Archive | 2009

“Green” design choices make good business sense

From retail centers; to financial services branches; to entertainment, gaming and dining venues, design professionals are fielding an increasing number of requests to create exterior facades and interior environments based on environmentally friendly materials.

Business owners and operators have discovered that from their customers’ perspective, design elements inspired by natural materials can make spaces look upscale, comfortable, professional, elegant and more.

But it’s not all about looks, it’s also about sustainability. Using low-emitting, energy-saving and recycled materials and systems in overall design can reduce maintenance, improve energy-efficiency, eliminate pest damage and help curb rising operational costs.

Eco-friendly materials can also earn organizations and businesses “green building” laurels, leading to increased customer satisfaction and higher levels of staff productivity.

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Familiarity breeds good business for community-based banks

There’s an old saw that says in business, you tend to deal with those you know. That means there’s strategic and marketing value in establishing long-term business relationships and in playing the “local” card.

A premiere way to display home-town character is in the exterior and interior design of your company’s place of business.

In the financial services industry, independent banks create their own brand identity and can feature design that relates to the communities they serve. Institutions located in distinctive geographic locales may choose design elements such as facades, colors, textures, and accessories that suggest a regional theme and promote a sense of shared community. Other banks may draw design inspiration from a customer base that shares a strong cultural or ethnic heritage.

For larger institutions with extensive branch operations, creating exteriors and interiors that help establish a sense of community must incorporate national or regional brand design such as logos, colors and other elements. Melding the two identities allows branch operations to be recognized more readily as a community banks and to compete successfully for local business.

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Digital technologies monitor project design from day one to debut

If you’re on a tight budget and timeframe, the last things you need in a new construction or remodeling project are surprises – design elements that aren’t what you envisioned, structural elements not positioned where you planned, and more.

To avoid surprises, you need a design and manufacturing firm that can help you track your project visually from concept to completion.

Advanced hardware and software technologies can deliver video walk-throughs of your project, detailing exterior and interior structural and design elements.

Digital capabilities also can help you visualize your space from a customer’s perspective, gauging the impact of theme, color, lighting, décor and other design features.

Viewing your space as it will look on completion allows you to make adjustments to the design while it’s still in the planning stage. That can help to bring in your project on time, on spec and on budget.

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Progressive bank design balances high tech and high touch

Since their business became part of the hotly competitive financial services industry, success-oriented banks are focused on serving a range of customers with different priorities and expectations. How well these institutions employ interior design, furnishings, signage and other elements to attract, serve and retain customers today, will help determine profitability tomorrow.

Tech-savvy, younger customers tend to value the convenience of services they can quickly initiate and complete themselves. This segment is more likely to use ATM and kiosk outlets rather than seek out tellers for financial transactions. Way-finding signage will help provide a self-serve environment, easy access and greater customer satisfaction.

More traditional bank customers may respond positively to personal interaction with bank personnel and relationship-building customer service. Attractively furnished seating and meeting areas designed for comfort and privacy while attending to bank business are important to older customers and others who value personal service.

Creating a dynamic, cost-efficient sales environment that satisfies the needs of both high-tech and high-touch bank customers will help progressive institutions

achieve ongoing success.

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Experienced design team can boost restaurant profitability

If you’re building or remodeling a restaurant, look for exterior and interior design professionals who understand the operation of your business and have a proven track record for delivering concepts that run smoothly and look great.

Creativity and design ability are the basics. But to achieve successful restaurant design, the next step up the value chain is industry experience. A design team with restaurant business know-how can help you achieve a seamless flow in your operation that generates staff and customer satisfaction, while expanding profitability.

Seasoned design professionals also can save you money and time in selecting restaurant furniture, lighting, signage and other design elements with customer-pleasing feel and budget-pleasing durability. Look for experienced professionals who can take a design from concept through completion and bring value to your restaurant business at every step of the way.

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Smart design goes beyond establishing brand identity

Brand identity design employs logos, color palettes, signage and other unique visual images to represent how a company wants to be seen in the marketplace. It’s a powerful marketing tool. Customers attracted to a company because of what its brand promises will return with the expectation of repeating a positive experience.

But brand design can show its age. Visual representations should change as a company changes to sustain impact and spotlight new directions and capabilities. A brand update may include new exterior façades, interior design, signage, color selections, materials and more.

Evolving brand design also can spotlight value-added differences among companies that share the same brand.

McDonald’s exterior façade image of the golden arches draws immediate recognition worldwide. But outlets that serve the same area often compete for customers and stretch their brand identity to include amenities targeting specific customer segments. Their expanded brand design may include childrens’ play areas or designated tables that accommodate meetings or special events.

Good brand design never remains static. It evolves as a company’s identity and strategic direction evolve to capture competitive advantage and increase profitability.

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Gaming industry takes stock as the economy revives

Although traditionally resistant to financial downturns, the gaming industry has lost ground in this recession. That vulnerability has casino owners thinking less about growth and expansion and more about renovation and remodeling to keep pace with economic recovery.

That means implementing cost-efficient design strategies that utilize existing footprints and structures while adding fresh design elements. And it means renovations that deliver value and flexibility with a minimum of down time and loss of business.

By positioning their operations to be ready when discretionary spending rises, credit markets thaw and other economic restraints ease, casino owners are moving to capture new opportunities and return to profitability.

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Design for customers who want more from shopping experiences

It’s a reliable retail axiom that the longer customers remain in a store, the more they’re likely to buy. To engage customers, savvy retailers are designing their stores to reflect targeted consumer lifestyles and spark the interest of niche markets.

Creative elements such as signage, marketing visuals and lighting not only make stores more efficient and spotlight value-added products and services, they can lead to longer in-store time and more purchases.

In the current economic downturn more retailers are chasing fewer consumer dollars. Designing to engage customers from walk-in to check-out is a smart investment that yields more sales today and greater potential for repeat business tomorrow.

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