Capital One Cafe, Philadelphia

In November of 2018 our special Card Studio team (at Capital One Labs, NYC) designed a pop-up experience in the Capital One Cafe at Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia.

After 2 years of prototyping with curved credit card designs, we finally found a manufacturing process that would get us to pilot them with the public. Past research already suggested people will love these cards, but we’ve never been able to collect hard data from actual customers. Suddenly, we had only 4 months to get ready for a 3 month pilot! So, the primary goal of the pilot was to get these new card designs into the hands of actual customers and capture their reactions.


my role

As Creative Director over the Pilot my role was vast and deep, but my responsibilities (in short) looked like this (more details below):

  • Establish Project Goals and Learning Agenda.

  • Define the ideal Customer Journey.

  • Share our pop-up pilot vision with partners across the company.

  • Direct the team to execute touch points along the Customer Journey.

  • Share our results with partners.

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Project Goals

We wanted to learn about…

  • Cafe engagement. Does traffic or usage of the cafe change from running a pilot like this?

  • Card use. Does card usage increase or decrease once a customer gets one of these cards? How are the cards holding up for durability in materials?

  • Ability to fulfill. Can we (Labs) actually coordinate partners across Capital One lines of business to deliver on getting these cards into customer hands?

  • Customer motivation and conversion. Have we made a beautiful end-to-end customer experience, from physical to digital touch points?

  • Brand impact. Is there any change in customer perception of the Capital brand because of this pilot?


Learning Agenda

Our learning agenda for the pilot was robust consisting of a multi-pronged approach to capture qualitative and quantitative data.

Qualitative approach.

  • In Cafe Interviews.

  • D-Scout Customer Journals.

  • Call Center Listening.

  • Social Media Listening.

  • Cafe Ambassadors interviews & surveys.

Quantitative approach.

  • We monitored the foot traffic levels in the café.

  • Had analytics on the sign-up app to measure conversion rates.

  • Had a survey in the sign-up app to understand customer motivation to sign up.

  • We are also analyzing spend data on the pilot participants and plan to send an NPS survey to all participants.

Customer Journey

We kicked off a stakeholder workshop to map out constraints and limitations of the cafe, interface with cafe staff, study the space, flow, touch points, and identify opportunities to create a seamless, elegant experience for our customers. The customer journey map served as our guide all the way to pilot.

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Share the vision

It was up to me to build excitement, get buy-in and leverage the expertise of our numerous partners. It was the first time a pilot at this scale required partners in so many lines of business. I basically went on a road show tour to align our Bank and Cafes team, Card team, Marketing, Brand, and various vendors on a single vision.

Creative direction

When it came to designing the experience, I held us true to our vision, acted as a guide and collaborator with designers across the org. Together we created physical card designs, UX for in-cafe sign-up app, environment design, research and learning agenda, manage multiple vendor relationships and creative resources.


Since March I have been on a stakeholder roadshow sharing the results we have collected, established next steps, fixes, and recommendations for new process for interfacing between teams. I am also championing we formulate a new team that helps get product pilots in the cafes faster and easier, requiring less red tape and more support for pivoting and iterating.

(Actual findings details are confidential. Ask me if you want more of the story.)


To humanize a banking experience takes time, and can mean starting over and over again, in this case years. But I am currently working on telling a more complete story about card development on the following site: Pilot in a Philly cafe, to SXSW, and to co-creating card designs with artists in Miami. (please request access directly from me.)