Employee handbooks should give direction and set a structure so people can be the best they can be in their work environment. They serve a necessary function.
But who reads them? Perhaps more importantly, who revisits them more than once on their own free will? Most are boring… especially for banks (at least the ones we’ve seen). We wanted to change that and the leadership at Core Bank wanted to change that.

Starting with the content, we held a series of workshops with the two merging bank employees from Centennial Bank and Omaha State Bank to find common ground in what they desire in a workplace. I really like the leadership at Core Bank – they wanted these values to be built from the employees and not from the top down.

The inclusiveness of the employees creating the company’s values drove the content for their Employee Handbooks, nicknamed the Core Code. That still doesn’t change the fact that these handbooks are stuffed in a drawer and forgotten about. We wanted the Core Code to be looked at again, to be touched, and to be displayed on shelves or desktops.

So we worked with our friends at Field Paper and Barnhart Press to find beautiful, soft, velvety thick black Plike paper to form a box with an embossed logo. Then we worked with our friends at Porridge Papers and got each page letterpressed on 220 lb thick, pulpy paper to slide inside the box and peek out the top.

Here’s a short video of them being created by hand at Porridge Papers, plus Core Bank’s CEO, John Sorrell, signing each one.


The employee handbook is a necessity, but can be boring. We designed the experience for the Core Code to be more intriguing to look at and touch, made up of content built from the very folks reading it. With an experiential branding mindset, we can design better interactions between humans and brands.

Want to connect your brand to your audience through experiential thinking? Let’s talk.
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