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The need to preserve brand heritage in logo redesign: Sterling Bank as a case study

While Sterling Bank continues to tell the elaborate story of the Rocketman reaching for the moon and now “The Rising Sun”, they are not leveraging on the single most important value that continues to differentiate them from all other banks; they are the “One Customer Bank”.

Being a customer myself, I absolutely love the “One Customer Bank” tagline but instead of re-emphasizing this value in their recent rebrand, they chose to change their logo icon to what they now call ‘The Rising Sun”

Old vs New

While the new logo mark which they tag “the rising sun” is a fairly good angle, the word mark left me thinking “WTH Sterling”? 🙄

The new typeface

In the banking industry where preserving history and consistency equals reliability, their new typeface totally dismisses every trace of their existing identity without stating any good reason why.

I understand if they are trying to be more friendly to attract millenials, but for a bank, you should know where to draw the line between playfulness and seriousness. In fact, for the most, seriousness is more important cos hello!!! We are talking about money here.

Odunlade Adekola, a sterling bank customer

Review

To identify what could have been done differently about the wordmark, I had to analyze the former typeface and understand why Sterling Bank went in the direction they did with the new typeface and here is my conclusion:

  1. The former typeface has a very traditional feel and doesn’t exude a modern vibe that will appeal to the younger customers.
  2. The former typeface does not reflect the futuristic and outer space exploration (think rocket man) ideas of the bank.

Using these conclusions as a basis for changing the typeface is understandable, however, I don’t quite agree with the new typeface particularly because:

  1. It fails to preserve their history by dismissing every trace of the former identity including its iconic double story “g” without stating any good reason why.
  2. It tilts more towards modern trends and millennial appeal and ultimately loses the appeal to older customers. There should be a balance.
New Sterling Bank Logo

That being said, for my redesign, I focus on preserving Sterling Bank’s heritage by building on their former typeface to develop a cleaner typeface that’s all together modern, professional, friendly and ultimately appeals to both young and old customers.

The process
The process (Animated)

Some treatments

As a way to re-emphasize their tagline; “Your One Customer Bank”, I did some final type treatments to make the typeface even more iconic by using negative space to add “1(One)” to the wordmark in a very subtle way without making it all too complex.

Type treatments (Animated)

Putting it all together, we have…

White version
Dark version

Conclusion

While I am not in any way disregarding the efforts and thought process that went into developing the new logo, I am only showing what I could have done differently, as a designer and customer of the bank. Please use the comment section to drop your praises and criticisms, I want it all!

By Ridwan Egbeyemi

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