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Project in focus: Nationwide's Croft Branch

Gavin McMurray - Friday, July 17, 2015

Merson Signs recently completed the design, manufacture and installation of a new signage programme at Nationwide Building Society’s Croft Branch, located within their Swindon head office.

Nationwide are currently undergoing a period of review regarding their branding and image, with the aim of attracting a more youthful customer base. With this in mind their new design language invokes the look and feel of a home, to create a more relaxed and welcoming environment, highly suited to attracting the business of those new to the financial world.

The philosophy involved dividing the branch into different areas, each giving a slightly different impression. The front seating area for example has adopted a “living room” feel, while the area directly outside the branch features casual bench seating, designed with the goal of this area occasionally playing host to informal banking seminars.

The signage elements we produced for the branch’s new appearance are designed to complement and enhance the welcoming surroundings, as well as the overall atmosphere Croft branch is looking to portray. 


Entrance Fascia Signage

As the branch is located indoors and doesn’t have traditional exterior walls, the external branch branding signage is located on a beam that runs the length of the open-plan branch entrance. This necessitated a change from the usual methods of installing exterior branch fascia signage. The unique Croft external signage utilises 4mm aluminium flat cut letters affixed directly to the branch’s entrance beam. Due to the signage’s uncommon placing, the rear of the letters were also visible, necessitating that the rear of the signage must be as neat and presentable as the front; not something we usually have to concern ourselves with. The letters’ red underline is extended out beyond the beam, which provides a trough for LED lighting to be installed. 

Wooden Panel Signage

Wooden directional signage is located in various places around the branch, detailing areas such as cash machines and numbered meeting rooms. These were manufactured from 5mm timber, with their lettering removed using a flatbed router. This timber panel is then backlaid with an acrylic panel to form the completed sign with recessed lettering.

Some of these panels are located on walls with a “ridged” effect constructed from resin, designed to invoke the appearance of rows of books. The wooden signage interacts with the wall design by representing bookends, to further invoke the “home” feel of Nationwide’s new branding.

Picture Frames

In many different areas around the branch are groupings of picture frames, in order to accentuate the “home” atmosphere of the design language. These were manufactured from extruded aluminium, and fixed to the branch’s distinctive fabric walls. This was achieved by strategically positioning timber beams behind the fabric walls, to act as fixing points for the picture frames to be secured onto.

The images chosen for these picture frames aren’t typical of the imagery you would usually see inside a bank; Nationwide have opted to use these images to further aid the new “home” branding language by including pictures such as cartoon-style images of flowers and black and white photos of old buildings.

Despite the complexities of this project, it was successfully delivered on a remarkably tight timescale:

• 18th November: Our very first meeting with Nationwide on the project, after being approached about the project only the previous day.
• 24th November: The job has been fully priced and a quote submitted, less than one week after the initial meeting.
• 8th December: We receive confirmation of the order from Nationwide.
• 8th to 18th December: The manufacturing period, during which all branch signage is constructed over just ten days.
• 3rd and 4th January: Following the festive period, installation of all signage takes place over an intensive two days in early January.