Contribution: Brand Implementation, Environmental Design, Branding Design, Fabrication Design Intents, Partnered with Vendor, Conducted Art Installation, Organized Field Installation
As part of its strategic expansion, First Reliance Bank ventured into North Carolina, choosing Winston-Salem for its inaugural branch.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Fourth Elm Construction: Lead Firm, Architecture, Fabrication

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