Image

Any business that is consistently working with other people’s money should convey professionalism, trust, commitment, and establish a level of confidence in their capabilities to manage money. A bank logo should instantly communicate with an audience and reflect it’s business division as well as it’s trusting personality. This is why it is extremely important for banks to have a well-designed identity. Many bank logos are designed with similar elements such as patriotic icons and colors. It is always a challenge to create original logos for companies offering similar services in a world where designers are finding inspiration in the same places.

How do banks effectively communicate with their audience through their logo? Fortunately, financial and banking services advertise everywhere! We see banking identities on retail branch signs on every street corner, TV commercials, bumper sticks, even on our writing utensils! By using a logo as their main marketing tool, banks possess the power to make you want to bank with them.

The following banks have well-known logos, but do we actually know how and what these logos are telling us?

Citibank, designed by Paula Scher

citibank

The Citibank logo offers security. By incorporating an arc over the lowercase ‘t’ in Citibank you have strong and powerful red umbrella sheltering and taking care of it’s trustworthy patrons.

SunTrust, designed by siegel+gale

suntrust

“The new logo is a beacon that reflects the warmth, energy, and diverse range of the SunTrust organization.”-siegel+gale. The use of warm colors express the feeling of internal warmth for the SunTrust brand and it’s local, tight-knit community.

Chase Manhattan Bank, designed by Chermayeff & Geismar

chase

Chase Manhattan Bank has merged with JPMorgan, yet its original abstract symbol still remains the same. By using the same shape over and over again, this logo reinforces trust. The repetitive symbol establishes a sense of familiarity which makes us feel comfortable trusting them with our money.

Bank of New Zealand, designed by DNA Design Auckland

bankofnewzealand

Through the use of the color blue alone this logo represents confidence, trust, and loyalty. The typeface, Serrano which was designed specifically for Bank of New Zealand has a very friendly italicized font which is used in their logo. Modern, friendly, and trustworthy, everything you look for in a bank.

Bank of America, designed by Bob Wolf

bankofamerica

The icon used in this logo is meant to represent the USA flag, which shows patriotism. Behold the power of 3’s! The best things in life come in 3’s, so they say. The repetition of the double-lined pattern repeating 3 times shows reinforcement and familiarity. The bright red and blue also draw us in by showing strength, power, trust & excitement.

These are just a few of the bank logos used today that follow similar design notions. The beautiful thing about these logos is the way they communicate with an audience and transmit different feelings and meanings. A logo with no power or meaning behind it is simply nothing more than good design.

For many more bank logos check this post.


Spread The Word:

| Stumble | | Delicious | Float | Digg | Bump

Related posts:


31 Comments For This Post

  1. rogerpfaff Says:

    another often called example is the Deutsche Bank logo. http://www.db.com/usa/

    it’s a square for stability with a line inside from lower left to top right showing growth (for the ltr readers in the world).

  2. Brad C Says:

    That’s cool, I never realized that the red bar in the Citybank logo was an umbrella, it’s always looked like a frown to me.

    I once read that the flag in the Bank of America logo is suppose to also represent farm fields. The fields are there to spark feeling of traditional rural American values in the bank’s customers.

  3. Rob Chant Says:

    I’m surprised you’ve not commented on the fact that all these logos use red and blue exclusively.

  4. Ilaria Mauric Says:

    The bank of America logo reminds a field which can be cultivated with what you prefer. The position as well I suppose has benn choosen to suggest this being close to the ground (in fact, a logo is usually placed above. A cultivated field suggest me trust in the future, hope, projects… imho.

  5. Antonea Nabors Says:

    Jacob,
    Thanks for the opportunity to contribute to Logo Designer Blog!

    Roger,
    I appreciate the simplicity of the Deutsche Bank logo, however I automatically think ‘percentage symbol’ every time I look at it. Looking at it from the perspective of it’s intended meaning makes me respect it much more!

    Brad,
    I was never aware that the BOA logo had that meaning to it. I can see that now, but not from a quick glance. Do you feel it is important for the BOA logo to somehow portray that meaning to someone passing it on the street? Without having the knowledge of the logo representing farm fields, would ‘traditional rural American values’ somehow leave the smallest footprint in your subconsciousness when viewing it?

    Rob,
    Thanks for the mention of the red in blue. As I was researching these logos the usage of red and blue was just so repetitive and relevant I didn’t talk about them upfront, but I do mention what blue and red mean within certain logos. When looking at these 5 logos do you see any other meanings that their colors may represent?

