Killer Makeover: How Changing Offices Took Our Look from Drab to Fab!

 As a toddler company (two years old and growing all the time), Killer Infographics has already called several small offices home. With the humble beginnings of our self-funded startup, our first office meant taking over the guest room of Nick Grant’s (Killer Infographics’ co-founder and Chief Rainmaker) Ballard town home. After just a few months, it was time to start hiring, so we moved (up??) to  a closet-sized space above a delicious Ballard Mexican restaurant and 6 months later to new and slightly larger digs above a Ballard diner… we thought for sure that we had finally moved into an office large enough to house all of our awesomeness. Until, of course, we grew even larger. Then it was time for the fourth move in 14 months!
man and woman in small office
man wearing funny hat
office with white walls and hardwood floors
group of people sitting in front of a cardboard castle

After that, it was inevitable that we couldn’t squeeze all of our creative egos into even that space!  So after just 9 months, we could no longer be contained by the confines of our gray-and-tan Ballard Avenue storefront office. In fact, we felt we’d outgrown the Ballard neighborhood entirely. Each prior move had been just a few blocks away, gaining just a couple hundred more square feet. Killer needed something more drastic. We needed double, nay, triple the space – and new haunts for lunch and happy hour. We needed Seattle’s Fremont, otherwise known by locals as The Center of the Universe, and we think it needed us, too.

Sitting comfortably in our collaborative open floor plan of 1500 square feet (plus another 2500 square feet separated into a lofted lounge, meeting room, private rooftop deck and more), our new office (well, kind of old… it was built in 1890 and almost everything is original) has pizzazz. You might even say it pops – but we wouldn’t say that, because that can be subjective. Instead, allow us to elaborate.

dog lying down looking at camera
bike hanging on bike rack

First up: Original hardwood floors from 1890. Now we can hear the click of Langston’s toenails (he’s the dog, if you’re wondering what that’s about). And if we were the kind of office to wear dress shoes and heels, we’d be hearing the click of those, too… But you’re more likely to hear the squeak of sneakers.

people working at killer infographics office
blue robot costume
large room with red table and blue walls
close up of foosball table

We also have about 17 times more windows, for that whole “natural light” vibe everyone’s raging about. So thank goodness we’re also on the second and third floors of our building, eliminating the likelihood of passersby poking their heads in with questions like, “So what is an infographic?”, “Are you selling that bike?”, and “How about a free gym membership?” — all extremely common questions at our last office space.

We no longer share a kitchen, and our sweet IKEA-furnished lounge with 360 degree views of the city, doors that lead to nowhere, and branded color palette, allows us to eat away from our computers – which our crumb-filled keyboards are thankful for! And speaking of eating, there is a taco truck in our parking lot. Does it get any better than that? Oh wait, it does: 2 full Kegerators featuring beer from local breweries and unlimited snacks are just two of the perks within arms reach in our break room, (which we call the Tower Room) that also leads to our private rooftop access – Allowing us to take in the sun when, on the rare Seattle occasion, it comes out!

man standing on couch
woman on roof jumping in the air

We originally only rented out the Tower Room and our loft-style open office, but after someone else almost rented out the other half of the floor, we decided to take it all. This provided the opportunity for our fantastic infographic editor, Keanan, to spray paint the mural we had been wanting for months. Additionally, we decided to create a space for our clients whether visiting from out of town or swinging by from a local neighborhood. As such, we now have all those things a typical agency should have: a waiting room, conference room and sound recording studio. OK maybe the latter isn’t as typical, but it’s taking our motion graphics up a notch, and what else were we going to do with an abandoned elevator shaft other than build a sound booth out of it?

room with large table and robots
three chairs in front of sliding panels
three red chairs in front of opened sliding panels
two red benches in front of sliding panels

The additional space gave us a lot of opportunity to be creative. What was originally an 800 square foot open space, we divided into 3 rooms utilizing movable walls. Our office manager, Ashley, showed off her own creative juices (and history of set design) by building the space for all of our needs. She built everything from the salvaged wooden sound wall (flanked by our rockem sockem mascots), to the wall of track doors that double as a whiteboard. She built benches for the waiting room, a salvaged wooden bookcase, and the beautiful conference table as well. Of course, we needed to ensure the room was perfect for after-hour festivities too, so we’ve added surround sound, a digital projector and movie screen in preparation for May 26th: The day we have all been waiting for… Arrested Development Season 4! Is there a better way to spend our Sunday than sitting in our conference room turned movie theater watching the entire season? The answer is… only if there’s a marathon of Game of Thrones to watch instead!

Since this room serves 3 purposes, we had to be sure we could enter it from different angles to avoid disruption of any important meetings. Luckily, this old building came with a lot of hidden secrets, one of which being a hidden door! The door originally lead to a 3 foot drop into what is now the sound room. With Ashly’s handy past life as a carpenter though, we were able to build stairs leading people right into the sound studio. Of course, we didn’t want to take away from the allure of a secret entrance, so we did what any person who played Myst too much as a kid would do: created a bookcase entrance! Who doesn’t want a room secreted behind a bookcase? Our designers have been requesting a design library for quite some time and this bookcase provided the perfect solution. Also, we’d be lying if we said this wasn’t a fun addition for entertaining friends on Game of Thrones nights!

wood shelving with photos and books
man starring to the left with smirk

Our main office is a large, open loft, making it easy to collaborate on all projects as a team. It features 3 walls of original floor-to-ceiling windows, bright red desks (Ikea stopped selling them, so we wound up building them ourselves), and ceilings tall enough that even our largest infographics fit nicely on the walls. The original wooden pillars in the center of the room make great stations for standing desks, so we can burn off those taco-related calories a little faster after lunch. Cushy gel pads underfoot keep us comfortable even when we opt to stand for hours. Or days. Until Amy (co-founder and Chief Swiss Army Knife) reminds us we should probably sleep sometimes.

man tagging wall with spray paint
modern office space

Most of all, though we’re still trying to figure out where to put a photo booth to make everything feel complete, we’re proud to have an office that reflects our personalities and can be shown off to clients. Since we spend most of our waking weekday hours here, it’s also critical that our space can feel like a second home to us. For the first time, we can finally say that it does.

Killer Visual Strategies Team

Author Killer Visual Strategies Team

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