Improving service through brandscaping

MAXIMALdesign was commisioned to redesign the 14 public touchpoints of the city of Antwerp: the districtshouses. The goal was threefold: improve the ergonomics of the spaces, enhance the service for the civilians and increase the awareness of the Antwerp brand . With the first testsite evaluated and adjusted, it’s a go!

The city of Antwerp issued a public call of tenders in 2009 and the proposal of MAXIMALdesign was preferred by the taskgroup, mainly because of our emphasis to put the user central and to start the design process from there. The way MAXIMALdesign went about restyling het district houses and city offices clearly shows how service design works. 

MAXIMALdesign worked on “a worst case scenario basis”. Starting from the fact that some clients are not young or don’t speak the language. If something is clear to them, it works for everyone. Various people were interviewed, which led to insights that otherwise might not have become apparent. The elimination of these various confusions, reduce the stress on the visitors, which is the first step towards giving them a warm welcome and a good working service center.

The confusion regarding ‘where am I and where do I need to go ?’ is probably the most important issue in the restyling of the offices. Consequently, clear circulation form the point of entry to the point of departure is the primary goal. In the same way as a brand strategy, the locations of the entrances of the district houses and city offices should be clearly visible. 

On the inside all of the buildings are divided into three zones, each with its own colour : red for reception, which stands for the city of Antwerp welcoming you, green as in the Antwerp cityparks for waiting, for catching your breath, and businesslike blue for service. Black guidelines on the floor, guide visitors clearly through the different zones. The colours are provided by banners on the ceiling and by furniture. All visitors should encounter the same situation at all fourteen locations.

The simplification of ‘the customer journey’ together with strict rules concerning volume and position of messages, info stands, city branded products and service points will implement the reduction of stress when visiting the city touch-points. Through this, for customers and service suppliers alike, the improvement of the service oriented brandscape will connect citizens with Antwerp...