Guest Author, Laura Mynahan
When you think of a retail bank branch, what do you see? Cold marble columns? Tall wrought-iron grilles lining the teller counter? Dull fluorescent lighting and endless wait times?
Or how about… a vibrant, dynamic, welcoming hub for all your financial needs? Today’s financial institutions are looking beyond banking tradition and taking cues from the retail, hospitality, and tech industries to redefine the routine bank branch, including how brand messaging is conveyed.
As a leading provider of large format printing services in New England, ICL Imaging has tackled multiple projects for many future-facing financial institutions. The Element Group — a full-service design and build firm specializing in banks and credit unions — often enlists ICL to help bring dynamic designs to life. Through working with Element, ICL has created everything from environmental wall graphics and printed fabric banners to vinyl wall surrounds, window clings, and more. ICL also handles installation, placing wayfinding signage, promotional graphics, signature branded elements, or attractive graphic solutions for dividing space.
These printed pieces serve multiple purposes beyond adding color to the walls. Printed graphics for retail banking spaces can:
Extend the institution’s brand beyond the page or screen
Environmental graphics can add a multi-dimensional facet to a classic or new brand. No surface is off limits — think branded visual touches on the walls, ceilings, windows, and even floors.
Reinforce brand awareness
Customers should have no doubt where they are when they enter their bank or credit union — and should be able to recognize its signature colors or logo from afar. Featuring plenty of these signature graphic elements in-branch is key to solidifying brand recognition.
Create unique feature walls
Local touches speak volumes when it comes to reflecting the surrounding community. Statement walls that feature vistas of local landscapes, large-format reproductions of historical photographs, or word art that represents the geographical region are all excellent printed solutions that create an immediate sense of place.
Deliver important information in an eye-catching format
Today’s banks and credit unions may be stepping outside the box, but finances are still serious business. Customers need to know important information like interest rates, branch hours, or how to open an account, even if all the staff are busy. These messages can be conveyed through interesting, attractive, and clear signage or banners.
Advertise products and services outside business hours
Physical branches may have limited operating hours, but street-level windows provide a 24/7 marketing opportunity. Floor-to-ceiling posters or window clings can communicate messages to passers-by long past closing time.
Create consistency, front to back
A major part of brand recognition and reinforcement is consistency, including behind the teller line. Branded graphics can extend past the counter and into the back-of-house, unifying the entire branch interior and creating a sense of place for employees as well as customers.
Dictate traffic patterns
Directional signage tends to be utilitarian, but it also provides another opportunity for brand extension. Even a simple “Exit” door decal can be printed with brand colors, typography, or signature graphic flourishes.
Designate distinct physical areas
The open-concept floor plan is a major trend in retail banking right now, which poses some creative challenges to interior designers. Without putting up walls, designers rely on environmental graphics, color blocking, modular partitions, and sharp, eye-catching signage to separate one area from another and create privacy for customers.
Convey or support a design aesthetic
Like using visuals to create a sense of place, signage and decals should support the overall aesthetic of the interior. Banks and credit unions are increasingly leaning toward more organic shapes and textures, and should incorporate graphic elements that match.
Improve the overall customer experience
As financial institutions move away from routine transactions and toward more holistic, consultative financial services, the banking errand is gradually becoming a banking experience. With considerate signage and welcoming graphics, banks and credit unions can boost customer loyalty and make banking more enjoyable.
No matter the graphics, any print job that calls for large-format pieces demands precision — not least of all when it comes to important financial services messaging. Managing finances can be stressful, so it’s critical that the retail banking graphics be clean, readable, and as vivid as the client intended. The Element Group guides many financial institutions through rebrands, so it’s also imperative that graphics feature accurate, brand-specific colors to help reinforce a new persona.
Whatever your industry, consider ICL Imaging to help you get your message across loud and clear.
About the Author, Laura Mynahan
As the Interior Design Manager for The Element Group Laura Mynahan ensures that clients understand the design process and that their goals are fully achieved. At the forefront of many of Element’s larger projects, Laura brings valued perspective, insight, and creativity to the design process. She holds a Master of Business Administration from Southern New Hampshire University, and Bachelor of Science in Interior Design from Wentworth Institute of Technology.