Top 10 Big Banking & Financial Institution Logos, and their Meanings

A good banking and financial institution logo should convince the public to trust them with their hard earned money.  The big institutions especially realize the importance of using their corporate logo and brand identity to communicate that trust.  Here are a few of the big financial institutions and the meaning behind their logos, in no particular order:

01. Bank of America

Bank of America is one of the major banks in the United States of America.  According to their branding firm, the logo represents the landscape of America and the financial landscape.  The movement of the red and blue stripes suggests progress and the promising future ahead.  The combination of stripes also represents the communities across the globe collaborating for a better future.  The colors blue and red are patriotic colors representing the American flag.

02. Citi Bank

Using the shortened word, “Citi,” to cover all its identities, the Citi logo uses a red curve above the “t” to represent an umbrella (with the “t” as the handle).  The umbrella, a symbol of protection, is between two pillars (the “i’s”), symbols of strength.  The letter “c” represents the globe.

03. Barclays

Barclay’s is an international bank with a name and a reputation that is respected throughout the world.  Their logo is a valiant looking bird shaped like a shield, which symbolizes strength and protection.

04. SunTrust

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

05. Prudential

This investment and insurance firm sells itself as ‘solid like a rock’.  Their logo reinforces this claim.  There is a large, rocky mountain with a steep face.  This intimidating image, however, is surrounded by a circle.  Because the circle is a symbol of inclusion, the message is that people who do business with this company can share in its solid, unwavering financial future.

06. Key Bank

This bank uses its motto, “Achieve anything,” in its mortgage logo design.  The graphic of this logo is simply a key, with the handle of the key rounded to make it seem inclusive.  The attitude that is being communicated is that this financial institution offers the key to achieving success in the financial market.

07. Merrill Lynch

Merrill Lynch is a financial giant that owns many smaller banks while also being heavily involved in the investment and insurance fields.  Their logo includes a charging bull, making the company seem strong and aggressive, which is an accurate representation.  Because the bull is the symbol used to describe a market with a rising price (and therefore rising profits for shareholders), this logo has a double meaning that will be recognized and respected by people who are familiar with this field.  The Merrill Lynch bull is one of the most recognized mascots among corporate brands.

08. Chase Bank

The octagon used for the Chase logo was one of the first abstract, minimalist corporate logos ever created, back in 1960.  It has stood the test of time and has influenced the widespread adoption of abstract corporate identities since its introduction more than 45 years ago.  Press releases and brochures described the octagon’s dynamic design as a simple, yet powerful geometric form embodying a strong feeling of motion and activity. Although self-contained, it is divided in such a way as to suggest forward motion within the framework of control–the activity is centered around the square, implying growth from a central foundation.  At the time, one Public Relations Vice President noted, “When the symbol is established by constant use, we believe that people will identify it with The Chase Manhattan Bank at a glance.”  And this has certainly proven true.

09. Deutsche Bank

This Germany-based bank uses the power of shapes to reinforce their branding logo design.  The logo looks like a square with a slash in the middle—taking advantage of the sensible, straightforward image that the square lends to a logo.  However, if you look closely, this shape is also a stylized letter ‘D’, which is the first initial of the name.  Best of all, this is a highly recognizable logo both because of its simplicity and its difference from all of the other logos in the field of finance and banking.

10. Fifth Third Bank

Fifth Third Bank recently created a new branding identity to set it apart in the saturated banking and finance market.  The new identity symbolizes a horizon, with an update of the distinctive Fifth Third shield serving as a foundation for the visual.  The shield has been a part of the Fifth Third identity for more than 50 years.  Its central focus in the new identity represents the rich heritage of Fifth Third Bank, while the intersecting horizon line is a metaphor for the bright future it seeks for its customers, employees, communities and shareholders.  Their branding firm added, “The new color palette reinforces the horizon metaphor with the addition of an invigorating green, designed to evoke growth and possibilities.  By incorporating a brighter shade of blue, the identity remains true to the bank’s legacy while evolving into the new positioning.”

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It’s interesting to note the color choices for the brand identities of banking and financial institutions.

By far, the two most popular colors used are blue and red.  Why?  Typically, blue is nonthreatening and at the same time signifies both confidence and calm.  It is used in the logos of 11 of the Top 20 banks in the world, and 9 out of 10 of the logos in this list.  Additionally, five of the Top 20 banks in the world use only blue in their logos, perhaps aiming for extra confidence and/or calm.

Generally considered to be the most intense color, red evokes feelings of passion and strength.  Perhaps that is why the color is also featured in more than half of the logos of the Top 20 banks in the world.

Black is also a popular color to use in bank and financial institution logos.  Positive associations include power, sophistication and elegance.

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As you can see, all of these financial companies have chosen a branding identity, logo design, and have picked colors that communicate crucial information about their values and strengths in an effective way that is both nonverbal and subconscious.  Because finance and banking is a competitive field, the logo design just may be the factor that makes or breaks a company in this market.  These companies have given themselves a clear advantage by choosing the face of their company wisely and with good understanding.

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About bachmanstudios

I'm Jonathan Bachman, graphic designer and business consultant, creating brand identities for clients across the globe.
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