Interior Design Anarchy

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    Hello, all. Here’s a marketing question I’ve not yet seen posed on the listserv. Not sure we usually deal with facility image, but it’s definitely part of a student’s experience/perception, so here goes:

    Do you have campus policy or guidelines on interior design/decoration of common areas (reception areas, public gathering areas, hallways, offices frequented by students/the public)?

    In this age of Pinterest, sometimes it’s been a….surprise?….when one finds a portion of the facility fairly exploding with interior-design creativity that might not exactly align with the college’s mission, purpose or general aesthetic. Today was the fourth instance this year there’s been grumbling, except this time, a faculty member was asking me if I could do or say something to the campus at large (!).

    I think the best (and safest) step for now is research. So I start by asking all of you smart people:

    What, if anything, does your college do to maintain a cohesive image throughout your facilities? Do your institutions put limits on the amount of personal “flair” one can express in their work areas (or even their own offices)? Is it “anything goes” in one’s office, but public spaces are off limits? Is there a process or system of approval when one wants to alter the appearance of shared space? Do you blame it all on the fire marshal? (Just kidding on that last one. Or am I? Hmm.)

    If you have policy, guidelines, approaches to share….anything would be zen.

    Thanks in advance for your help. Yours in marketing,



    Hi Sarah! I think one safe way to promote this would be to create an Identity Guide around your brand and take time within that to explain what a “brand” is…i.e. from building presentation to office contents to logos. We had a similar issue with employees using personal pictures to attach to their College email profile picture. So, you may have someone’s dog in their picture spot when they e-mail you. So, I actually organized a photoshoot for all employees to get a professional headshot so they “can use it for your e-mail profile picture.” That way, I wasn’t telling them to change the picture, but I was gently instructing them to use this professional picture in that place. I also instructed them on how to change the picture…which makes me think…what if you got an official paint swatch card that matches your brand. I know Sherwin Williams can do something like that. Just beware that it may lead to all employees wanting to get their office painted…

    Another idea, create a contest for employees to brand their offices to match the College…

    Good luck!


    Thanks, Sara, for sharing your ideas on the paint swatch and the professional headshots. Very helpful!

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