How To

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How To Use Graphic Design To Improve Office Culture

When it comes to improving office culture, we all know the big guns – a great meal plan, fun team outings, smart office décor, and cool perks. But what about the small, day-to-day ways to create a sense of belonging among your team?

Cue the graphic designers: those creative beings who are known for pointing out bad font usage, yelling at you for using a pixelated image, and being extremely particular about the type of pen they use. Their super power lies in the fact that they can create work of any scale that can delight, inform, motivate, inspire, and teach. From a tiny sticker to a huge poster, graphic design has the power to bring people together, foster a sense of belonging, and help boost office culture. Check out our favourite office design ‘perks’ your team will love:

Desktop Wallpaper

Desktop wallpaper

Those stunning MAC desktop backgrounds are hard to beat, but what about designing equally beautiful wallpapers using inspiring imagery that represents your brand’s core values? You can also incorporate your brand’s fonts by adding inspirational quotes, reminders to stretch, take breaks, or move toward your team’s (or company’s) next milestone. Keep your eyes on the prize, literally.

Office Signs

Desk sign

Branding plays a big role in a company’s culture, so why not apply it to signs around the office and bring a sense of humour to everyday situations? Some people need to really focus when they are working, particularly in modern, open-concept offices. Designing a fun desk sign your coworkers can put up next to their computers when they need to be ‘in the zone’ is a great place to start. Use cute graphics to add humour, and apply the same approach to reminder signs around the office (we’re all guilty of leaving dishes in the sink!), or even create clever name tags for your boardrooms.

Cute Stickers

Laptop Stickers

Let’s admit it, stickers are awesome! Everybody loves them when they’re beautiful, relevant, and funny. They’re an easy, budget-friendly way to let everyone feel like they’re part of the team and proudly flash the squad stamp. Stickers have a ton of versatility in terms of materials, shapes and sizes. Whether they’re just your company’s brilliant logo, slogan, in-house lingo, or inside joke, these labels can live happily on laptops, water bottles, phone cases, or stationery. Stick with this idea, we promise the team will love them!

Wall Posters

Wallposters in office

Wall décor can really enhance a room and impact how people feel in an office space. Motivate and inspire your team by designing a series of posters based on quotes that resonate with your company’s values. You can even get your team to submit ideas, or interview your leaders for some words of wisdom. Your team will have a visual reminder of why they love working there and what they aim to achieve. Unity in emotional and mental states is a powerful thing that strengthens teams. Bonus: add a pop of colour and a modern feel through a marriage of bold type and colour blocks.

Notecards

Custom branded notecards

Handwriting is one of the most personal ways of communicating. To encourage people to take a much needed break from all things digital, design your own in-house branded notecards. On the front, you can keep it simple and use your company’s logo, or imagery relevant to your brand. Leave the back blank for personal messages to thank a teammate, give compliments for a job well done, or to simply say hi to someone working on a different floor (extra humour points: include a return address with the floor you’re on). Not to mention these notecards can also be used for external communication with clients!

Swag

Canvas bag with company logo an slogan

Surprise your team with branded swag they can use in their day to day life in and outside of the office. Think: reusable water bottles, tote bags, gym bags, apparel and stationery. A graphic designer will know just the right amount of branding these various items need in order to remain stylish, so your team will love wearing them and showing them off. Swag will not only make your team feel appreciated and celebrated, but will contribute to great office culture. It’s always a good idea to include the team in the design process of these items and get their feedback to make sure they align with everyone’s style.

Feeling inspired? Chat with your design team and find out what ideas they might have to help boost your office culture! Truth be told, these small ways really do help create the bigger picture of a great company culture. Think of each piece of branded office design as if they were words, combining to form a language. This shared ‘language’ is what ultimately bonds a team and turns it into an unstoppable, motivated, and genuinely connected powerhouse!

If you haven’t yet, take a look at our tips on desk décor for more inspiration on how to use design, colour and techniques to make your day as productive as can be.

