Featuring four floors and more than 30 conference rooms, our new homebase is a lot bigger than our previous office. One of the most fun challenges we faced when designing the new building was navigation: How could we organize floors and conference rooms thematically, so that anyone on the team would be able to recognize at a glance what floor their next meeting is on? Like so many things at Simple, the solution was Creative.
Each floor at Simple’s new homebase represents an elemental process (Sea is the first floor, Earth is second, Sky third, Space is the top floor of the building). Once we settled up on the idea of the sea-to-space theme, our creative team went to work brainstorming conference room names and iconography that could be easily associated with each floor. Now we have meetings in rooms with names like Plankton, Juniper, Pygmy Owl and Little Dipper.
We cornered the creatives who came up with conference room concept and asked them to share their favorite (and least favorite) places to meet around Simple’s homebase.
“I wanted all the names to be surprising, memorable, faithful to the floor theme, and to relate to the physical size of the room (at least a little bit),” says copywriter Nicholas C. “Runaway Kite is my number one favorite room, because it’s way more whimsical than a conference room name has any right to be.”
“Understory is another favorite because it was a new word to me,” says Nicholas. “It’s the collective term for all the plants that live and grow together under the tree canopy in a forest. I think that’s a lovely notion for a training room.”
“It was really fun coming up with all the names, and I feel like we could’ve kept generating them once we hit our stride,” says designer Jeff W, whose favorite rooms include Marianas (on the Sea floor), Nimbus (in Sky), and Aurora (up in Space).
“Getting a bunch of smart, goofy people into a room and telling them to come up with nouns representing small things in the sky is bound to be ridiculous and fun,” says brand designer Talia E. “The biggest challenge was brainstorming name options by size to make sure we weren’t mis-representing the size of the room… We didn’t want to name a three-person conference room ‘Atlantis.’”
“Things like ‘Space Ice Cream’ and ‘Thistle’ worked for the smaller rooms,” she says. “All the small ones are my favorite, I think I just like tiny things.”
Giving so many rooms thematic names wasn’t easy. And the team wasn’t always in agreement. Creative director Ian C’s favorite room is ‘Honey Fungus.’ He enjoyed the sound of it; the rest of the team did not.
While the others are quick to say the name makes them queasy, Ian says, “I like how it sounds! It’s also the world’s largest living organism, and it’s right here in Oregon. I like that it’s a lesser-known point of local pride.”
Of all the conference room names the team decided upon, one stood out as a top pick: Water Bear. This micro-animal may not be as cute as it sounds, but after receiving Jeff’s design treatment, Water Bear become a fast favorite for the team.
“It’s another name for a tardigrade, the most resilient life form on the planet, but the illustration makes me love it,” says Nicholas. “Where’s that bear going snorkeling? Cabo? HOW DID IT EVEN PUT ON A SNORKEL?”
One could argue that designing thematic conference room names and fun iconography is unnecessary to the operation of a banking technology company. But one of our core values at Simple is Craft, and here at our new homebase, that manifests itself everywhere from the Sea floor to Space.
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