This blog is about Graphic Design, Vector Art, and Cartoon Illustration

July 5, 2014

Bringing diversity to Bank One Arizona brochures

If you lived in the Phoenix, Arizona area in the '90s, and visited a Bank One branch (now Chase) you would have seen your face on the brochures. Or at least someone who actually kind'a looked like you. That is, the brochures showed diversity. There were Hispanic people, Black people, Indian people, and so on. And this was brand-new to Phoenix.

That isn't to say that Phoenix hasn't had an ethnically diverse population, it just means that before this time, that population wasn't represented in advertising.

When Bank One purchased Valley National Bank in 1992, I was one of the graphic designers on staff in the marketing department. And one of the directives we received from corporate was to redesign the brochures (we called them *take ones*) that were in the branches, to represent a diverse population. And I volunteered for the project.

The truth was that stock photography in those days did not include people of various ethnicities. Nor did it have much of professional women. So after several frustrating weeks of looking through every stock photography book that we had, I approached my boss with a suggestion. We would shoot the photos here, and I would hire the photographers, who would be pros, and the models, who would be amateurs. Yes, everyone who was in those brochures were employees of Bank One, who worked in the Bank One Building (now Chase Tower).

There were 35 floors of people there, so I had my choice. And I would walk up to people, hand them my card, explain what I was doing, and ask if they would like to be a model in a brochure. It paid exactly one dollar, and a model release form was required.

Of course, I was required to keep any couples unmixed (Phoenix wasn't quite ready for mixed race couples then!) so many times I had to create *couples*, some of whom did not appreciate the spouse I chose for their photo shoot.

Bank One Arizona did a lot of this, and I wasn't the only art director who did them. I wish I'd kept all of those brochures. They were in Bank One branches in Arizona, Texas, Utah, and Colorado all through the '90s. And then after a while I noticed that the brochures were being updated and replaced. It was sad to see the faces of my friends go away.

By the way, diversity meant including everyone, including white males. That was me.

No comments:

Post a Comment