While I’m on vacation this week the blog posts will feature a picture-a-day from my publishing past.

As graphic designers we’re sensitive not only to the designs of our works-in-progress, but also to the environment in which we’re working. The office space that Adams Media moved to in the early 2000s was a blank slate. When an office redesign made the budget one year, a few of us from each department were appointed to a Decorating Committee. A few months earlier, the art director and I had gone on a studio tour at the Atlanta HOW Design Conference, and were inspired by some of the simple yet impactful design solutions in the offices we visited:

  • Walls of neutral colors balanced by walls of bright colors
  • Simple shapes incorporated in the design scheme
  • The clean, modern lines of IKEA furniture
  • Creative wall hangings
  • Employee-generated art work

Luckily, an IKEA had opened in the next town over prior to the office redesign. In our “down” time, we sent each other pictures of offices we liked, links to furniture we hoped to acquire, and colors we thought would be good for our color scheme. Trips to IKEA led to office-furniture-building parties. Here are some before-and-afters. It’s been about four years since redecorating and it’s held up well.

The entryway.

The clocks on the right represent the four time zones of F+W Media. We never did erase the pencil line we used to line up the letters of “Adams Media”. The letters are plastic and were surprisingly inexpensive.

The main hallway.

Squares became a unifying shape throughout the office, from the colored squares of carpet to the square shades of new lamps to square frames that held new artwork. Eventually we bought about 100 clear square frames, filled them with pictures from our employee’s off hours and stock art photography, and lined them up along this hallway.

A working area.

Another simple block of color makes a stimulating corner.

The “cafe”.

(There’s no before picture.) The wall hangings are curtains and bamboo blinds. We poked the hanging light cords thru the drop-down ceiling grid and laid the cords on top of the ceiling so that they all joined at the wall where there was an outlet. The positioning of the hangings are based on the one that hides that cord. That was a dusty day but we like the fact that there’s a room with soft lighting.

We were delighted to discover that within the span of a summer, and with our time constraints and budget, we were able create a space that felt more like “us”.