In 1998 financial giants Citicorp and Travelers Group merged to create Citigroup, the largest financial company in the world. After having designed the now ubiquitous identity for the newly formed entity, a three dimensional extension of the brand in the form of Citibank branch interiors and fascias was developed and implemented worldwide.
A visual language and colors and materials palette were developed to represent the new brand. The shade of blue that defined Citicorp’s visual identity was incorporated from the outset in the form of a blue brand wall, an arresting expression of the brand that is now a key feature of Citibank branches worldwide. The distinguishing elements of Citibank branch interiors include the blue brand wall, located behind the teller line, and open consultancy desks with lifestyle banners and translucent privacy screens.
A secondary color palette was also developed to be used for accent colors in customer waiting areas. These colors are also employed in merchandising content and are complemented by the lifestyle banner photography that hangs in the public spaces of the branches.
In conjunction with the branch interiors, new fascias were also introduced, first in Europe then Asia and America. The new fascia signage system employs a curved light box that echoes the arc of the Citi logo. They were designed to work on a variety of building types, including landmarked buildings.
Citibank interiors have two division, Citibank “Blue” environments and the more luxurious “affluent customer” environments for CitiGold. Part of the all–encompassing design program for Citibank included the brand identity and interiors for both the Blue environments and those for CitiGold.
While ensuring that the CitiGold “affluent customer” environments are consistent with the brand’s core values, the palette employed clearly distinguishes the division as exclusive and alludes to notions of contemporary luxury. The colors are understated with clean, elegant lines, warm wood paneling, frosted glass partitioning and generous furnishings throughout. Flat–screen TV’s give customers the opportunity to relax and private on–line banking terminals are available for their convenience. Backlit floating walls of a warm–toned wood are positioned in front of cream–colored walls that provide the spaces with a sense of detail and luxury. The counters and tables are rounded for a softer feel that suggests friendliness and accessibility.
As in the Blue environments, the Citigold environments feature the Citi logo behind the main customer service desk, although the sales messages that appear in the Blue environments are replaced by artwork that focuses the space more on client relationships that merchandising. The artwork consists of modern, black and white photographs taken by well–known art photographers whose work is exhibited in galleries and museums all over the world. Individual branches can select photographs from a portfolio of work specially commissioned from these artists such as the American Leo Rubinfien.