visually defined

Walking the length of our concourse at the airport,
I was struck by those franchises
that have visually established themselves.

First, I thought about how they had established themselves
as visually different from the airport concourse:
a different floor—
a different tile, a wood or fake wood, an inlay pattern—
different walls, different colors,
anything and everything they could possibly use—
art on the walls,
usually, some kind of dropped and floating ceiling—
to not just offer contrast
to the height of the outside concourse,
but to create a more cozy feel.

Because it was all about the feel.

Chipotle, Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, Five Guys
were among the most successful,
making you almost forget you were at the airport.

So my second thought was
that these franchises have not just visually
distinguished themselves from the concourse,
but have branded themselves in such a way
as to be comfortably and immediately recognizable
with not just a feel, but their feel.

The chapel I walked by,
immediately recognizable,
did not, however, offer that comfortable feel.

Why not?

Because there was no unified color scheme?
No common decorating plan?
No brand universally agreed upon and marketed?
Well, maybe.

But also because the customer’s not always right—
the customer’s comfort not always the priority—
because it’s never just all about the feel,
and because a sanctuary’s purpose
is never to deny exactly where you are.

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