Education Listening Tour
Through January and February of 2019, our hard and soft surface designer, Amanda Hopkins, and marketing director, Kieren Corcoran, conducted an Education Listening Tour. They traveled to 13 cities to gather market intelligence from A&D Firms in various markets, as well as shared insight into an upcoming education-focused carpet collection, Organic Interruption.
Amanda had begun to design this product but was looking to receive feedback from the needs of designers. Kieren, who focuses on our education sectors, brought strategic knowledge to this experience to ensure we were gathering and using the feedback received.
Amanda and Kieren began their tour in California visiting two cities, Ontario and Newport Beach. They traveled with Account Managers Marcos Alday and Sue Ewing visiting eight A&D Firms. The firms visited in these areas provided positive and productive input on the carpet collection.
Ruhnau Ruhnau Clarke & Associates shared the importance of color choices in a product line, which helped Amanda to narrow the patterns and broaden the colors on the new product. The oat milk vanilla latte at the local coffee shop, Augies, and the sunrise on Newport Beach pier were both a nice touch to exploring design in California.
The next stop was Texas, where Amanda and Kieren visited Hahnfeld Hoffer & Stanford and VLK Architects in the Dallas and Fort Worth areas with Account Manager Lance Wroblewski. Here, they received feedback and suggestions that helped further analyze and confirm the direction of this working collection. Hahnfeld Hoffer & Stanford in Fort Worth had a great team of inspiring designers that were able to give a different perspective on the collection, discussing preferred color and pattern.
On to the next locations, Washington D.C. and Virginia, Amanda and Kieren visited six cities and six A&D Firms with Account Managers Nena Goozner, Nathan Neri and Regional Vice President, Angie Gilp. They first attended a Vendor Trade show with Studios Architecture that provided the opportunity to meet and mingle with many designers, and speak about current Patcraft products. A delicious and entertaining dinner at Punch Bowl Social ended the first night for this stop and the next day provided great insight and interactions as well as a sweet treat from Georgetown Bakery.
The team was able to see some differing opinions from the West Coast and Texas, but an overall consensus and clarity on some details that were not clear from the previous tours.
The last stop for our team was Indiana. Kieren and Amanda visited four cities and five A&D Firms with Account Managers, Scott Martin and Brooke Sheehe.
The team started with a visit with Fanning Howey Architecture and then headed to PNC Tower where they spotted a beautiful install of Deconstructed Metal on the 2nd floor of the building.
Next they enjoyed a late lunch at the famous Harry and Izzy’s, where they had the “World Famous St. Elmo Shrimp Cocktail.”
Then they traveled into Bloomington, IN to visit the design team at The University of Indiana. They first visited with the designers at the Residential Programs and Services office to get some product feedback, then headed to their Planning and Facilities office for a different perspective. The entire staff at UI provided fantastic feedback and more insight into colors used in this region of the US.
Throughout the Education Listening Tour, Kieren and Amanda recorded the trends they observed and the feedback they received to use for the evolving design of our upcoming carpet collection, Organic Interruption. The key trends that Amanda brought back to adjust her product design included:
- Accents of color combined with neutral colors in flooring is key. This allows designers to keep the floor somewhat neutral, and pick up the accent color in the flooring to bring into the walls and furniture. Color is the starting point and can begin with flooring, which helps to determine the color palette for the overall project.
- Creating spaces where kids can do their work and enjoy spaces outside of the classroom. It is important for kids to be able to find a comfortable and inviting space including a quiet place to read, complete group work, or play a musical instrument. A change of scenery and the ability to move freely is an important need.
- Using color to define space. Perhaps it is a different color for each grade level, color highlighting each classroom, or wayfinding.
- Using a mix of bold colors and more toned down, neutral colors. In a classroom, it is important that there are not elements that would distract students. A hint of color in a classroom would be ideal, where bolder colors would be used in common spaces.
- Nature is a big focus. There is a desire to use more color and pattern that is inspired by nature, so colors in the green and blue family would fit this idea. Though some schools are bigger on branding, they may want to introduce school colors into the space rather than the typical nature colors.
As Amanda continues to adjust her design, we want to hear your feedback. We will continue to connect with you throughout this process to ensure we are designing solutions for your needs. Stay tuned for the next steps of Amanda’s design process.
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