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The Art of the Office

The Art of the Office: Redesigning the IPS Conference Room

Posted by Tom Evans on July 27, 2021

As Covid has moved people away from face-to-face meetings and towards the conference call, we decided that our Conference Room needed jazzing up with a new feature wall. Here’s the story of how we performed that jazz.


Origins

IPS offers conference calls to all our customers, using Zoom, Teams and other platforms, allowing us to directly communicate with them no matter where they are in the world. Due to the pandemic, these calls have never been more frequent. The view from our webcam was dominated by a blank white wall though and we did wonder if it looked boring. So we decided to liven things up.

The original plan was to stick a framed picture of our logo up, possibly with some form of fancy background. The issue is that to be properly noticeable on camera, the logo would’ve had to be so big that we might as well have done an image that covered the entire wall.

So we did that instead.

The Art of the Office: Redesigning the IPS Conference Room IPS Ceramics
IPS’ original Conference Room Wall, as seen from our webcam


Ideas

When first developing the design, we had two ideas. 1) IPS Ceramics has a long history within the Potteries (aka Stoke-on-Trent, UK) so we should pay tribute to that by using the traditional imagery of the area. 2) IPS Ceramics is currently working with several technological industries such as the EV Battery industry, placing us at the forefront of modern technology, so let’s do something hyper-modern to reflect that.

You’ll have noticed that these ideas are pulling in completely different directions: literally “let’s do something old fashioned, but modern”. Luckily, direct contrasts are usually good things to have in art – they grab the attention and make you think. Given this, we decided to embrace the duality. But how do you make something which harks back to the old traditions in a new, modern way?

The Art of the Office: Redesigning the IPS Conference Room IPS CeramicsOur mood board collecting images of the Potteries

Design

The good news is that when you look at traditional representations of the Potteries, you quickly notice its very distinctive set of iconography: bottle kilns, factory chimneys, terraced housing, and great plumes of smoke. Most importantly, these things all have very identifiable silhouettes. Meanwhile, the big trend in modern design right now is simplicity: large shapes and clean curves filled with relatively muted gradients. The two fitted together – a style that relied upon large flat shapes, iconography so easily recognizable that it could be reduced to a series of large flat shapes.

Putting this in action, Thomas Evans, our Marketing Executive, produced a scene of the Potteries skyline in a modern style, designing it so that it would fit within the boundaries of the conference room wall. Now we just had to get the design off his computer and on the wall itself.

The Art of the Office: Redesigning the IPS Conference Room IPS CeramicsIPS’ Design for our new Conference Room Wall


Print

The easiest way of realizing the design (from our perspective) was to get it printed as a polymeric vinyl and attached to the wall by professionals. For the printing and installation, we went to Sherwin Rivers, a local company that specializes in custom printing a wide range of products.

Sherwin Rivers were fantastic to work with. They put up with all our questions and enquiries, printed the wall very efficiently and installed it themselves in just over two hours, excelling themselves at all points. Apparently blue is a difficult colour to keep consistent when printing something on this big a scale. You wouldn’t know this by looking at the finished product – the colours came out perfectly, despite being 70% different shades of blue.

Our finished Conference Room Wall (left); Thomas Evans with his creation (right)


Conclusions

We’re incredibly proud of how the wall has come out. It adds a lot of personality to the room while bringing everything in it together, provides a visual ice breaker, and solidifies our image as a sleek and modern company at the heart of a storied, world-leading industry.

Thanks again to Sherwin Rivers for the work they did on the project. To see the wall in action, organize a conference call with us and our ceramic experts. We look forward to seeing you soon.