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April 2009

Hello everybody!

This is our April design newsletter, where I will overview influence of YOUR business's brand design on profitability of YOUR business.

What is Mindful Design? It is taking care of your home, or your business space,
where in return your home (or business) will take care of you - your physical and mental well being.

It is also being environmentally conscious with everything around you. Are you looking to buy a new car? Take a look at celebrities "going green" in something other than a boring Prius. Keep reading and see a new Dustin Hoffman’s ride!

I also offer a customer founder’s reword this month. You will receive an INSTATNT $100 CHECK for a job YOU find for Mindful Design till the end of APRIL!!!

Truly yours, EKATERINA KOHLWES principal / designer


Part I

Have you ever thought about what kind of message your business space is sending to your clients?

Most of our services are to some degree relatively intangible, therefore their quality can be difficult to evaluate by clients and therefore building a strong brand image based exclusively on quality of service is a challenging task. Services are distributed using diverse channels such as: company retail stores, dealers, franchise locations and offices. These tangible locations become just as important to helping shape a company’s brand in the eyes of consumers as do more traditional elements such as logos, websites, and promotional materials. The feeling that a space inspires can modify the perception of the brand in an instant. The client values more a brand that distributes its services in a luxury, hi-tech environment than a discount store or poorly decorated space. Service companies are interested in the environment of their location, not only to boost the image if the company but also to increase sales and to create a pleasant environment for its workers.

Design Process

I’d like to overview a few techniques that a service company can use to enhance their brand image as well as to increase sales.

The process of design is very complex as it determines the style of the framework of a space that is intended to create a special atmosphere for the client. The creation of a favorable environment is an art which sometimes requires considerable financial investment and time; however, the end result is a valuable investment in the future of any business.

The physical atmosphere and the manner in which operations are carried out by the client-facing office staff play an important role in the creation of a company image and the ideal consumer experience for the brand image goals. The environment, in which services are marketed, highly influence the purchasing behavior by influencing and supporting the following:

1. a public message

2. advantage over competitors

3. incentives aiming to achieve the desired objectives through the use of colors, materials, sounds and olfactive effects (smell)

Ambiance dimensions

On the following chart you can see the main elements that influence a customer entering a business space on cognitive, emotional and psychological level. (This classification was influenced by Mary Jo Bitner, Marketing des services, Person Education France, 2004 and modified by Ekaterina Kohlwes, 2009.)

These are some basic behaviors that can be created by proper architectural design decisions. The main goal of a professional designer is to identify the desired custom responses for a business’s brand based on a type of service provided. For example, a Dentist’s office will have a different agenda and will not welcome a response of exploration of the space but will want to create a sense of security and comfort. Where a Lawyer’s office should give a feeling of security and stability as opposed to a feeling of excitement or fast service. These are extreme examples of different distinctions that should be considered by a designer at the very first consultation with a business owner looking at a space.


Apple Store in London keeps up with its branding by displaying a well-recognized apple in the windows of a historical building. A fine blend of modern design with history.

Well-designed sign on the front of a scruffy looking building in North Park San Diego, presents its personality and achieves desired results for the business owners.


Exterior of Your Business

The predominant pattern of many cities makes it harder to create an identifiable business on the exterior. The possibilities to personalize become limited to the main entrance and largely to the signage on the outside of the main building. Do not underestimate the importance of your business signage! A professionally made sign easily seen from a street will separate you from half of your competitors. Follow your branding style when designing the sign. It is the first item that your customers will see and make their first judgment based on.

Designing a store window, decide in advance how much activity will be useful to expose to the outside. Will it give the desired message to your clients? Or would the client feel too exposed doing business with you?

Parking lots and availability of parking is a large component in clients’ satisfaction, especially in San Diego, where public transportation is not adequate. If parking is insufficient or if the access to and from is difficult, clients may consider other more convenient options. Remember a rule, customers complain about parking to other customers more often than to those representing your business. Moreover, the working personnel may not observe the lack of parking, as, being first to arrive at work, they block the lot during all work hours.

Pay attention to the hygiene on the outside of your building. Is the walkway by your business clean? Has the building been painted within the last 5 years? Does the location of your business represent your services in a desired way?

Interior of Your Business

Interior design elements are the strongest influential aspect of any business after the exterior representation. Your interior will become your branding element if your services bring customers inside on regular bases. Did you ever think what feelings you would like to suggest to your customers as they enter your space?

Some interiors may suggest a sensation of tranquility, relaxation, for instance the interior of a Spa. You would select dimmer lighting, natural tones of materials and softer natural textures. Feelings of recuperation, relaxation and close connection to the nature can be useful for a Massage Centre. It can be decorated with numerous plants and a water feature stimulating several senses at ones.

Ambient lighting, soft natural colors and sensual images are combined together to send a message of beauty and relaxation at this Medical Spa. Designed by Mindful Design Consulting.

Other brands would prefer to suggest the possibility of entertainment, for instance movie theaters, bars, night clubs. Bright colors, busy patterns, slick shiny materials will have to be used to disturb the usual life pattern of a customer entering these facilities. Feelings of excitement, fascination and unexpected surprises will be desired and promoted by the appropriate design.



1. “Retail Store Design and Environment as Branding Support in the Services Marketing” by Tudor Nistorescu, Management & Marketing – Craiova, issue 1/2008
2. “Marketing des service”, Lovelock Ch, Wirtz J., Lapert D., Person Education France, Paris, 2004.



Not only is Dustin Hoffman's Tesla roadster attractive, the sports car also happens to be an eco-friendly electric vehicle. It's so nice to see a celeb "going green" in the sports car of the future!

Tesla Motors moved into commercial production with the Tesla Roadster, an all-electric sports car. So far, more than 900 people have bought the car, including Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, George Clooney, Dustin Hoffman, and Arnold Schwarzeneggar. The Roadster costs $98,000. But for that you get a two-seater car that goes zero to 60 miles per hour in just under four seconds. The company has dealerships in Los Angeles and Northern California.





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