Designing a Great Workspace Part I

Creativity, Adjustability, and Collaboration. With the constantly evolving trends, these three themes create the foundation for a great workspace. Laura and Caleigh are interior designers here at The Element Group and they sat down and shared some information about the design process.

What steps do you take when designing?


Step 1: Meet the client - This gives a sense of the personality the client that the designs are for, as well as the brand that the company stands for. Always go into the first client meeting with an understanding of who they are, through research. Learn about what could be done for them and as well as things such as past projects and missions.

Step 2: See the space - Either through photos or an onsite visit to see the space is essential. This is the time to define and understand the scope of the project, what the limitations and concerns may be, begin to explore all the available opportunities, and if needed, record measurements.

Step 3: Research + Idea gathering - Based on the client meeting and site visit, the information gathered is used to establish ideas for the space and to find photos of similar or drastically different spaces for inspiration.

Step 4: Schematic Design - This is when the formal design process starts. Using all the information gathered, one can start to scribble rough ideas and gather product images that support the ideas that are generated. When defining spaces, it is vital to start thinking about the space three dimensionally through things such as elevations and sketches. The design process continues with decisions about space size and functionality. Followed by materials, furniture, and finishes needed to ensure the look, feel and functionality the client desires. Once things are finalized, the completed design development and the construction documents are assembled in order to finally build the space

How do you determine the best color scheme for the space?


It starts with an interview to determine the desired look, feel, and approach. Their design team gets involved and talks over their branding guidelines/standards in the form of a manual. This can contain the color palette, logo and how it should be used, and specific paint colors.

Desert Financial Credit Union Layout

Usually there is an element from another branch or their logo that they want to carry over. It could could be something like walnut paneling, a specific color blue or a special carpet. Sometimes, if there is a large logo wall with video displays, one of the colors featured could be used to create a stronger brand. There is usually a neutral color prevalent through the space, and then accent colors (along with environmental graphics) are used to focus the customer’s eye on certain areas. Often the carpet is selected first and it plays a huge factor in determining the rest of the details that will be added such as the laminates, tiling and countertops. Finding a carpet that enhances and blends with some of the accent colors can provide a base for everything else.

Blue Hills Bank: Seaport


Utilizing a company's brand as the start off point and finding something else we would like to highlight is key. Using those logo style colors and brand guidelines as a key, the next step is to gather materials that complement and harmonize with the brand/logo, and find materials that will make the brand really POP. If a company has a bold logo color and style and values fun and bright graphics, the goal is to bring those colors subtly into the space so that the overall impression is not overwhelming. Balance is also key with color schemes. If there is a certain orange found in the graphics or on one side of the space, one should be bringing in that warm tone on the other side whether it is through paint, fabric color, or wood tone.

What would be 3 or 4 crucial things to keep in mind when designing a modern workspace?


  • Simplicity.  An uncluttered and sophisticated approach that emphasizes fine lines and a sleek, seamless look. A well planned space will allow extensive collaboration in addition to focused individual work. One should have more than one option in the space, this includes conference rooms with increased privacy so not to disturb the other people working, areas dedicated to individual work, and areas for the team to meet and alternatively hang out. There also should be private spaces that allow individuals to find an increased focus. Finally, there should be ample space given to an individual so they can perform their job effectively and efficiently.

Popular Community Bank Lobby Furniture: Dadeland Branch I

  • Furniture and Finishes. Furniture must be comfortable and ergonomic and both must work together to capture the feel and design of the space, be it traditional, modern, or transitional. Comfortable ergonomic furniture is something that has been stressed over and over again as it is one of the most important elements. It is crucial to have options in order to easily adapt to different body types and preferences and be welcoming and supportive of the person in it. It should be of high quality and welcoming.

  • Signage and Wayfinding. For a client, properly designed signage helps the customer identify key areas and clearly directs them around the space.

Newburyport Bank: Newburyport, Massachusetts

  • Glass. Previously, workspace design only used this delicate, yet versatile media for small window panes. Now, designers are embracing this material and are seeking to incorporate it as much as possible. Having an abundance of glass in the design improves the sleek and modern aspect of the space and boosts the moral of the people working there. Glass can be treated in a way that it can regulate heat and still provide ample light, thus reducing electrical costs.

  • To extend on that, Lighting is really important, whether it is for employees, overall illumination, or to highlight features, it should be appropriate for the task at hand.

Part II Coming Soon!


Interview written and conducted by Bryn Baldasaro for The Element Group.

