Project Story: American Family Insurance Dreambank

American Family Insurance believes in the power and purpose of dreams. Offering a variety of insurance products, they seek to not only protect the American dream, but to propel the American dreamer to new possibilities. A brick-and-mortar DreamBank space, located in the heart of downtown Madison, Wis. (not far from American Family’s headquarters) provides an inviting space for community members to explore their dreams, share stories and gather ideas through temporary exhibits and seasonal programming.

american family insurance dreambank

BHDP worked with American Family Insurance to create the Summer 2016 exhibition, titled “Choose Happy.” Drawing visual inspiration from the look and feel of a farmer’s market, our team of designers crafted a journey by which DreamBank guests could explore answers to the question: What makes you happy? Design elements include a mock lemonade stand featuring tips for turning negative thoughts into positive ones; baskets displayed as vegetable bins at which visitors could “shop” suggestions for joy-filled activities; and a park bench photo-op. Exhibit giveaways include a farmer’s market tote bag with the BHDP-designed “Choose Happy” logo screen-printed and custom journal encouraging visitors to make time for joy in their everyday lives.

This successful design implementation resulted in BHDP winning ongoing work with American Family Insurance. “We are very pleased with how everything turned out with this first exhibit,” said Amanda Tillman, DreamBank Manager. “The creativity of BHDP’s design team, their ability to implement ideas quickly and their professional partnership with our team is a triple win!”

Continue reading to discover more of BHDP’s design process for this project and to see final images of the space.

Design Process

Every design at BHDP, be it a full fit-out of a multi-million-dollar office space or a small art program for a new start-up receives the same amount of attention through our iterative design process. Providing a systematic approach to creative ideation, our team of architects and designers work closely with each client to achieve strategic business results for our clients.

Our work with American Family Insurance’s Madison, Wis. DreamBank began with a series of thematic explorations focused on how to convey the abstract concept of happiness. Several versions of “mood boards” gave rise to three options. The selected option, below, reveals a color palette and style reminiscent of a local farmer’s market. Focused on organic materials, wood textures, and splashes of red, the mood board offered visual inspiration for BHDP to develop an interactive customer journey for DreamBank guests to discover their own “happy.”

red farmers market inspired mood board

BHDP’s expertise in crafting intentional customer journeys for our retail clients played a heavy role in our development of a DreamBank journey. Equal parts interactive (as seen at the welcome center and meeting space) and introspective (as seen in the introduction space and community wall) the DreamBank journey helps visitors identify joy-filled moments in their own lives.

customer journey exhibit design american family insurance

Mock-ups of movable fixtures play an important role in bringing our ideas to life. Infusing various farmer’s market motifs throughout the fixtures provide visitors with a distinct experience. Here, a fresh produce stand displays fresh ideas for infusing joy into one’s life.

farmers market themed exibit

Design concepts print materials, including sticker sheets (left) and tote bag (middle) provide a tactile component to the exhibit and further expand the farmer’s market motif.

american family insurance dreambank


DreamBank’s internal team of production artists led the way in producing much of the signs, print materials and fixture graphics seen in the final exhibit. In turn, BHDP lent DreamBank our expertise in installation to make sure the design intent was faithfully executed.

choose happy dreambank


A mock lemonade stand with custom-designed cards features “lemon-aides”—personalized recommendations for making the most out of life’s trials.

dream fearlessly dreambank

Custom cards and stamps provide a tactile dimension to the customer experience.

american family insurance dreambank

An introductory panel (left) sets visitors’ expectations while visiting the DreamBank. Complimentary tote bags featuring the “Choose Happy” emblem provide exhibit coordinators an easy way to track the number of visitors while also encouraging guests to share their experience with friends.

choose happy american family insurance dreambank exhibit

Finally, what’s a custom exhibit without a built-in photo-op? The “Choose Happy” emblem provides a great hashtag for easy sharing on visitor’s favorite social media platform, while also giving DreamBank an opportunity to share its story with a wider audience.

dreambank choose happpy handwritten logo

To discover how BHDP can help your organization design an interactive customer experience that translates into consumer engagement and better business results, contact us. 

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