Six Steps in Developing a Timeline Wall Installation

- Richard Berkheimer - Creative Environments - January 31, 2020

Branded environments are incredible visual means of bringing a space to life. They can tell a compelling visual story of who you are, while engaging people to have positive emotional connections to your business. These spaces are designed to promote the exchange of ideas between prospects, customers, and company experts; to share ideas that lead to productive business relationships. One way to make an impact and immerse visitors into your company’s values, vision, history, and culture are by creating a timeline wall installation. Dimension and interest come to life through words, display cases, period images, and video and sound, creating a vivid multimedia experience. So how do you accomplish this? Here are six steps of consideration to follow as you create a well-designed timeline wall.

1: Know Your Audience

It’s essential to understand who is using the space and how often. What are they looking to accomplish when they arrive, and what are their needs both at a transactional and an emotional level. Integrating brand into your physical environment not only gives employees a sense of place and pride but is a fantastic tool for recruiting and retention. As your timeline design should equally inspire your internal stakeholders, it should also impress the external ones.

Look at the experience from the perspective of your audience. Review your customer personas to establish what would be interesting and engaging from the viewer’s perspective. The more you evaluate your personas, detailing their interests, the better you can align the story you’re telling. Detail for each of these groups, what you want them to learn while viewing the timeline wall in your facility. Ask too much and they may lose interest, provide too little and they may be confused.

Memorable design reaches viewers on more than just a visual level.


  • Embrace your culture and create a timeline wall that inspires brand advocacy among prospects, customers, and employees.
  • Gain an understanding of who visits your facility. Decision-makers, influencers, or maybe a mix of both?
  • What is the goal of their visit and what do you want them to take away? Any message needs to provide value in order to compel them to make a desirable action.
  • What are their needs regarding your products and services? Put the spotlight on what you do best.
  • Engage your audience by designing a statement wall that acts as a conversation piece.

American Greetings History Wall


Collaborate with multiple departments within your company to develop a team and start pulling the project elements together. Once you have the logistics and scheduling down, you can then consult with a design partner to get a clear understanding of how the concept, materials, and aesthetics will impact your space. When developing your timeline wall for your environment, you want a team that can provide superior design and expert installation.

Ready to maximize the impact of your space?


  • Choose the correct partner that can not only guide you through the process, but design your project, fabricate, and install it.
  • Ask your selections to explain their design-build process as this will help you to determine if they’re right for the job.
  • Set a clear vision for your space, incorporating details that match your industry, brand, service or product, and employee or client persona.

Cleveland State University Lobby


Every flow pattern has to start and end somewhere. Think about where your installation should go in your facility and how it relates to the environment. The best timelines don’t often look like a timeline but manage to inhabit the space uniquely. Your goal here is to be detailed and strategic in the usage of your space, instead of trying to make something from another place. A few factors that can affect how you organize your flow pattern include the size and shape of your floor plan, the types of products you sell, and the customers you hope to attract. In this organizational phase, you have the opportunity to create a truly immersive brand experience with your timeline wall design and make every single touchpoint with your customers a positive experience.

Make your timeline installation a true destination.


  • When evaluating the size of your timeline, take into account the environment, materials, messaging, and goals.
  • Think about how your flow pattern starts and finishes, and where the natural ‘breaks’ are in your timeline to encourage interaction.
  • If you intend for visitors to interact with your timeline, spend some time considering what they might find interesting or engaging.
  • Get people to interact with each other, help create the positive feelings you want them to associate with your brand.
  • Implement accessibility by approaching your design from the perspective of many different types of people, and how they will access and perceive the installation.

TimkenSteel Timeline Wall


A timeline wall is an effective visual tool that you can use to organize and represent your business’ time-based history events or plans for the future. Not all companies have the luxury of decades-old history to reflect on, but all companies, old or new, have a story to tell. Your timeline doesn’t have to use dates; it can just indicate sequence, such as Step 1, Step 2, etc. The defining characteristic of a timeline is that it presents a list of events in a consistent, connective, and chronological form.

Telling that story doesn’t always come easy. If you’re unsure where to start, focus on your founder’s story. Who is this person, and why did he or she start your company? An origin story can serve as a road map in keeping that story alive, keeping it accurate, and keeping it relevant. Put the spotlight on what you do best, show the advancements you’ve made in your mission, patents, innovations, or the introduction of new technologies and services. A strategically designed concept can help you connect with your audience, and with any luck, keep them listening.

Create an installation that reflects the remarkable nature of your organization.


  • Look throughout your history and find the moments that changed your company’s trajectory.
  • Choose visual elements (photographs, artifacts, products, articles, etc.) that catch your visitor’s attention, are relevant to your story and bring the past tangibly to life.
  • Static or interactive, content-rich or minimal, use graphic hooks to draw visitors into your story.
  • Colors are essential in any design. Stay faithful to your brand colors, but consider how your use of color will affect the people who use the building every day.

Hawken School


While we can’t change history, messaging isn’t permanent; environments shouldn’t be either. Consideration should be taken to ensure your timeline wall can continue to evolve with your business without requiring a major physical overhaul or breaking the bank. For instance, consider using digital interactive components to allow flexibility in current and future messaging while remaining immersive. Explore design elements that can be changed according to your annual calendar or can be updated with progress and new achievements as they occur. Highlighting current events and accomplishments in an easily updated format will assist in keeping your environment up-to-date and applicable.

Companies must continually evolve to stay relevant.


  • Design for multiple generations in the workplace.
  • Consider your budget and plan for longevity.
  • Explore your options for design enhancements such as digital interactive components that can be easily updated without an entire redesign.
  • Use your design enhancements strategically to showcase company achievements and milestones.

STERIS Timeline Wall


As your project takes shape, it essential to thoughtfully examine and plan the timing of your installation and consider the impact it may have on your business. Depending on the scope of your project, the process can take days to weeks. Care should be taken to keep your business operations as natural as possible and with minimal disruption to your employees and clients.

Before beginning your installation, take a quick audit of your space. Ensure all surfaces are correctly prepared (painted or primed at least seven days prior, no dust, free of debris, etc.) and review any potential areas of concern. Flooring and wall treatments, case goods, adequate lighting, and both power and data, need to be considered. By doing this type of planning, you’ll be able to mitigate risks, eliminate downtime, and prevent workflow disruptions.

Installation is the culmination of all your work!


  • Consider the surrounding physical space. Do you have electricity and data in place?
  • Ensure products and supplies are ordered with enough lead time to meet your project deadline.
  • Keep communication open with those who should be involved by creating a communication plan to keep everyone up-to-date on arrangements and the work schedule, as well as manage employee expectations.
  • Once the installation is underway, give employees periodic tours and updates, so they’re kept in the loop and feel involved.

While we’ve summarized how to develop a timeline wall installation with these six steps, it’s also useful to realize that any one of these steps will help create any branded environment. Blur the lines between workplaces and social spaces. Highlight what makes your brand unique in the style that’s authentic to YOU. Timeline walls have the potential to empower your business’s approach to storytelling; the possibilities for branding your environment are endless!

Tell us about your creative environment project here.