A natural space to flourish

In this feature, Design Director of Graphics, Craig McIntyre, explores the importance of a robust and meaningful brand identity in attracting businesses to locate in edge-of-town business parks and enticing locals to embrace them as destinations for living, socialising, and learning.

Edge-of-town business parks have been a favourable business model for several decades, providing a central hub for organisations to operate in. Traditionally, a general view of business parks conjures up images of a mundane collection of office buildings devoid of character or charm, generally, places you drive to, (when the car was king), with a landscape devoid of architectural character and lacking a clear identity.

Undervalued and often overlooked, these parks find themselves at a crossroads and the key to unlocking the potential of these edge-of-town business parks is to adapt, thrive and survive. It doesn’t take much imagination to see the great potential these parks offer, especially as the last few years have shone a new light on post-COVID hybrid working models and additional amenities and lifestyle opportunities these spaces can offer a workplace community.

What people want from their workplace and outdoor amenity space is changing and it’s now more important than ever to create inspiration, add value and improve the overall well-being and cohesion of its community.

In most instances, locations see these parks being well-placed for making use of travel connections, with stronger public transport, green corridors that offer active travel opportunities and sometimes, conveniently located next to local or international airports, all geared around reducing commute time, contributing to a happier and healthier community workforce.

Attracting businesses to an edge-of-town business park requires more than just offering competitive leasing rates, coffee shops or a gym. It demands a compelling narrative that speaks to the unique advantages and values of the park. A strong brand identity serves as this narrative, communicating the park’s vision, values, and offerings to potential tenants. Whether it’s a commitment to sustainability, access to green spaces, or a collaborative work environment, a well-defined brand identity helps businesses see the business park as not just a place to work, but as a strategic partner in their success.

A well-defined brand identity not only distinguishes a business park from its competitors but also imbues it with a sense of purpose and personality.

One such success story is Edinburgh Park, one of Scotland’s most established business park communities, situated around three lochans, where art, culture, and business exist. Our client enlisted Four-by-Two to revitalise its brand identity and create a bespoke wayfinding and navigation strategy. The goal was clear: to position Edinburgh Park as more than just a commercial enclave but as a vibrant community hub where businesses thrive and individuals flourish. Public art can be a key factor in establishing a unique and culturally active place, something Edinburgh Park proudly boasts.

We were presented with an opportunity to look at Edinburgh Park with fresh eyes and consider adopting a uniquely bespoke wayfinding & signage strategy that aligns with ‘urban living cool’, starting the process of visioning, aiming to establish how signage and visual info can add value to the park.

Through a strategic blend of visual elements, messaging, and experiences, we breathed new life into Edinburgh Park, transforming it into an attractive destination for businesses and locals alike.

The process took a holistic overview that imagines how the many scales of information can support park functioning and broader human experiences — amplifying a ‘New Attitude’ and ‘Proactive’ approach to Park messaging, both inwardly and outwardly, all within a landscape inspired by nature.

Working closely with the management team and key stakeholders at Edinburgh Park, we created a strong identity that effectively communicates outwardly, nurtures positive associations, and builds meaningful interactions.

In short, the importance of a strong brand identity cannot be overstated in transforming business parks into dynamic community hubs. By articulating a clear vision, attracting businesses, and engaging the local community, a robust brand identity lays the foundation for long-term success and sustainability. As more edge-of-town business parks seek to carve out their identities, they can take inspiration from Edinburgh Park. In the competitive landscape of urban development, a strong brand identity is the key to unlocking the full potential of these hidden gems.

Find out more about park life: Edinburgh Park, a natural space to flourish.

Corten wayfinding and graphics on a sunny day at Edinburgh Park.