementing a wayfinding system can reduce unwanted stressors allowing for a more productive work environment. The right signifier can help reinforce how the space is intended to be used. If collaboration is the intent, having a space that appears open, light, airy and approachable will help encourage conversation. Taking a chance on creating an environment that is bold, even playful in common areas may spark new ideas of conversation.
Every office needs some heads down, “get it done” time. Even in an open layout the surroundings can imply the amount of chatter from the space. In these areas minimalism, clean lines, muted colors, helps prevent peripheral distractions. If your office is too small to allow for both, perhaps consider a flexibly designed space that may engage both.