  6. Unit B Says:

    I’d be curious to know if these banks all go with red, white and blue to avoid any notion that they are less than patriotic. Hell, even Deutsche Bank went blue. I think Wachovia (blue and green) is another pretty good sample, but do these banks dilute their messages by chasing the same color palette not distancing themselves from the competition? Not sure I know the answer, but raising it for debate. From a creative standpoint, I think SunTrust is the best execution here Their redesign from a couple of years ago is well executed. Personally, I think the Citi is weakened by the lightweight typeface, less powerful. (Ironic, given their status during this financial meltdown.) Great post; let’s keep the debate going.

  7. Jacob Cass Says:

    No worries Antonea, would love to have you back for another one if you are interested. Also, did you see the link I added at the bottom of the article? Many more bank logos there.

    A bank here in Australia called Commonwealth uses yellow and black (my bank) and it certainly stands out when you are looking for an ATM.

  8. Antonea Nabors Says:

    Ilaria,
    Thanks for the clarification and deeper meaning for the BOA logo. It is very interesting to see the approach a designer takes and what they are trying to convey when designing.

    Unit B,
    That is something worth thinking about. In general I think any design breaking away from the norm of their niche always stands out more. Whether it be a failed attempt to break away from the norm or a revolutionizing design, we usually notice the odd ball out before we notice the same. Noticeably, some of the biggest banks have blue within their color palettes, but could you imagine them using pink? SunTrust has done a very good job with making their logo look different while not straying too far off from the similar elements that define bank branding. I think the majority of bank logos fall short by focusing too much on their name standing out and not enough on their icon. I don’t think using blue is necessarily diluting their message, but I do think the use of blue as their dominant color isn’t helping them stand out over the rest. What are you thoughts about the frequent usage of blue? Do you think its over used?

    Jacob,
    I’ve got a couple things I’ve been meaning to get around to that I’d love to share through the site. I’ll be in touch. I also just gave the Commonwealth logo a look. I love the simplicity of it. It is so simple, yet very memorable. Great link as well, I came across it while researching this topic.

  9. Unit B Says:

    Antonea:
    I think you got it right, regarding blue: maybe it’s not a dilution of message, but it doesn’t help them stand out to any particular degree, which is the goal. I like blue as much as anyone, but at least SunTrust put it to interesting use with the red-orange-gold icon. (Actually, a strong hunter green in place of the dark blue would work well with their icon, too, and would play up the same qualities.)

    Blue indicates stability, trust and so on. Jacob’s reference to the black-gold of Commonwealth might be shocking to the American system, as we are a bit more puritanical than we sometimes like to admit. (Oh, and don’t underestimate his ATM remark; I think he’s dead-on there as to functionality of the color palette.) And personally, I’d like to see more banks create icons or symbols (as you covered above) and stop relying on their initials—BB&T, I’m talking to you, although you score points for going with burgundy and NO BLUE—and calling it a logo. Here, I admire Chase’s icon: not matter how many mergers and acquisitions occurred over the years, it’s still recognized as Chase in one form or another, with or without the typography accompanying it.

    Great discussion, everyone.

  10. Erwin Says:

    It’s really a shame that no matter how good a logo is, or how much trust and professionalism it exudes, the positive effect of their great logos is killed off by their recent behaviour on the financial markets.. :-)

  11. Jacob Cass Says:

    Unit B,

    I suppose it can also relate back to your nation’s colour palette of red and blue however I checked out some other Aussie banks and they all are red or blue as well… ANZ: blue, Westbac: Blue, St George: red, ANZ: red, HSBC: red.

    The only one out of the ‘norm’ seems to be Commonwealth… not sure if our national colour of gold has anything to do with it?

  12. Jacob Cass Says:

    PS. Just came across this picture that compares Australian banks and lenders:

  13. Antonea Nabors Says:

    Unit B,
    I have BB&T :( Haha. I almost think BB&T would be more appealing in blue opposed to burgundy. Personally, I think its quite blah looking. The Chase logo will forever be one of the most recognizable banking symbols, and I applaud them on establishing their brand with the use of a symbol instead of a typeface. Thanks for the great discussion!

    Jacob,
    I like the Westpac logo. I know Westpac is a pretty large nationwide bank in Australia and I wish I was able to dig up more information on it before making this post. Unfortunately, I couldn’t put together enough information about the logo to make it relevant to this post. Great find of the Australia banks and lenders image as well!

