NatWest has launched it’s new logo as part of a rebrand, in order to market itself to a wider audience. The logo now features three interlocking cubes instead of the flatter image of old, which depict more like chevron-shaped arrows, based on it’s original logo developed in 1968. The gradient-shaded background adds a bit of depth to the new 3D look and the cubes are animated for the banks digital and online applications.
So why do banks and other large companies spend big on graphics and branding? I was once told that graphics are just “visual communication”, meaning that the images are supposed to speak to you without uttering or typing one word; that the imagery itself invokes a reaction based on how you perceive it. For those of you who don’t own a business or are part of the media industry, you’ll be the target audience for all this, soaking up all the messages that we as designers or business owners want to communicate through our image. The first thing anyone will notice with good branding is the logo will be clear and clean-cut. It will have a strong, usually simplistic colour palette throughout each base of media it uses, be it a newsletter, website or even the sign for it’s shop front. These logos and colours all co-ordinate to provide a sort of subliminal statement to users and customers to what the company is about, for example: Professional, Reliable, Trustworthy.
Being rolled out after an overhaul to the whole RBS group branding, possibly to take focus off of it’s bad press over the last few years. The British bank is owned by RBS group, RBS being owned by the taxpayer after being bailed out during the last recession, when the banks decided to gamble away their money on risky stocks and selling and reselling debt. This means the bank is under more scrutiny than ever and so, they are making waves to drum up more custom and appeal to a wider and also younger audience. However, maybe this effort isn’t so much of a distraction method, although a statement of it’s resolve. “we all know that you need to attract younger people into banking” says Dan Witchell, executive creative director at the creative firm involved in the process, being responsible for the new message that come with the change of visuals.
The colours certainly get across the right messages, giving the brand a warmer feel to reflect the effort the push on better customer service in recent years, with the Helpful Banking campaign. Also, the uses of geometry with both the cubes and the gradient in the background give a more modern feel, perhaps indicating that NatWest have updated their approach to their method, but all in all, this is only the face of the business and the old saying “A leopard can’t change it’s spots” does spring to mind…