CU Water Cooler

Room for Art

Brent DixonComment

...and it really got me thinking—I think we can all agree that credit union design, and actually, design across a lot of business, is less-than-inspiring. At its best, it’s clean and efficient. At its worst, it’s messy and gut-churning.

Do you think there’s room for inspired, really creative visual design in credit union marketing? In financial services in general? What keeps designers in financial services, and the people who lead them, from pushing the envelope on imagery that will wake people up, make them excited, drive them beyond a logical reaction into an emotional reaction.

I’m always struck by what an emotional industry this is on the inside – people helping people, credit unions bending over backwards to take serious chances for the good of their members, I’ve seen more CU folks crying at credit union conferences about the passion for their work than I can count – so why does that emotion stop on the inside?

When it comes down to it, credit unions seem terrified of generating any strong emotions in their communications. Even the most “emotionally driven” pieces seem designed to generate a smile, or an “aw, that’s nice.” What about belly-laughs, heavy tears, or the feeling that you need to get-the-hell up and go do something with yourself? Is that out of the question in the financial space?


Brent Dixon lives in Austin, Texas. He is a designer, educator, musician and doodler. Brent works with the Filene Research Institute to apply their research in the real world, runs the design studio The Habdash, and founded the young professionals' community the Cooperative Trust.