Creating a Set of Standards – It’s Not the End of Design

ID Collaborative blog post

Some may think that creating a set of standard finishes to be used throughout your facility promotes a somewhat boring palette and lack of design need. This however, is not the case at all. In instances where we work with large facilities, it can definitely be in the client’s interest to take the time up front to create a package of finishes to pull from when designing each phase of the project. This allows you to:

1. Create a cohesive look that advances your brand
2. Choose products that are easy to maintain and hold up to your standards
3. Create a long range plan that allows you to spread the project out over a period of time to allow for long-term budgeting

Creating a cohesive look:

You may choose to incorporate your logo colors as accents in the wall and flooring finishes, or prefer the look of a particular desk detail that you want repeated in each facility. For instance, in a corporate setting we may create a tile detail that displays your logo in every lobby of each location so that when your client walks through the front door, they see a permanent fixture that reinforces your brand and tells them that you are a company that plans to be here for them now and in the future. Or perhaps your brand’s accent colors are repeated in subliminal details around your space – accent paint detail on a soffit that is then repeated in the artwork and again down the hall in your upholstery fabrics. This color is picked up several times as a client experiences your space, which creates an imprint in their mind of your brand. In a healthcare setting, you may have a different type of material that is incorporated into your desk and nurse station designs, such as a distinctive 3form pattern or metal detail. This creates a look that is specific to you, and while the overall layout of the desks may change per the need of that space, the materials stay the same and reinforce your overall look.

Choose products that hold up to your standards:

A designer’s vast library of finish selections can be overwhelming at first, but give you the opportunity to select specific products that meet your needs and hold up to the test of time. By meeting with the professionals and discussing how products perform and function in different settings, you’re educating yourself on what will serve you best in the long run. If you have high volume traffic, you need to consider more durable and cleanable products than a low-key facility that only sees a few clients per day or week. Many vendors will even set up test areas in your own space to let you try out different products and see how they perform over a period of a month or so. This gives you a test drive on performance, function, and overall look before committing to purchase a particular finish for your entire facility. Reps for these products will even come out to your facility and teach your maintenance crew how to properly maintain products so that they continue to look wonderful throughout their life cycle.

Create a long range plan:

So you’re ready to renovate your space, but find out that the look you want and the budget you set aren’t even close to the same thing! This is where creating a long range plan or phasing a project comes in handy. You may be inclined to select inferior finishes with a similar look just to meet your initial budget figures, but unfortunately you’ll later regret this decision in a year or two when the selections don’t withstand the use and abuse of your typical workday. Instead, creating a standard finish package allows you to get budget pricing on all of the materials that might be used throughout your space. This allows your designer, architect, and contractors to give you a quick turnaround on budget for each new phase of a project which in turn allows you to plan for the future and create a space that you proud of, and that works for you in return.

Creating standards doesn’t mean that your design becomes repetitive and stagnant. It mainly allows you to have a jumping off point to start from, that you all agree on, and skip that overwhelming first step of looking through so many options it makes your head spin. Designs and patterns tend to tweak and change with the needs of each phase and can still provide a distinctive look for each space while keeping your brands original design intent intact. Once you’ve worked with your designer to choose the finish selections that are right for you, and created a set of standards, you ensure that no matter when you begin a renovation project or new phase of design, the space will maintain your desired overall look and function!