Contribution: Brand Implementation, Environmental Design, Branding Design, Fabrication Design Intents, Partnered with Vendor, Conducted Art Installation, Organized Field Installation
Problem
Situation:
As part of its strategic expansion, First Reliance Bank ventured into North Carolina, choosing Winston-Salem for its inaugural branch.
Challenge:
Being a new brand in the competitive Winston-Salem market posed significant challenges. The bank had a tight budget for the transformation. The branch, an older and smaller space previously owned by another bank, needed a complete overhaul to reflect First Reliance Bank's identity. Additionally, coordinating with out-of-state vendors, with whom there was no prior relationship, added layers of complexity to the project.
Action
As the in-house environmental graphic designer, my role was not just about design but also about effective communication, budget management, and ensuring the bank's brand shone brightly in a new market.
Steps Taken:
Budget-Conscious Design: Developed designs that were impactful yet cost-effective, ensuring every dollar spent contributed to brand resonance and customer experience.
Vendor Communication: Established clear communication channels with out-of-state vendors, ensuring they understood the bank's vision and design requirements. Regular virtual check-ins and progress updates were instituted to keep the project on track.
Space Optimization: Given the branch's smaller size, designs were crafted to optimize the available space, making it feel welcoming and spacious while ensuring functionality.
Adapting to the Existing Infrastructure: Instead of a complete overhaul, which would be costly, the existing infrastructure of the older branch was integrated into the design, blending the old with the new to create a unique banking environment.
Building Trust: Fostered strong relationships with new vendors, ensuring quality deliverables and timely execution, despite the challenges of distance and unfamiliarity.
Solution
Outcomes:
Brand Introduction: Despite being new to the Winston-Salem market, the branch's design ensured that First Reliance Bank made a memorable first impression, effectively introducing its brand to the community.
Budget Adherence: The transformation was achieved without exceeding the budget, showcasing effective cost management and resourceful design choices.
Vendor Collaboration Success: The successful coordination with out-of-state vendors set a precedent for future collaborations, proving that distance and unfamiliarity could be overcome with clear communication and trust.
Community Integration: The blend of the older branch's infrastructure with First Reliance Bank's modern design elements resonated with the community, symbolizing a fusion of tradition and modernity.
Conclusion:
The Winston-Salem branch transformation highlighted First Reliance Bank's ability to navigate challenges, from budget constraints to new market entry, showcasing the power of strategic design and collaboration in establishing a strong brand presence.
Credits:
Fourth Elm Construction: Lead Firm, Architecture, Fabrication

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