Creative Office Branding

How Creative Office Branding Can Positively Impact Employee Engagement

Published on: May 14, 2019

Employee engagement is rising across the United States, according to Gallup reports. We’re up to 34% according to the most recent report. But while that represents a significant 8 million workers who are now highly engaged in their work, we still have a lot of opportunity to grow. Engagement may seem like a nebulous concept, but it corresponds to higher productivity, lower retention costs, and a significantly higher profit margin for companies who get it right.

Employers can do a lot more to improve engagement among the middle 53% of workers who are moderately pleased with their jobs but tend to just go through the motions in the office. To reach them, and to inspire all of the new hires coming through your doors, you need to get creative.

Creative office branding is one of the most important ways you can help improve engagement in the workplace. It’s time to go beyond just big logos in the front lobby. By investing in a unique office environment that really reflects your company’s values, you have the opportunity to align both new and existing employees with your internal brand message.

Wherever you create alignment, you’re going to create engagement.       

Why Office Branding Matters to Your Employees

Put yourself in the shoes of a brand new hire at your company. On that first day, and every day after, they’re walking in with important expectations. They want to be proud of the company they’ve chosen to work for. They want to feel welcome, interested, and motivated in this new work environment. And, most of all, they want to feel like they belong.

With environmental branding, you have the power to create those feelings from the moment an employee sets foot in the office.

At face value, a visually interesting environment makes your office an appealing place to be. But environmental graphics and architectural signage also set the tone for what kind of workplace your employees experience. A thoughtfully designed environment helps your team feel like they’re participating in something new, unique, and exciting by coming to work for your company.  

We all need work environments that are stimulating, inspiring, and engaging, yet relatively few companies deliver on this front. By investing in creative office branding, you’re proving that you value your employees as people—not just as cogs in a corporate machine.

One Design Project, Five Creative Office Branding Ideas

Creative Office Branding

For a stunning example of the power of creative office branding, check out the Atlassian office in Austin, TX. Every company focuses on their own culture when starting a new environmental branding campaign. But Atlassian took things a step further.

To make their enterprise software company feel more personal, Atlassian brought some serious local flair into each of their new locations. This strategy aligned employees with their company culture and, in turn, aligned their company to the local culture. They wanted to instill pride in their employees and make each corporate office feel entirely unique.

The office branding campaign took plenty of inspiration from the local culture of Atlassian’s new Austin home. The creative mix of graphic elements includes:

The “Art Charlie”

“Charlie” is the affectionate name given to Atlassian’s corporate logo. The Austin office includes a canvas “Charlie” that can be easily removed from the wall and given to a series of local artists to paint however they wish. The “Art Charlie” hangs proudly, showing Atlassian’s support for the highly-valued local arts scene in their new home. Especially in an artsy city like Austin, custom art always beats out commercial.

The Custom Bike ID

Downtown Austin is chock full of bicyclists. Atlassian responded to this local lifestyle with a unique method for bike storage identification—a massive sign made from a bicycle seat and handlebars. Even better, the sign gives a clear nod to the longhorn mascot of a certain beloved local university.

Creative Office Branding

The “Look What I Found” Shelf

Many of Atlassian’s Austin employees spend time abroad. They tend to collect colorful tchotchkes from destinations all over the world and display them prominently around the office. The new environmental branding campaign included an open wall display anchored with the words “Look What I Found” and surrounded by plenty of shelf space for employees to showcase their finds.

Creative Office Branding

The T-Shirt Wall

If you’re looking to decorate a huge wall space with very little cash, set up an Atlassian-style t-shirt wall. With a proud logo in the center and space for over 100 framed shirts, this wall quickly filled up with “free” artwork and enshrined Atlassian’s custom t-shirt culture. Keep Austin Weird, indeed.

The Marquee Message Board

When employees and visitors first step off the elevator into Atlassian territory, they’re greeted with a prominent marquee message board. Inspired by Austin’s love affair with music venues and marquees, leadership uses this space to share fresh announcements and welcome new employees and guests. It’s a dynamic, ever-changing display everyone is bound to notice.

Creative Office Branding

These graphic and design elements produced an office environment that’s perfectly in line with the casual feel employees would expect from a major tech player in Texas’ most unique city. Atlassian employees now have a spirited, personalized workspace atmosphere that makes coming to work even more fun.

Investing in Quality Environmental Branding

Creative Office Branding

Atlassian is one company that uses creative office branding to its full potential. You can create the same magic in your company by investing in high-quality environmental branding—and by partnering with a firm who has the design chops and creative spirit to keep up with your company’s vision.

The success of a creative office branding campaign depends on how involved your partners are willing to be. In the case of Atlassian, designers went to Austin directly to hang out for a week, absorb the local culture, and interview stakeholders. This effort resulted in a stellar environmental graphics project that perfectly married corporate and community culture, and further expanded to other offices.

Get an environmental graphics firm who can do the same, and you’ll be well on your way toward improving employee engagement with your corporate environment.


GNU Group is the creative team behind Atlassian’s environmental branding efforts in Austin—as well as their subsequent offices in Amsterdam and the San Francisco Bay Area. We’re passionate about designing and implementing creative office branding campaigns that excite employees and employers alike. Connect with our team to get started on your own branding adventure.