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How To Host The Happiest of Office Happy Hours

Summer is commonly known as Post-Work Drink Season, Patio Season, Leave-The-Office-Early Season, but here at Platterz, we call it Happy Season. What happens during Happy Season you might ask? For starters, they key is narrowing it down to an hour. That peak hour between 4:00pm-5:00pm on a Friday in August: one of—if not the most—happiest hours of the week. The team is preparing to head out of the office for the weekend, and people are starting to wind down after a week of hard work. We can’t think of a better way to kick off the anticipated weekend than with an office happy hour! Here are a few tools to help you plan the joyous occasion—that is, a Friday afternoon.

First things first: mark your calendars.  

 

calendar

It goes without saying that no one wants to have meetings late on a Friday afternoon. Just incase, it’s important to have this hour booked in your team’s calendar well in advance. If you’re looking to get creative, try out Canva, the super easy, super FREE web program that allows you to customize invitations. The best way to entice coworkers to attend (aside from the beverages and great company) is to make the invite clear, concise and most importantly, catchy.

Get mixing.   

Coworkers drinking at cocktail party

Before you get to mixing the cocktails, it’s key that everyone in the office gets to mix and mingle with one another. This is, in fact, what Platterz preaches every single day. To ensure that all employees are chatting not just amongst their respective teams, but with all of their coworkers, introduce a few interactive games and/or activities. Have you ever heard of Two Truths and a Lie? Try these conversation starters to help break the ice, or liven things up with old-school Music Bingo. There are so many ways to bring everyone together to collaborate, compete and communicate.

When hunger strikes, opt for light bites.  

cheese platter

4pm hits and the late-afternoon cravings kick in. The problem? You don’t want to spoil yours or anyone’s appetite for dinner. The solution? Plan ahead with a few bite-sized snacks and appetizers for your whole office to enjoy. For the elevated audience, pair wine with a cheese platter and fresh fruit. If your team is more of the cocktail crowd, how about an assortment of dips and canapés? Don’t worry if your office prefers the casual classics like sliders, pizza and chips. There’s more than enough for them too.

Last, but most definitely not least: the beverages.  

glass of beer
A pop-up bar? Yes, it exists. The easiest way to host an in-office, out-of-the-box happy hour is to bring the bar (and bartenders) to you through a bar service, such as SIPBAR. This includes certified bartenders, selections of craft beers, quality wines, premium spirits and custom cocktails—so custom that you can bring in a mixing station for your team to participate! Or, if you’re on a tight budget and plan to keep it low-key, visit the nearest liquor store and pick up a few cases of locally brewed beer or ciders. You can even think up a themed mocktail, or spruce up sparkling water; there are endless alternatives to alcoholic beverages. Happy hours should appeal to everyone in the office, because after all, they’re synonymous with bringing people together during the best time of the week!  

By implementing these four core elements into your office happy hour, you’ll end up with the reputation of being the office host with the most. Now we’re talking.

Want to turn your happy hour into happy hours and interested in planning your next office party? Platterz is here to help, so contact one of our Event Specialists to chat next steps.

Keep an eye out on FEED and on our social channels for a deep dive into how SIPBAR quickly became the one-stop beverage-shop that your event can’t live without.

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5 Tips For Pulling Off A Lifestyle Photoshoot Like A Pro

Whether you’re in the business of software or sandwich-making (or both!), making sure your team has a great set of photos in their arsenal for branding and marketing can make a colossal difference for your company’s image. You’ve heard it before: a picture says a thousand words! Figuring out how to pull off a professional-looking collection of photos on a budget can be difficult – especially if it’s not your area of expertise – but there are a few simple steps you can take in order to make sure you have lots of great, usable shots for whatever your next project is. Today on the blog, we’re bringing you tried-and-true tips from our recent Platterz shoot for a successful photoshoot that will rival the pros’!

(Special thanks to our friends at Breather for supplying the beautiful space!)

1. Align on a vision and set goals

have a vision

We started off with some markers and lots of blank paper.

Before you do anything else, figure out what your specific objectives and goals are for the campaign. Do you want to have evergreen branded stock photos that you can reuse for everything from blog posts to greeting cards? Or, do you have a product in mind that you want to highlight through a marketing campaign? Start with an idea of the setting and ambiance you’re going for. Then, use this (and maybe some inspiration from stock photo sites like Unsplash or AdobeStock) to determine what specific sorts of shots you think would best communicate your ideas. 

