Office Theme: Innovation


This office full of developers in San Francisco expanded from the first floor to the third floor of a vintage downtown building. The company had a desire to create a unique work environment — one that would help them attract the right talent. The initial focus was on the building’s historical ownership by a chocolate company, but ultimately, the chosen theme centered around the office’s mission of innovation — highlighting inventors and their work. Using patent drawings, inventor silhouettes and imagery, a unique, yet sophisticated workspace was created.

Tricia Macmanus, concepts, creative direction, graphic design    J 12 Designs, graphic design    Cold Fire Signs, print & installation

CLIENT CONSULTATION: During initial discovery with the client team, they were open to ideas, but wanted to focus on the mission of the office – innovation. The client was cautioned that this was not necessarily an original theme as it had been viewed in other technology organizations as well as schools. This did not dissuade the client, so it was off to make a more original version of the innovation/inventor theme.

BRAINSTORMING: Research revealed that the building was originally occupied by a chocolate company, one that had multiple locations throughout downtown San Francisco. Playing off of the chocolate manufacturing process, the first concept included naming meeting rooms for pieces of machinery utilized in the making of chocolate. Schematic drawings of these very old machines served as the basis for artwork to be placed on the exterior walls of the meeting rooms. The schematic drawings inspired a second concept — one more directly connected to innovation.

Innovators/inventors throughout history were researched, with special attention to any one inventor who contributed to the field of computer science or math, as to relate that much more to the application development work going on in this office. After much research, a list of inventor names and most significant contributions was compiled and presented to the client team so they could select those of greatest interest. With a graphic focus on patent drawings tied to the inventors, we began creating the designs for each room. In addition to meeting rooms, a breakroom/kitchen area was to be named. Some additional digging revealed a most interesting tidbit about Thomas Edison, Henry Ford and Harvey Firestone — all inventors and/or innovators in their own right. Known as “The Vagabonds”, these three gentlemen went on lengthy camping trips in the eastern US — trips that included regular stops at Grove Park Inn in North Carolina. The name for the breakroom/kitchen area became, of course, Grove Park Inn.