Semiotics drive the underlying values and concepts through design as well as the complex interplay between meaning and form. From the industrial designer’s perspective, it can’t be stressed enough just how important the balancing of meaning and form is to produce a concept that resonates properly with the target market.
All HANDS ON DECK
Cross-functional collaboration lies at the heart of Skyscraper’s creative process. Team members with experience in everything from nanotechnology to sound-mixing come together to produce surprisingly original ideas. Genius is rarely an act of isolation.
So of course we approached the problem of renovating our new headquarters in much the same way. As a team.
A HIDDEN GEM IN THE HEART OF DOWNTOWN
On the tip-top floor of the Historic Steinman Hardware Building, we found our diamond in the rough. The long-unoccupied space—complete with aged green carpet, dirty beige walls, blacked-out skylights, and a thick layer of dust and sadness—was a poorly maintained homage to the early 1980s.
And, the perfect blank canvas for our team’s collective vision.
Using all the tools and talent at our disposal, we worked closely with the developers at Steinman Communications to build out the space to our precise specifications. All material finishes and layout modifications were selected by us—then 3D modeled by our Industrial Design Director—before being handed off to the construction crew.
Walls were ripped down. Toilets were towed away. New Armstrong flooring was laid. The walls were painted in crisp white and contrasting, bold swaths of on-brand color. And our skylights finally let in true daylight.
We also decided to preserve certain historic details. We exposed a 100+ year old wooden support beam. We revealed a hidden tongue-and-groove wooden ceiling. We even uncovered a priceless signature from the late 1800s, written in chalk by an early craftsman.
Our team also took on a few projects of our own. We built our own conference room table using reclaimed cherry taken from a local playground construction site. We worked with Jeff at Keystone Vintage Lumber to create the perfect unfinished tabletop, and then spent hours wet sanding for an immaculate, baby-smooth finish. (Seriously, you could ice skate on this thing!)
We needed something strong and resilient to carry the weight of all that solid hardwood. Enter a beautiful pair of steel legs from Symmetry Hardware— crafted in Portland, Oregon and made to last.
We even cut tiles ourselves and installed a beautiful backsplash. And yes, we Pantone matched our grout. (Purchased on Etsy of course.) Doesn't everyone?
And those beautiful origami lamps from Mio we assembled? Yup, we PMS matched those too.
THE FINAL RESULT
A raised platform separates our ideation space from the rest of the open plan. Rolling workstations allow for easy collaboration and breaking off from larger into smaller groups. Four wifi enabled flat screen panels throughout our space make presentations and design reviews a cinch. The space will flex and grow as we do, well into 2018 and beyond.
SEE IT FOR YOURSELF!
Do you need a fresh, off-site location for a team brainstorm? Want to swing by for a downtown Happy Hour? Drop Trish a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Introducing the newest, most bright-eyed member of the Skyscraper team, Brooke Snyder!
She's a recent graduate of the Communication Design Program at Kutztown University and joined the Skyscraper Team as our Communication Design Associate this summer. We sat down with Brooke to try and figure out how she’s managed to put up with us thus far.
What made you want to be a designer?
As a child, I always loved doing things that were crafty and creative. I had way too many art kits, drawing pads, and random art supplies around my house.
I’ve also always enjoyed working on a computer and with other technology. In 9th grade I was helping teach a Sunday School class at my church and we needed an illustration for a story we were writing. I essentially ended up creating and editing a cartoon in MS paint. Through working on that simple project, I really started to become intrigued by the idea of creating art digitally and knew I wanted to become a designer.
What makes you excited to head to work every day? (We know it’s a bit of a commute from York!)
The main thing is knowing that I get to work with such a fun, talented group of individuals. I know that they are going to teach me or inspire me to push my design skills and creative thinking in a new way each and every day.
(I also get a little more excited when Lancaster Central Market is open. I love walking around and trying treats from all the different vendors!)
We have a lot of global clients. Anywhere in particular you’d like to see Skyscraper visit?
I would love to see Skyscraper visit Iceland. I’ve always been curious about that part of the world and the way of life there. Not only would it be interesting to see how people there live, but also how that affects the way they view different products and services.
On the weekend we can find you ____________?
I’m hard to track down on the weekends! If I’m not at home spending time with my friends and family, I really enjoy taking weekend trips to different places. Most recently, I visited Pittsburgh and Atlantic City, but I also enjoy exploring Philadelphia and New York City with my friends from college.
What's on your 'Most Innovative' list lately?
I'm into The Vamp Stamp made by Cult Beauty. Essentially, it's a stamp with a wing shape on the ends that allow users to stamp on their winged eyeliner, rather than having to physically draw it on.
I've never been one who spends a great deal of time putting on makeup. For me, the easier and simpler the process can be the better!
Despite this mentality, I've recently been trying to learn the rather difficult art of applying winged eyeliner. After much practice, it’s just not something I can seem to get the hang of. When I saw this product, it immediately piqued my interest. I love that it's a quick, easy, and hassle-free way of getting a look I want. The simple stamping action is much less stressful than trying to keep my hand from shaking when drawing on my eyeliner.
With a product such as this, I know my eyeliner will always come out looking great, even though I spent no time at all applying it.
Where do you find creative inspiration?
This is probably the most millennial answer possible, but I would have to say Instagram!
I like having the ability to have so many different styles of design at my fingertips. It keeps me thinking about how I can expand upon the designs I'm working on in a new way. It’s also fun to be surprised by a new style of design every time I open the app.
Our very own Creativity Director, Melina Blees, recently appeared on the Women in STEM podcast hosted by Kara Newhouse.
She discusses her experiences as a scientist, artist, and lifelong student of curiosity. An unconventional—in retrospect—and very special childhood gave her the confidence to take the road less traveled. This particular road led to a Phd in Physics from Cornell University, pursued in tandem with classes in print making and an interest in paper arts that informed her work in nanotechnology.
2017 is shaping up to be a year of big changes at Skyscraper! With a rapidly-growing team and a new studio space, we felt a re-brand was in order. We're officially rolling it out today and couldn't be more proud of the results.
Much of the credit goes to our Communication Design Director, Shani Tucker, who built this new identity from the ground up. She leveraged the best of our previous identity, while creating a mark that reflects how our team works together using the building blocks of consumer need to create amazing innovation.
Much gratitude and congratulations are in order to the team for an amazing step higher!