Designing a workspace that's reflective of a startup brand isn't easy, but we came up with our top tips to keep your business afloat (at least in terms of design). After all, who better to design your startup than a startup like us?
Startup has come to mean more than a type of office, it has become a culture and a way of subverting traditional forms of business. And an essential part of any office culture, one that should not be overlooked, is the design. At Homepolish, we’ve created more than a few startup office spaces (brushes collective shoulders), so we thought we’d clue you in on how we go about making creative and flexible design for companies, tapping our Lead Commercial Designer Shelly Lynch-Sparks for her expert input.
Stay on Budget
As soon as Homepolish signs on to work with a startup company, we work to efficiently design your office. We understand that budgeting applies to not just expenses but also time. As Shelly says, “When someone signs a lease, they usually only get a month of free rent. The clock is immediately ticking for designing a finalized space before a company starts losing money.” And the beautiful thing is that Homepolish doesn’t need exorbitant spending room to get the job done. Whether the design budget is a couple thousand dollars or half a million, we strive to make the most of every dollar.
Make Workspaces Flexible
Shelly takes us through a quick history of office spaces: “Let’s go back to the 50s when everyone was stationed in a cubicle or sat at a desk, hunched over, well… I guess a typewriter. Employees were stationed in one place all day long. This idea of the stationary worker has stuck with us until the early 2000s. The human body is built to move around; it’s unhealthy for it to sit down for eight hours.” In addition to working within the traditional parameters of the workstation, Homepolish designs collaborative spaces, breakout areas, standing desks… you name it! Employees should have the agency to move around and craft their own work day.
This accomplishes multiple goals. First, it eases the stress of longer startup hours. Second, movement allows collaboration to flourish. Finally, flexible design makes it easy to adapt a space for a growing number of employees and make it scalable if your office has to move spaces.
Use Your Office to Recruit Top Talent
A well-designed space, whether it’s an office or otherwise, immediately attracts people. As Shelly says, this is a problem for many startups: “A lot of companies are struggling with making design that translates to recruitment and retention rate. Culture, and therefore the design, of a company is essential for attracting young talent.”
So how does Homepolish tackle this issue? Weave your company brand organically throughout the space. Brand language can be communicated through art as with our work for BarkBox or custom wallpaper as with the VHX offices. Design done right can communicate a sense of community, collaboration, and transparency.
Get insanely creative
Or maybe we should rephrase that to artistic. From vintage movie posters, incredible murals, intricate graphic pops, beautiful wallcoverings, or straight-up allowing employees to draw on the walls, Homepolish embraces the stimulating power of art. This ties into the earlier points of brand identity as well as individual agency. Would you just look at our redesign of the Nylon Magazine offices? It was a tag team effort by Homepolish’s Shelly and Andrea Perez, and the duo flew in an LA-based graffiti artist for the custom mural. Daring choices such as these make workplaces more enjoyable for employees as well as prospective clients.
Keep it fun
And lastly, an unforgettable and important part of startup office design is to KEEP IT FUN. (Full disclosure: that’s also a Homepolish core value.) Like the NYC Path Interactive office, everyone wants to have that pingpong table or snack bar in their office. But Shelly is quick to note, “You have to bridge a space between the traditional workspace and a fraternity house. Think elevated fun.”
So just keep keeping on, growing your startup. Hire Homepolish to take care of the design side of things.