Edited by Bryn Baldasaro and Dawn Rabinowitz.

Special thanks to Laura Mynahan and Caleigh Pollard.

10 Ways Your Bank Should Be Using Pinterest - Part 2

Now that you’re in the know about the best way to set up your Pinterest business account, let’s take a look at five powerful pin ideas that your bank can start using today. If you missed Part 1, catch it here.

6. Infographics

Make info visual (i.e. graphs, charts). You can even use , a selection of templates to create infographics for free. Check out the infographics board by Rich Dad Poor Dad on Pinterest for some great inspiration.

7. Checklists

Create a visual format for helpful lists. What can you create a checklist for to promote your business and help your customers? Checklists are a very popular form of content. People love lists. Link your list pin to a product of yours where they can download the checklist, and even sign up for a newsletter on the topic. A first-time home buyer’s checklist, seasonal money saving tips, or a retirement savings checklist would be great ones for your bank to offer.

8. Teaser Texts/CTA's

An image becomes so much more with a banner of text that gets their attention and gets them to click to content. Translate content into a visual snapshot for Pinterest and place a Call-to-Action (CTA) on it. For example, a picture of a kitchen sink is just that without any text, but with “7 Home Improvement Projects You Shouldn’t Ignore” added to it, people are going to take action. is a free service that allows you to seamlessly add teaser text to photos and supercharge your visual content.

9. Videos

These are very powerful on Pinterest. Many people don’t even realize that you can pin videos but it is quite easy to do so. You can pin videos directly from YouTube, which if you have your own YouTube channel is fantastic. BirchBox TV is a great example of a business that is creating value for their customers via video.

10. Effective Captions

Finally, one of the main ingredients in creating a powerful pin is to write an effective caption. Include a CTA in your caption – a verb that tells them what to do, such as “click here”, “pin this”, or “download for free.” Use keywords in your description so that you build backlinks to your site and get found better in searches like Google, Yahoo, and Bing, as well as the Pinterest search.


Pinning at the right time of day can help your business gain more visibility. Pinterest users tend to be on in the early morning and late evening, and especially early on Saturday mornings. If you’re worried about not being able to pin at the right times, then you can use Viraltag, a tool to schedule pins at optimal times.

Go to Part 1 >>
Article written by Naomi Farr for The Element Group.

10 Ways Your Bank Should Be Using Pinterest - Part 1

Pinterest is currently the fourth largest driver of traffic on the web, according to Pinterest master and successful entrepreneur Melanie Duncan. Chances are you’ve pinned a few images by now, but are you using Pinterest in an optimal way for your business? Using Pinterest to create inspiration boards for your next vacation or to collect images of all the shoes you wish you had in your closet is one thing, but using it for business is quite another and the two should be kept separate – unless of course you own a shoe boutique.

Customers are shopping on Pinterest, they’re interacting with brands, and looking for inspiration on what to buy next and where to select services. As a business you should be creating the right type of content to build your brand, increase your visibility, and actively engage your audience so that you ultimately get more sales.

First, let’s lay the foundation for best business practices on Pinterest:

1. Be Pinnable

The first step you should take is to make sure the content on your website and blog can be easily pinned to Pinterest. There are many pin-it button plugins you can find for your site, either that place a pin-it button over each image, or at the bottom of each post. This ensures it is easy for viewers to pin images and content from your website in a simple click.

2. Get A Pinterest Business Account

By creating an official business account you can take advantage of the features Pinterest is constantly rolling out new features for businesses, such as analytics for your Pinterest page. If you started a personal Pinterest account for your business you can convert into a business page.

3. Serve Your Audience

Connect and share with them.  Promote pinning by creating content that is useful to them and that they will naturally want to re-pin. 80% of pins are re-pins! This is fantastic because people are sharing naturally, and doing much of the time-consuming work for you.  What kind of pins can you, as a bank, create for your audience? How about home remodeling trends, space-saving design, infographics about home refinancing, car loans, or saving for college? See five powerful pin ideas in Part 2.

4. Promote Content Circulation

You can do this by creating your own original content. If you are simply using Pinterest to re-pin other pins you are just leading more traffic to the sites that those pins came from, not yours. Create original content with CTA’s that link pins to your opt-in email list, for example.

5. Integrate Your Social Media Efforts

Place a Pinterest tab on your Facebook page, for example, so that you can leverage your audience in multiple places.


Go to Part 2 >>
Article written by Naomi Farr for The Element Group.