So after having my entire worldview shattered twice this week when I learned that the Barclaycard logo was meant to be an open globe instead of a burst beach ball and that the NatWest logo is three cubes – to symbolise the coming together of the three original constituent banks – instead of a Penrose triangle, I started to wonder what the story behind other bank logos are
I suppose RBS and BOS are meant to be a nod to the Scottish flag. But is there a reason why Halifax is an X, Lloyds is a horse or HSBC an origami butterfly thing? Is there other bank-related iconography I don’t know about?
The HSBC logo was meant to represent the Saint Andrew’s cross, as the founder was Scottish (History timeline | HSBC Holdings plc).
The Lloyds horse dates back to the founding of the bank’s predecessor institution, and was designed to be distinctive at a time when many people couldn’t read but could recognise symbols (Timeline - Lloyds Banking Group plc).
This is why C Hoare & Co, for example, has a golden bottle as it’s logo - reflecting it’s history as a goldsmith, and also designed to be recognisable.
The real mystery is whether or not NatWest’s former HQ was really built to resemble the logo or not (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tower_42)!
I have no idea about Halifax, I think that’s just an abstract design that’s a play on the letter X.
As Chekhov once said… “Every day’s a school day”.
(May have been Dickens…)
I don’t actually know the story (actually, don’t know the story of any of them!), but I had to Google it, because I just had to know…
Lloyds Bank inherited the famous black horse symbol in 1884. The first recorded use of the black horse sign was in 1677, at Lombard Street in the City of London.
In the 17th Century, there were no street numbers, and so businesses used decorative signs to attract customers. The signs also provided a means of identification in a largely illiterate society.
The black horse sign originally hung above the establishment of goldsmith Humphrey Stokes. By 1728 it was being used by another Lombard Street goldsmith, John Bland. This firm eventually became Barnetts, Hoares & Co and was taken over by Lloyds in 1884.
The Bank’s first symbol, the beehive (which represented thrift and industry), continued to be used alongside the black horse until the early 20th century. It still appears on some bank buildings.
I like the Deutsche bank logo - the slash in the middle of the box stands for growth, and the box around it signifies stability. It’s got just the right mix of simplicity that brands onto your brain, a little bit of chaos with that slash and the box around it that puts it all together.
That’s interesting. I’ve always thought of Deutsche being a West/East thing.