In The Past . . .

Early in my career I was working for a small advertising agency in Boston and one of our clients was a local bank with five or six offices throughout the Boston area. They had made the decision to install automatic teller machines at all their offices and asked our agency to come up with the graphics for the machines and the cards as well as advertising to promote them.

I began doing layouts and playing with type combinations, color, graphic styles . . . the things all graphic designers do when creating a logo and the branding of same.

I came up with a design that was very graphic and used the color combination of green and blue. The type was bold and visible from a good distance, important when used in signage. The art included a graphic combination of a sun and a moon which helped to depict the fact that these teller machines were available twenty-four hours a day. (This was at a time when the ATM machines were just being introduced in banking. Yeah, it was that long ago.)
We presented this design, with a few variations on the theme, to the president of the bank and he was pleased and impressed with the concept . . . except for one thing. He wanted to change the color scheme. Why? Because his wife was redoing their bathroom at home and he wanted to have the ATM card and signage be in black and peach.

I could not believe it. Black and PEACH? From a bathroom project? In all my design arrogance, I was livid, amazed and totally powerless. I worked for a wonderful company headed by a wonderful owner. But the client was the client and ultimately I had to change the color scheme to . . . black and peach.

When I first saw the printed cards I was a bit surprised. And the signs at each machine were highly visible. What surprised me was how the cards were so easy to find in your wallet . . . due to the colors. The signs on the machines were visible due to . . . the colors. Oh, yes, the graphics were nice and bold and made them stand out as well. But it was the colors that stood out, mostly from other ATM machines being installed around the area. Can you guess the color schemes of the other bank’s logos? Red and black or. . . green and blue. If the bank president hadn’t insisted on the peach and black, their logo would have looked like everyone else’s.

What a lesson I learned from that experience! I learned not to judge the input from others. I realized that I can learn more by keeping my ears open and my mouth shut. And it made me look at other design specialties like interior, textile, fashion and even hair design. You can get all sorts of ideas from the shape of things, the colors and textures and sometimes even the smells. Good design is good design.

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