Blue Ion occupies a thoughtfully designed space more reminiscent of a city loft than an office.
The branding agency occupies most of the second floor, which sits above the Apple store on King Street. At the top of the stairs, the office opens into a large room with gleaming wood floors. Several exuberant dogs run up to greet visitors.
A painting on a canvas adorns the wall in front of the full kitchen and stocked bar. The bar, made of reclaimed wood, is designed after the bar featured in The Shining. A video game console and R2-D2-themed keg are at the ready nearby.
A stage in the middle of the office is used for team meetings or community events. Blue Ion employees — developers, illustrators, photographers and marketers — work alongside one another at long, wooden tables. The company meeting room has couches, a pool table and shuffleboard.
Another set of stairs leads to a loft seating area and an outdoor patio space, which has a grill, a Patch Whisky painting on the wall and a view of King Street below.
The entire space was designed with collaboration in mind — no closed-door meetings or lines of cubicles.
“Our motto here is: Share the energy you’re made of. So with every client, we really try to extract the things that are really important to them,” said Ellen Schmedinghoff, Blue Ion communication strategist.
Robert Prioleau, David Wood and Rich Yessian co-founded Blue Ion in Charleston in 2000. The company moved into its current space in 2010.
The agency initially focused on building websites, mostly for Lowcountry clients. Client campaigns now involve building websites; refining brand concepts; working on digital marketing and social media advertising; or creating logos, photography and video. The company plans to branch into public relations soon, Schmedinghoff said.
The Charleston Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, Charleston Regional Development Alliance, Charleston Gaillard Center, Lowcountry Land Trust, Historic Charleston Foundation, Palmetto Brewery and Patriots Point are among Blue Ion’s clients.
Blue Ion also recently expanded to Greenville with one employee, and the company plans to grow its Upstate presence.
“We have a lot of clients up there, and this is a really great way to connect with them and start telling some stories up in Greenville,” Schmedinghoff said. “We’ve had such great success telling stories about companies in Charleston. Greenville is growing in that same kind of way that Charleston was growing when we started here.”
This story originally appeared in the Oct. 17, 2016, print edition of the Charleston Regional Business Journal.