Spot the bank

Alessandro Mazzetti

Senior Creative

Posted on April 21, 2017

How quickly can you identify a bank from a slice of its logo?

Colour plays a huge part in our ability to recognise a brand, so just to make things more difficult all these logos are rendered in black and white.

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Logo 1

Correct! Wrong!


UBS was originally an abbreviation for the Union Bank of Switzerland, but it ceased to be so after its merger with Swiss Bank Corporation in 1998. The three keys in the logo originate from SBC’s original values of confidence, security, and discretion.

Logo 2

Correct! Wrong!


The Halifax Building Society was founded in 1853 in the Yorkshire town of Halifax and by 1913 it had developed into the UK’s largest building society. It maintained this position until 1997, when it de-mutualised.

Logo 3

Correct! Wrong!


The Royal Bank of Scotland Group branding was developed in 1969 at the time of its merger with the National Commercial Bank of Scotland. The abstract symbol of four inward-pointing arrows is known as the “Daisy Wheel” and based on an arrangement of 36 piles of coins in a 6 by 6 square.

Logo 4

Correct! Wrong!


The Black Horse symbol dates back to the 17th century, when it was used by a London goldsmith acquired by Lloyds in 1884. Lloyds already had its own symbol, the beehive, and after the takeover, the two symbols were used side by side. By the 20th century, the distinctive black horse, had become the favoured symbol.

Logo 5

Correct! Wrong!


The first Allianz logo was designed in 1890 and referenced the German imperial eagle within a coat of arms. The latest version of the logo, introduced in 1999, still reflects the eagle and Allianz’s three key business area of insurance, retirement provision and asset management.

Logo 6

Correct! Wrong!


The logo was formed in 1998 to represent the merged companies of Citi and Travelers Insurance, at that time the world’s largest merger. The Travelers logo contained a red umbrella and this was positioned above the ‘t’ in the word Citi.

Logo 7

Correct! Wrong!


The Spread Eagle emblem has featured throughout the history of Barclays since the late seventeenth century when it was used by a London goldsmith called John Freame. The first edition of the Barclays staff magazine was published in 1926 and known as ‘The Spread eagle’.

Logo 8

Correct! Wrong!


The hexagon symbol was adopted by the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation as its logo in 1983, developed from the bank’s house flag, a white rectangle divided diagonally to produce a red hourglass shape.

Logo 9

Correct! Wrong!


The current ‘slash in a square’ was adopted in 1974. The slash apparently stands for growth, while “the square-shaped frame can be interpreted as a sign of security”. The logo was the design of a now deceased graphic artist from Stuttgart named Anton Stankowski who submitted the image alongside seven other competitors.

Logo 10

Correct! Wrong!


The flame symbol evokes the initial “S” in “Santander” and is designed to convey triumph, leadership, clear-sightedness, and dynamism.

Spot the bank
Rubbish
How that can be? You must walk around with your eyes closed.
Rubbish
Surely the 1 you got right must have been a guess?
Rubbish
By the law of averages and the principles of multiple choice you should have scored more than 2 out of 10!
Not Great
Pretty much what you’d expect in a multiple-choice exam if every answer was a guess!
Not Great
Not great – are you immune to the seductive powers of advertising and branding?
Not Great
Only 50%? Are you sure you work in financial services?
Not Bad
Not too bad. If these logos were in colour you’d probably have recognised a few more.
Not Bad
That’s not a bad score. Seeing these logos in black and white only makes things much more difficult.
Good Score
That’s a good score because spotting these logos in black and white makes things much more difficult.
Good Score
Hard luck – a nearly perfect score.
Great Score
Go to the top of the class!
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