There are many ways to express identity. People do it every day through their clothes, accessories, hair and more, so why not also the spaces in which they live and work? Visual identity has been identified by interior design gurus as a major trend for 2019, and is a way of personalising spaces and increasing the variety of ways people express themselves.
Defining visual identity
Pam Mamourian of Home With Alexis, says that “the trend for 2019 is all about individuals gaining a sense of confidence in their own voice.” Collaborating with this idea, visual identity is making conscious architectural and interior design choices in order to promote a company or homeowner’s identity and values. It is the cues and markers seen around a home or workplace that tell a visitor something about the beliefs, likes, endorsements and possible dislikes (usually through absence) of the people inhabiting the space.
Businesses creating a consistent brand
It’s always been important for businesses to create a consistent brand and never more than now, when industries and professional relationships are built on an economy of trust. More than ever, consumers seek transparency in the companies they do business with. They want to know what the company endorses, what they tolerate and what they will stand against. There are many ways – some more subtle than others – that a company presents its values to the world. It may be in the architecture of an open plan office that promotes collaboration or a rooftop retreat and garden promoting work-life balance, rest and mental health.
As with any kind of marketing or branding, companies can sometimes give customers what they want to see, based on popular trends. For example, sustainability, environmentalism and philanthropy are hugely popular right now, making companies, both large and small, eager to promote how much they care about these topics. The reality is that they are in real danger of losing business if they don’t make some kind of effort.
While many companies make real and lasting changes that back up their visual identity seen online and in their public domains, it can also be all too easy to pot some Devil’s Ivy in the reception, place a ‘thankyou’ soap and hand lotion in the lobby bathroom and let your customer assume a far bigger social conscience than actually exists. At as little as $8 a thankyou bottle, it’s very cheap marketing. At the end of the day, without ‘looking at the books’ it’s in fact quite hard to determine at a glance how a company’s ethos plays out at a deeper level. But a venture that has spent time and effort signalling its values through, for example, the use of sustainable timber in its interior fit out and strong evidence of an energy efficient bias, is more likely to gain trust and respect than one that has not. Increasingly the same kind of signalling is being played out in the domestic and residential domain.
A home reflecting your identity and values
The wonderful thing about Sydney homes is that there is no commercial motivation so you can be completely honest and organic when it comes to styling and expression. Through both architecture and interior design, you can demonstrate your values to anyone crossing your threshold. It shouldn’t be obvious or over stated, but you can still add hints of personality and identity throughout the rooms. For example, if you prize honesty and integrity, you may favour a more open floor plan (contact us for a Sydney residential architect). If you’re really committed to protecting the environment, consider investing in your home to incorporate passive solar design. For someone renting or living in an already established house, environmentalism can also be expressed through decor made with natural fibres and indoor plants to draw nasty pollutants from the air. For someone building a house who loves music, consider the acoustics of your design and the way the sound travels – speakers in the ceiling might be just the thing?
Visual identity in many ways comes as a reaction to years of people striving to make their house reflect the pages of a magazine,. This year designers predict that we are going to see more homes that reflect a real family and a life well lived. The decorations and art should be a lifetime of collecting individual items that truly spark your imagination and creativity; this kind of decorating will be prized more highly than a collection of Instagram-ready rooms. Being surrounded by things that spark joy, reflect our values and inspire us to grow personally is a much more holistic way to view architecture and interior design.
Demonstrative design and decoration
Homes are incredibly personal and walking into one says a lot about the owner. Your identity can be expressed not only through your colour choices (rich block colours or monochromatic?) but through the types of furniture and decor items you choose. Interior decorating doesn’t have to show just one particular interest. As an example, you could easily demonstrate a love of nature, a deep fascination with history and literature, and the colour pink in one house without going over the top.
Don’t just purchase something because it’s on trend. Trends will pass. Surround yourself with items that will have lasting significance for you. A space that thoughtfully reflects your identity, ethos and values can never be cliché, boring, cookie cutter or out of style. No matter how different spaces end up looking, visual identity all starts with one common thing: you. To get started on embracing your personal visual identity, your first step might entail taking one object, big or small, of unique sentimental or ethos-driven value to you and you alone, and imagining how you might design a room around it. You’ll be surprised at how many interesting visual and conceptual associations you’ll come up with that can inform your interior.