More than 79 million people read BuzzFeed every month and the media company has built an empire on OMG-Cute-Fail-WTF moments that give bored desk jockeys some reprieve from their menial jobs. Predictably, its new office in New York City reflects the editorial content that's carried the brand—memes, emojis, '90s pop culture, food porn, and then some—for better or worse.
To Chris Rushing, BuzzFeed's senior art director and the person in charge of directing the company's branding, supergraphics made sense to channel the business's culture into a spatial context.
"BuzzFeed is loud—it's not subtle," Rushing says. The architecture firm that designed the office, which is spread across six floors, originally proposed red striped decals across all the windows in the office (red being BuzzFeed's signature color). "If it was the same color and pattern everywhere, it would be boring."
After Rushing and Gabrielle Rubin, BuzzFeed's senior director of corporate real estate & facilities, conducted an office poll to get ideas for the new office, they noticed some repeating themes. Rushing then translated them into sets of illustrations to communicate what the brand is about. For example, its New York origin led to a set of icons about the city (think street names where the company once had offices, subway cars, the Statue of Liberty); emojis, which are popular with readers; memes that were milestones in the company's growth, like Pizza Rat and blue-and-black dress; and '90s pop culture, which is big with the staff (mostly millennials).
Walking into the office is like getting hit in the face with Internet slang. Thankfully, the graphics are all removable vinyl decals so the company can remove the outdated lingo (who really says ROFL anymore?) and references when the next generation of employees takes over. Until then, #OMG.