  14. Hernan Valencia Says:

    Long time reader, first time poster. Thank you for the article Antonea and in turn Jacob.

    A couple of things. First, the Sun Trust mark is not a good example of a financial institution. I look at that and I want to drink it. I understand the web medium may be altering its true color but the vivacity and ebullience tells me they don’t take themselves too seriously. It’s a matter of preference I suppose. Maybe the angle of the sunrays is too 90s ‘Extreme’. :P

    The citibank logo is strong. While I agree with the word bank being a bit light, the ‘city’ part is what’s usually displayed. Simple and iconic. Strong.

    Bank of America has come a long way in branding and it certainly shows. Though I think the Bank’s image needs to be updated a tad, the logo will still work with it.

    Chase is by far the best. I picture unity and strength due to the physical properties of its shape. We know how objects behave in space with gravity, we have physical memory of how push and pull interacts with the world. While it may be undiscerning to the naked eye, our mind makes sense of its shape and might imagine a tug of hands gripping at each other’s wrists.

    BNZ does not communicate a strong presence to me. While this may be due to provincial tastes and culture (as is demonstrated in the comments) in America, this logotype would not do well as a bank. It’s too soft, too anthropomorphic. Wrong type for this industry.

  15. Greg Moss Says:

    I always thought the Bank of America logos flag symbol looked like a flag obviously. But what was not mentioned was it looks like a woven pattern as in the fabric of America. I think it make more sense then fields. Just a thought.

  16. Unit B Says:

    http://money.cnn.com/galleries.....index.html

    And the discussion continues! This appeared in Money today. I agree with some ratings (Citi), disagree with others (Wells Fargo, though I’d modify their colors). Not enough logos included. Discuss…

  17. iDale Says:

    I would have liked to see many more bank logos, how about Financial institutions??? I believe there is a lot of meaning behind the likes of SAXO, Deutsche Bank, Investec, Merril Lynch, etc…

  18. Thais Says:

    Good evening. Never let the demands of tomorrow interfere with the pleasures and excitement of today.
    I am from Leone and know bad English, tell me right I wrote the following sentence: “This option is not available on all.”

    Thank you very much :). Thais.

  19. fezwitch Says:

    Antonia,

    any idea what font that wespac logo (grey) is?

    or a guess?

    thanks
    fezwitch

  20. Antonea Nabors Says:

    Hey Fezwitch,

    I am not sure, it is a bit of a difficult one because its sans-serif and then the ‘a’ has a serif on it. If you are just looking to use a similar font I’d recommend trying Fedra Sans or Gills Sans. The ‘t’ in Gills Sans is a little different, but I think either of these fonts will do the job for you.

    I’d suggest visiting http://www.whatthefont.com and seeing if you can’t get a better suggestion for that font.

    Thanks!

  21. Arshia Says:

    it has been said that the colors red, yellow and blue stimulate hunger… hence most of the well known logos in the world such as McDonalds, Pizza Hut, Coca-cola,etc. have chosen such colors. Since most things in life have double meaning, im guessing that blue (as mentioned before) is a sign of security as is red for strength n power. But what i find is interesting is that not only do colors make a huge impact, the use of sans serifs somehow relate batter with banks than serifs!

  22. Modesette Says:

    Does anyone know the story behind the BOA change from a silver to red background? The epilepsy-inducing blue on red is an eye-shocking, loss-of-class change to me and I am wondering what drove the decision to make the change. Did some asthetically challenged exec from on high mandate the change? Am I totally off here?

  23. Nana Wyldhorse Says:

    The CHASE Logo, familiarity ? it’s a NAZI swastika, familiarity to fascist corporate bankster owners, its is left hand, inverted and denotes material gain via left-handed motives. IF it were turning in the opposite direction it would denote good luck and good fortune. Trust? About as comfortably as I can spit a rat! But hey, This is my option, I could be right.

  24. Unit B Says:

    I’d heard this about the Chase logo before (not the swastika remark), but needed to find the source:

    “The first water supply system in New York was developed by the ancestor of Chase Bank; in fact, the current logo of the bank, an octagon, represents a cross-section of the original wooden water main.”
    - Privatization in the city: successes, failures, lessons, Emanuel S. Savas

    I love that, 14 months later, the discussion has been revived and continues.

  25. Chris W Says:

    I loved the BNZ logotype as soon as it was launched. It’s a big move forward for them.

