Use of wood and greenery in gourmet market design.

At Mindful Design Consulting, we are big on careful material selection, and we have more than once raved about new materials we’ve fallen in love with. The reasons go way beyond our understandable love for beautiful things and durable designs. Choosing the right materials has a lot to do not only with the beauty and uniqueness of your commercial interior, but also with the impact materials have on your branding. 

So, why should you pay attention to material selection, and how do the materials you choose influence the way your customers see you? Let us count the ways. 

Natural material selection in spa design.

Natural materials in spa design offer an immersive customer experience.

1. Establishing Brand Identity

Materials play a very important role in establishing and reinforcing a brand’s identity. For example, a high-end fashion boutique might opt for luxurious materials like marble, brass and velvet to suggest a sense of luxury and sophistication. These materials not only boost the aesthetic but also communicate exclusivity and elegance to the customers, which is an element of the brand’s image.

On the other hand, a casual dining restaurant might use warm woods and industrial metals to create a more relaxed and inviting atmosphere. These materials appeal to customers looking for a casual dining experience and reinforce the restaurant’s identity as a laid-back establishment.

Use of concrete and metal in luxurious yet casual restaurant.

A blend of metal, concrete and tactile fabric suggests a brand with luxurious, urban and casual appeal.

2. Conveying Brand Values

Materials can also be used to communicate the brand’s values and where its commitment is directed. A company that prides itself on its eco-friendly practices might use reclaimed wood, recycled glass and other sustainable materials to showcase its environmentally conscious attitude.

A tech company focused on innovation and cutting-edge technology might incorporate sleek, modern materials like glass, steel and high-tech composites to reflect its forward-thinking approach. Meanwhile, a brand that emphasizes local craftsmanship and heritage might choose locally sourced materials and traditional building techniques to highlight its dedication to community and cultural preservation. 

Wood used in ice-cream store built on historical site.

Jojo’s Creamery ice-cream shop by Mindful Design Consulting uses wood to celebrate the character of its historic location.

3. Telling a Story

Materials can be used to tell the story of a company. One that praises itself on its long history, its respect for tradition and its local ties may use elements like vintage wood, handcrafted tiles and locally sourced stone. These materials not only evoke a sense of heritage and authenticity but also create a tangible connection to the brand’s origins and values.

Every story can be told, at least partially, by the specific material selection. If behind a restaurant business lies the story of an owner enamored by a foreign culture following a fortunate trip, this can be expressed by bringing in materials that reflect that culture. For instance, the use of traditional Japanese shoji screens, tatami mats, and natural wood can evoke the serene ambiance of Japan, immersing customers in the owner’s inspirational journey and passion for Japanese aesthetics.

Similarly, a café inspired by a European vintage charm might use materials like antique tiles, wrought iron fixtures and distressed wood furniture to create an old-world feel. This material choice can convey the story of the owner’s appreciation for European history and timeless elegance. Each element can transport customers to a different time and place, making the story behind the business tangible and enhancing their overall experience.

Natural material selection such as bricks and wrought iron in old-charm restaurant design.

Material selection in rustic restaurant creates an old-world feel.

4. Creating a Memorable Experience

Materials used in a commercial space can create an emotional connection and significantly impact the customer experience. By choosing materials that are not only visually appealing but also tactile and engaging, you can create a memorable and immersive experience for customers. A hotel lobby with a plush carpet, velvet sofas and soft lighting can bring in a sense of luxury and comfort that guests will remember long after their stay.

In a retail environment, using natural materials such as wood and stone can evoke a sense of warmth and authenticity, making customers feel more connected to the products and the brand. For instance, a boutique that incorporates wooden shelving, stone floors and organic textiles can create an earthy atmosphere that resonates with customers seeking a more personalized shopping experience.

In a restaurant setting, using elements like exposed brick walls, reclaimed wood tables and artisanal ceramics can create a rustic and cozy ambiance that diners find charming and comfortable. This can encourage them to linger longer and enjoy their meals, creating positive associations with the brand.

Reclaimed wood used in bar design.

Reclaimed wood in bar design creates cozy and familiar ambiance.

5. Building Trust and Credibility

The use of high-quality materials can help build trust and credibility with customers. When clients see that the brand has invested in high-quality materials for its space, they are more likely to perceive it as reliable and trustworthy. This can be particularly important in industries where trust is paramount, such as luxury hotels, retail, healthcare or finance.

For instance, a high-end jewelry store using premium materials like polished marble floors, crystal chandeliers and custom woodwork suggests it’s serious about quality and that it cares about providing an excellent experience, which helps win over even the most discerning customers.

Hotel restaurant built with luxurious materials.

High-end materials in hotel design create a look that inspires trust.

6. Setting the Brand Apart

Material selection can help differentiate a brand from competitors. By choosing unique or innovative materials, you can create a distinct brand identity that sets you apart. More importantly, in a highly competitive market, this makes your interior and your brand memorable, which is crucial for both attracting and retaining customers.

In the hospitality industry, the use of unconventional materials like recycled glass countertops, LED-lit onyx bars, or walls adorned with living plants can create a distinctive atmosphere. This uniqueness can distinguish a hotel or restaurant from its competitors and leave a lasting impression on guests.

In the retail sector, innovative materials such as interactive digital displays, kinetic sculptures, or sustainable materials like bamboo can help convey a sense of creativity and forward-thinking, which can be appealing to customers looking for unique and unique experiences.

In the workspace, using materials that promote collaboration and creativity, such as writable walls, flexible furniture and acoustic panels, can suggestt an innovative and employee-centric company. These materials not only enhance the functionality of the space but also communicate the brand’s unique values.

Charming tiles and customized wallpaper in ice-cream parlor design.

Unique use of materials in Besties Cool Treats frozen yogurt and ice-cream shop interior design by Mindful Design Consulting.

7. Suggesting Quality and Longevity

The durability and longevity of materials can reflect positively on your brand. Using high-quality, long-lasting materials shows you are all about quality and that your customers can rely on you.

In office design, a company that values quality and longevity might invest in solid wood desks, leather executive chairs and marble or granite countertops. These materials signal sophistication and professionalism and show that the company is invested in quality work. Using high-quality materials such as polished brass fixtures, hardwood floors and stone countertops in retail design can create an upscale shopping environment and suggest that the store intends to be there for the long run.

Durable materials used in luxurious hotel interior.

Choice of materials in hotel lobby design suggests luxury and quality.

If you are thinking to open a new business or are in the process of rebranding and remodeling your existing business, contact us to get a free consultation from Mindful Design Consulting. Click HERE to price your project design.

Also, take a look at the “Branding By Interior” e-book, the only book written on this subject at this time. It brings insight into how you can turn your business into a market-dominating competitor by using human cognitive responses.

See our Small Store Design Extravaganza: Commercial Interior Design and Branding 01 book about branding small businesses from logo design to construction, with colorful images, offering insightful explanations every step of the way.

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