A little while ago, I was put in charge of styling my ad agency’s lounge. Ecstatic to have been given the opportunity, I stayed up late researching and pulling products I thought the bigwigs might like, and I even made mood boards and estimated costs. It was a blast. I must admit, though, the process was a bit nerve-racking. Having worked in ad agencies for years, I knew how important of a space this would be for my fellow employees. They were looking for a place to brainstorm, free from the pressure of clients. A place that looked great and inspired them at the same time. No pressure, Garrett!
If only I had known about the thoughtful design of NYC-based branding agency The Charles at the time. Maybe then the task wouldn’t have seemed so daunting. *Sigh* Simply put, The Charles’ look is a master class in office decoration. Guests are greeted with branding without being bludgeoned by it, the employee bar is set up so as to encourage staff to take a load off, and a focus on art means meeting rooms and offices are far from boring.
Unsurprisingly, the process of bringing The Charles to life took time and a massive amount of effort by founders and siblings Samantha and Aaron Edwards. Luckily for us, though, today you and I get to cheat a bit. The duo has generously gathered up everything they learned from putting it together and culled it down into 5 Easy Tips for Decorating Your Office. From finding ways to design without overdoing it to turning a workplace into somewhere employees actually want to be, the pair has us covered. Now if only I could figure out how to go back in time so I can use all these fabulous tips. Enjoy! —Garrett
Photography courtesy of The Charles
1. When in doubt, brand it: Creating a full experience around The Charles brand, or any other business, is crucial. As an agency, they’ve got to fight to create a visual language people will easily recognize. From the napkins on top of the office bar to the wi-fi password signs scattered throughout the space, they know how to keep the pulse of their branding going all over the office. “It’s become easy to brand nearly anything! With a stamp, run-downs of logos, and a great relationship with a printing company, any branding task is possible,” says studio coordinator Jacob Burstein.
2. Keep things seasonal. You’re in office all year long: Surprise your team with new and striking changes to your office. As the digital industry is always changing, so should the space in which you operate. One way The Charles does this is with their green wall located behind the Thirsty Heron bar. Each season they decorate the wall with flowers representing the current season. This immediately changes the colors and overall vibe of the space.
3. Design to dial into social: Be it a chair on a white wall that gives people #allthefeels or picture windows that show off sunny days in the city, create spaces in your office optimal for capturing and sharing these inspiring moments so you can snag some social shares.
4. Infuse culture into every corner: The Charles’ office lives for culture, and you can feel it the second you walk through the doors. Each space of the office has a unique vibe to it. The conference room — with its in-your-face black and white mural — provides a downtown feel for clients, and the entryway — minimal and sleek — stands out as you walk down the hall to the office.
Image above: The Charles’ founders, brother and sister duo Samantha and Aaron Edwards, pose in front of one of the space’s grand murals.
Image above: Aaron Edwards worked closely with furniture designer Kevin Michael Burns to design these “simple, natural and beautiful” desks for The Charles’ employees.
5. Allow the individual to shine: After all, any company is made up of a team of talented individuals. The Charles lets their teammates be who they are, come in as they are, and add a little personal flair to their workspaces. All hobbies, conversations, hairstyles and opinions are welcomed and encouraged. By keeping the individual important, it enables the team to work stronger together.