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What the Digital Age Means for Workplace Design

As websites, social media channels and TV shows elevate people’s interest in and knowledge about design, how are professional design firms navigating their clients’ changing expectations and demonstrating their value?

The new issue of HOK Forward: Design in the Digital Age suggests ways designers can leverage their education and experience to incorporate these fresh perspectives while guiding organizations through a more formal, rigorous design process that creates exceptional workplace experiences.

“All designers have noticed the public’s heightened awareness about what we do,” said Tom Polucci, HOK’s director of interiors. “HOK Forward gave our designers an opportunity to explore this trend from several different angles and determine how to embrace it to design even better environments for our clients. Using this knowledge to create truly authentic workplace experiences will be more important than ever in the wake of COVID-19.”

HOK’s designers explore six topics:

  • Aesthetics: What’s the big idea? This chapter describes the importance of sidestepping trends in favor of following an influence-agnostic approach that creates lasting, memorable experiences.
  • Influencers: Christine Vandover writes about the risks of letting influencers shape a team’s design approach and describes how the coronavirus is already transforming the influencer culture.
  • Stylization: Caitlin Turner and Kristina Kamenar  describe how stylization, when done right, can lead to “a return to joy.”
  • Globalization: Globalization has made the world more connected. But Enrico Caruso and Julia Cooper argue that it doesn’t mean all workplaces should look the same.
  • Experience: What’s the anatomy of a truly authentic experience? Peter Sloan and Bethany Foss conducted a survey and crystallized the data to provide lessons for all workplace designers.
  • Personalization: Mike Goetz tackles personalization: what it means and how designers can facilitate the desires of people to customize their spaces within company standards.


Photo above by Tom Rossiter

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