Designing a bank deposit campaign

If you work for a bank or credit union creative team, you know exactly how I have feel when the word "Deposits" comes up.  It's like getting an automatic writer's block, in this case a designer's block.  Creating marketing for a product as bland and boring as a "Deposit" is perhaps the biggest challenge for visual designers because of the lack of visual queues we can connect to the word "Deposit", especially if we are trying to go for the unconventional.  Producing a unique design and successful creative while communicating the strategic needs of our brand is even more difficult.  Most banks usually highlight the rates in big numbers.  I am sure you have seen those everywhere.  We've also done that, to be exact it was last year, but we went a little more unique by creating the numbers out of US coins.  It took quite a while to create the graphics but the result was very successful.

2015 Deposit Campaign Example

2015 Deposit Campaign Example

For this year's campaign we wanted to do something different and more unconventional.  We did a brainstorm session where our fantastic writer and I started to play with words that we could connect to the effort, such as "Power Up", "Charge Up", "Electrified" came up.  From those words I quickly came up with two ideas to pitch.  For the first idea, I wanted to utilize the wealth of creativity that our company has to offer, and in particular the film Monsters, Inc. came to mind.  My idea was to show the scream canisters but here used as canisters where people keep their money.  For the second idea, I pitched the visual of a battery charger (such as a jumper cable) where the money is getting charged.  After the meeting, I began creating concepts for both pitches since I had a little time to work on this project.  The canister idea was interesting but when I went to design concepts for it, I quickly realized that it was going to be difficult to explain what the canister had to do with the idea of charging the money.  For the second idea, I was able to find a perfect image on iStockphoto of jumper cables charging dollar bills.  The image is exactly what I was looking for but it was not going to be enough to be convincing and engaging.  I quickly looked for other images or sparks and electrical charges and was able to find some good choices that would work well for the project.  Finally, I decided to use an image of metal texture for the background that closely matched our brand style.  For typefaces, I decided to use a newly released modern clean font, something that no one has seen before in order to focus on a more fresh and new experience.  I found a good font called Sullivan that came in three different versions: Regular, fill and bevel.  I went to work once I had all my assets.

Fall Savings Project.png

My design process is very internal.  I am able to get ideas in the brainstorming process and layout the elements in my head.  I remember when I started to work as a designer, I sketched everything.  Mostly they were blocks in a page to help me place the main elements of the composition.  This helped me better visualize to the point that today it is a completely mental process.  I can see visuals in my mind, and slowly create a full picture of what the design will look like before it is fully completed, often before the end of the creative session.  I know when I do not fully understand a project because I usually have a hard time visualizing it in my head, and that is when I ask a lot of questions.

Once I had all my graphic elements for this project, I started in Photoshop to color manage the image of the money with the jumper cables because the money didn't appear as colorful or as lively as I originally wanted.  I proceeded to mask the image from the white space.  Next, I pulled elements from the vector image that would work well in the space.  For visual clarity, I was conscious to keep the money clear from the sparks and electrical charge effects while still showing the effect across both positive and negative sides.  I actually ended up rounding some of the effects in order to better frame the electrical charges around the money.  Finally, I added the sparks right where the metal connected to the money.  Since the raster image of the spark was dark enough, I was able to apply a screen effect to the layer to remove the black space from the photo.  I added the spark on each connector. 

Completed Print Full Page Ad.

Completed Print Full Page Ad.

After the effects, I added the background and played around with drop shadows to give the design more depth.  Once the design was completed in Photoshop, I moved on to InDesign to lay out the copy.  Normally, I will do a preliminary headline in the same Photoshop art file for several reasons. First, I can align where the headline will go in the InDesign workspace, and secondly, it may give me more opportunities to be creative by adding effects to the headlines, something that is not possible in InDesign.  For this particular project, I ended up including the headline in the Photoshop file in order to give the design even more depth.  The body copy, call to action, logo, tag line and disclosures were placed in InDesign and the composition was complete.

In-Branch Horizontal Digital Slide

In-Branch Horizontal Digital Slide

For this project, We created elements for the web and for our in-branch digital posters.  We had motion graphics created that took full advantage of the sparks and electrical charge effects on the money. 

Auto Loan Offers that turn heads

The summer of 2015 was hot, really hot, and the same were the expectations to attract new customers to act on our auto loans by the end of summer.  We had done all types of marketing in the past focusing around interest rates, terms and other features, but this time we started from scratch by splitting our audience into two and designed communications specifically for them based on the features that usually appealed to them as found in research data. 

The creative brief was ambitious: attack the two different audience groups three times in a three-month period by mail using different types of mailers, coupled with three emails that followed up each mailer.  In total the deliverables were 6 different mailers, and 6 different emails. 

For the first piece, we created a self-mailer with 6 panels (three on each side).  This piece reinforced facts about the offer.  The second piece was a letter with a well designed outer envelope that highlighted how the audience could save more with our offer.  The third piece was a post card that reinforced a specific benefit of the offer. 

For the audience targeted with the new vehicle offer, the look portrayed a close up of a bright red car, close enough to see the specs of paint.  The headlines were designed to look like chrome logos.  The design was to be simple, to help focus on the message.  The emails also followed the same look but were designed to fit the digital space with strong headers.

Self mailer for new vehicles - Mailer #1

Letter and Envelope for new vehicles - Mailer #2

Post card for new vehicles - Mailer 3

Accompanying Emails for new vehicle offer

For the audience targeted with pre-owned vehicle offers, we designed the same three mailers and emails but with a different look than the new vehicle offer.  The style utilized pattern in the design which was made profound by the integration of real customer testimonial photography. 

Self-mailer for pre-owned vehicles - Mailer #1

Letter and envelope for pre-owned vehicles - Mailer #2

Post card for pre-owned vehicles - Mailer #3

Accompanying emails for pre-owned vehicle offer

There were constants on both audience creative looks, such as the the integration of real customer testimonial photography, the use of our brand colors, and clean design and simple messages that are easy to digest.  Within each campaign, we kept the same fonts and effects to enhance the story from one piece to another.  The project was so well received, it exceeded our loan goals.