  26. Steven Gorman Says:

    if you look closely at JP Morgan’s and Chase logo. their logo forms the outer edges of the freemason symbols,compus and triangle,male-female symbols, it also creates a right leaning motified swastica and the letter G is formed on the inside when it is all joined together..It is a modified freemasonry symbol. the bank of america is also a distortion of this very same thing but put in sever perspective. This is all being done under the guize of patroitism. check out freeman’s videos on corp. logos. mazda is a great example,for it is the owl they worship,light seen in darkness. the sun trust is also luciferian in nature. Have you ever herd the remark got a lucifer? or strike a match,he is the morning star and who these guys worship in these secret societies. They just happen to control the banking empires.

  27. Roboy Says:

    Chase Bank logo is nothing different from Nazi Swastika in shrunken form.
    Bank Of America logo is pure masonic symbol 33.
    An arch or bow above citibank logo is a rise of the sun which is worship of the sun.
    Sun rays above Suntrust logo is another symbol which is used also in worshiping of the sun.
    All powerful and wealthy agencies are using symbols which they fully understand what they mean.
    It’s all around us, just look at your 1 dollar bill before they replace it by another paper currency.

  28. David Michael Fong Says:

    The Bank of New Zealand logo is weak. Too playful for me to want to save my money there. Bad kern between the “b” and the “nz”–I know it supposed to be sep’d into to elements but too much gap.

  29. Thomas Buyea - Fla. News Service Says:

    I think the Bank of America Flag logo looks like an insulting modern art Jimmy Hendrics National Anthem version of the U.S. Flag and should be viewed as an insult to every American.
    What do you think ? Ranger116@webtv.net
    a2a300009b765c33b5f6f4e01805d9b6.9441.jpeg
    Address:http://myfonts-wtf.s3.amazonaws.com/a2/a2a300009b765c33b5f6f4e01805d9b6.9441.jpeg Changed:9:46 AM on Wednesday, June 2, 2010

  30. antiplanner Says:

    The Chase Manhattan logo is a cross section of four wooden planks fitted together to form a water pipe. This is an homage to the Manhattan Company, Chase’s earliest predecessor company, which was formed by Aaron Burr in 1799 to provide water to the city of New York. By 1808 the Manhattan Company became the Bank of Manhattan and sold the water company to the city (but still identified itself as a water company nearly a century later, thus the logo).

  31. Katey Says:

    yes, check out the commonwealth bank symbol, i think that yellow square with the black shape in it has some deep mathematical significance, but i have no idea what it would be. Just a rumour.

8 Trackbacks For This Post

  1. VelvetAnt | Design Blog Says:

    [...] an article I’ve written for Logo Design Blog and I’d like to share it was all of my readers: The Power and Meaning Behind Bank Logos. If you find the article interesting in the slightest bit please feel free to join in the [...]

  2. Life on File » More Art Says:

    [...] The Power and Meaning Behind Bank Logos (20) [...]

  3. The Text of Bank Logos « The Texts of Corporate Communication Says:

    [...] found a blog post by Antonea Nabors. The author does a brief, but effective job of giving some ideas of what some of [...]

  4. Comedy Helps Expose Healthcare Propaganda – A Few Examples | DIYEHR Says:

    [...] in this nice blue packet I get from Centocor is a booklet – with glossy stock photos of fake Crohn’s [...]

  5. Citibank logo « Society X Says:

    [...] Ostensibly the Citibank logo designed by a company called Pentagram ‘offers security. By incorporating an arc over the lowercase ‘t’ in Citibank you have strong and powerful red umbrella sheltering and taking care of it’s trustworthy patrons.’ source:  http://logodesignerblog.com/bank-logo-designs/ [...]

  6. Bank Ties : Mark Mcleod Says:

    [...] I also came across this website which discusses “The Power and Meaning Behind Bank Logos” [...]

  7. Quick Tip: Bank of America Grants Search | The Good Steward Says:

    [...] Photo credit [...]

  8. Bank symbles | Shopalotzstore Says:

    [...] The Power and Meaning Behind Bank Logos | Logo Design BlogApr 6, 2009 … Chase Manhattan Bank has merged with JPMorgan, yet its original abstract symbol still remains the same. By using the same shape over and … [...]

Leave a Reply



  • Most Popular
  • Most Recent
  • Most Comments
  • Recent Comments
  • Tags
  • Subscribe For Free

LDB Flickr Pool - Join & Upload Your Own!