Case Study

Dayton Freight Headquarters Environmental Design

Real Art teamed up with Dayton Freight to redesign the interior of their corporate headquarters, located just north of the Gem City. Founded in 1981, Dayton Freight is an LTL regional carrier whose fleet includes over 4,500 employees, 3,803 semi trailers, and 56 service centers all over the Midwest. 

We focused our attention on their two most utilized spaces: the front lobby with adjoining executive conference room (ECR), and the learning center. The lobby and ECR serve as the hub for client and vendor interaction. Meanwhile, the learning center houses continuing education, on-boarding, and large company gatherings. Our challenge was to design unique spaces according to their function and audience—all unified under the Dayton Freight brand. 

Lobby & Executive Conference Room
Dayton Freight prides themselves on providing excellent service to their customers. We wanted to elevate the lobby and ECR interiors to reflect that same level of quality. We started by creating an awards wall prominently displaying a vast array of industry accolades. Way-finding signage routed out of walnut slabs were mounted on free standing poles—one sign for each of their 56 service centers with the year they were established, city code, and mileage from the Dayton HQ etched into the hardwood. Walnut was also used for the carefully crafted frame surrounding a monitor which scrolls through pertinent info for guests as they wait. The stunning new front desk is framed in by the tiled feature wall with a custom high-gloss logo sign we created.

The most talked about item of the space is the custom fabricated 6′ American flag made out of alternating hot-rolled and stainless steel stripes. A declaration encapsulating the heart of the Dayton Freight mission is silkscreened on the flag, entitled “United We Serve.” Already the flag has been a talking point for many passing through as well as a backdrop for photographs.

Walking into the conference room, it’s impossible to miss the 11′ Dayton Freight logo hanging on the walnut wood wall. Made entirely of steel—black and stainless—the sign serves as a refined backdrop for important client interactions. Large angular Mission and Vision black steel panels hang on either side of the new glass double doors. And an elegant glass dry erase board is surrounded by orange sconces—bringing color to the space.

Beyond environmental elements, we worked in conjunction with Dayton Freight’s interior design team to provide recommendations such as carpet, paint, tile, doors, ceiling tiles, lighting, and removing unnecessary structures to make the space feel larger, brighter, and more inviting. 

Learning Center
Dayton Freight’s learning center has a decidedly different, internal focus. It serves as the visual representation of the Dayton Freight brand—recognizing team accomplishments and reinforcing company values. While some elements—such as the custom walnut frame monitor, awards wall, mission and vision signage, and way-finding service center signs—were carried over from upstairs, we also created entirely new environmental elements.

The largest piece we created was the “You Are The Dayton Difference” installation—featuring custom tire tread typography routed and mounted to the wall. Designing, testing, fabricating, and installing was a colossal team effort—but the result speaks for itself.

We considered every detail when creating this unique space. Instead of the elegant black steel panels from the lobby and ECR, we used raw hot-rolled steel panels throughout, with black hex head bolts to give an industrial look and feel. Large format photographic panels feature employees and service center images edged with orange PVC. Tone-on-tone stripes, brand-colored walls and doors, and truck placard room signs all added authentic touches that reinforce the brand messaging.

From one team to another, Real Art would like to congratulate Dayton Freight on their fantastic new spaces and letting us be a part of their transformation.

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