Pro Tip: Our advice? Where possible, lifestyle shots will help your customers best imagine themselves using your product and relate to your brand. If it’s feasible, try to envision different scenarios where your customers might use your product or service – then go from there to determine what kinds of photos will best represent the feeling you want your product or service to evoke.

2. Plan ahead or plan to fail

plan ahead

For our shoot, we were lucky enough to enlist some of our trusty colleagues to act as models, which helped us cut costs.

Shoot days are notoriously stressful. You’ll want to do your best to eliminate all extra guesswork so that on the day of, so you can be fully present and ready to guide the rest of your team. That means planning everything well ahead of time to the best of your ability. Here are some things to consider:

  • Which props (and food, if necessary) will you need to create a realistic setting for your shots?
  • If you’re taking lifestyle photos, where will you enlist models or extras?
  • Will you be taking photos on-site at your office, or will you need to rent a studio or other space?
  • How will the schedule of your photoshoot day run?

The further ahead you consider all the details for your shoot, the easier it will be to craft solutions that are budget-friendly and don’t require you to pay a premium for last-minute planning.

Pro Tip: When creating the schedule for your photoshoot, make sure to give yourself a generous amount of time in between each shot. You’d be surprised at how much time it can take to make sure a photo is well-lit, your models are ready, and all the factors that go into making the perfect shot right at the same time. For reference, we budgeted about an hour and a half to set up, light, pose, and get at least 10 usable shots for each different setting.

3. Create a shot list

create a shot list

Our shot list and inspiration photos.

Creating a shot list will be key for communicating your ideas to everyone on both sides of the lens, and making sure that you’re staying focussed on executing your vision on schedule. Think about a variety of focal points and angles (again, using inspiration from other shoots can help!) and make a numbered list with sketches or a few words about what you’d like each photo to entail. There’s no need to get too specific, since you never know what the feeling of your set will be like until you’re seeing it in action, but having an idea of where to start shooting will be a huge help. This will help you create a realistic schedule to follow.

Pro Tip: Wide shots help avoid your frame looking crowded and will give you more flexibility of use once you have the finished product (think space for cropping, text and form overlays, etc.)

4. Enlist a professional

Our photographer, Clifton, helped us decide on realistic shots and made our vision come to life.

The smartest thing you can do if you’re already dedicating resources to executing a photoshoot is to invest in a professional behind the lens. As great as your Instagram shots might be, nothing beats professional lighting, high-quality equipment, and industry instinct. Above all, having a photographer on set will help ensure your project will actually be able to provide your company lots of value for years to come. As a professional, they have an eye for what’ll look good once it’s online or in print, and will be able to help guide you towards executing your vision. For us, this meant bringing the amazing Clifton Li onto our team for the day!

Pro Tip: Make sure to shop around for the right kind of photographer who can accommodate your needs and budget. Photographers have varying specialities and levels of experience, so pick one with relevant expertise – and take their advice! 

5. Feed the models

IMG_7088

Yummy lunches for our hard-working models and set staff! 

Last but not least, making sure there’s food at your shoot might mean the difference between a day of cohesion and team effort, and a set full of hangry, stressed out colleagues. Don’t say we didn’t warn you! We made sure our models felt energized and appreciated by feeding them yummy, fresh food throughout the day (no sad bags of chips and cans of pop). Like in any work day, making time to eat will help you stay sharp and do your best, too!

Pro Tip: To avoid spending lots of time on cleanup or to accommodate for limited lunch-friendly space, try ordering individually boxed meals for your shoot! We went for delicious, nutrient-dense poké bowls from Lawai’a Poké, and our Catering Experts can help you find packaged meals for any cuisine or taste. Just get in touch

(Special thanks to our other wonderful vendors Mezes, Per Se Catering, and What A Bagel for providing the beautifully-photogenic food we needed to create our shots!)


Finally, at the end of a long day of shooting, make sure to take a moment to sit back and appreciate the results of all your hard work! Here’s how a few of our shots turned out:

lunch-blog

meeting-blog

food-blog

Have any must-know photoshoot tips that we missed? We’d love to hear them in the comments below!