It is a common mistake when designing for a new commercial space to overlook the design of the exterior of your building. Focusing on updating your office space to fit your growing needs or improving your store layout to better attract customers is definitely important, but overlooking your building’s exterior aesthetic could be a big mistake. The old adage of “first impression” should always be top of mind with any new construction or remolding effort.
If you have taken a drive down Route 81 or I-690 passing the city of Syracuse in the past year, you will see a variety of buildings touting eye-catching designs. In an attempt to be noticed, companies and organizations across Downtown Syracuse are jumping at the opportunity to better display their buildings and brands. To stand out from the crowd, buildings are displaying bright colors, lighted signage, and trendy materials.
How Important is Exterior Design?
With the right exterior design you can increase the visibility of your commercial space, attracting new customers and improving perception of your brand. The outside of your building is your chance to capture a viewer’s attention to want to see and learn more. Your building’s first impression can convey to your audience everything from who you are, to what you offer, and how you differentiate yourself within your industry.
With so much potential in a building facade, how do you ensure that your commercial exterior design conveys the right message? First, it should convey a unified message by complementing both your space’s interior design and your company branding. Second, it should be aesthetically pleasing and balanced with its surroundings. Third, the facade should be functional, working both to connect the indoors to the outdoors and to respond to the physical environment in an energy responsible way.
While the possibilities for improvement are many, here are 4 tips for improving your commercial exterior design that are often overlooked:
Tip 1: Add Intentional Signage
If you want potential customers to find your business more quickly and easily, then you need the right signage. Visibility serves as the most basic, yet vital, sales tactic for your business. The right exterior signs can not only help draw in customers, but also help differentiate you from your competitors.
Here are a few statistics to keep in mind:
- Roadway Signs: Nearly 76% of consumers admit to entering a store or business based on its signage (see this example from FedEx). Most often, this is due to a well-placed sign near a major road or highway that potential customers can see on their way to wherever they are going. With the right signage, you can create both curiosity and interest.
- Way-Finding Signs: It is frustrating when you don’t know how to find your way around a property. This creates a bad impression and deters visitors from visiting your property. 60% of consumers say that the absence of signs will deter them from entering. Clear signage, both inside and outside of buildings, can drastically improve your visitors’ experience. Think of your customers’ experience from their approach to the building to their final destination within the building.
Tip 2: Appropriate Lighting
The impact of using appropriate lighting on both the interior and exterior should never be underestimated. There are many effects of lighting to consider for your building. Here are just a few:
- Interior Lights: There is no set rule to the correct interior lighting because the use of each space can be so different. However, you do want to make sure that the lighting aids in the use of the space and enhances the interior and exterior aesthetic. Be sure to consider not only what the lights look like from the inside, but what the interior lights look like while viewing from the exterior.
- Exterior Lights: Well-spaced and attractive exterior lighting can add to the attractiveness of a building’s design while improving both visual and physical safety. Lighting can be directed at the ground, building, or other designed elements, but should not be directed in a way that would impede someone’s vision. You should decide if you want the lighting fixtures to be a prominent part of the design or if you want the lights simply to take a back seat, allowing other features of the building’s façade to be noticed.
Tip 3: Roof Access
Your commercial roof does not just have to be your first line of defense against rain, wind, snow, and extreme heat. Transform it into a usable outdoor space that gives your employees and customers a small private space in the midst of the city. There is a reason why many companies have added rooftop gardens to their commercial businesses.
A rooftop garden or green space can enhance the competitive advantage of your business by adding curb appeal, turning your building into a landmark and adding a fully functional space where clients, employees, and customers can congregate for meetings and more. Rooftop gardens can even help you cut the heat loss from your building by as much as 50%, reducing air conditioning cost by 25%.
Tip 4: Include Indoor/Outdoor Community Areas
Improving your property’s landscape does not only add aesthetic value, but it can also enhance your property’s usefulness. A functional indoor/outdoor space for your employees can be a great investment that not only increases employee retention, but also improves the mental and physical health of your business. In fact, spending as little as 20 minutes outside each day can improve memory, reduce stress, and encourage team building and social interaction.
Adding a simple lounge or meeting area that can open to the outside of your building can be a great way to give your employees a breath of fresh air. It can be used as a place to eat lunch, hold meetings, or to help employees get their creative juices flowing. Researchers at Steelcase studying wellbeing discovered that the presence of nature positively influenced workers and created a healthier workplace.
The façade of your commercial building is just as important as your interior. By taking special consideration of not only the aesthetically pleasing but functional aspects of your building’s exterior, you’ll discover that it’s a simple matter to improve both employee and customer satisfaction, as well as the visibility, perception, and image of your brand.
Learn More about VIP Structures
VIP Structures is a design-build firm in Syracuse, NY. Questions about an upcoming development project or want to talk to one of our talented architects or engineers about your needs?