The world of banking and how it brands itself has shifted enormously since the existential reevaluation of the industry 13 years ago during the financial crisis. Where the 20th century saw a corporate, serious and practical banking industry, the 21st century is more interested in its ability to be comprehensive, ethical and as inclusive as possible. 


Furthermore, as the era of social media and mega digitsaliuction arised, some banks found themselves out of step in an increasingly digitised global marketplace. In terms of branding the image of the banking world, the industry was posed with a challenge which really determined who would make the cut under the 21st century banking spotlight.  

With this need to rebrand came a plethora of opportunities for creatives in the world of banking. Colours shifted to convey new moods and priorities, windswept 80s and 90s images of women with shoulder pads were replaced with fun illustrations and relatable images of laughing families. 

Hay bank

A great example of a modern, creative thinking is Hay – a new Australian challenger bank who has centred its identity on a friendly, informal tone, sitting it comfortably among the cohort of fintech start-ups that are putting a clearer, more human spin on managing finances. The colour palette and constituent parts of the logo share parallels with messaging platform Slack, reinforcing the idea that challenger banks like Hay are closer to tech startups than seemingly staid traditional banks –  a perception that’s recently prompted the likes of NatWest and First Direct to experiment with new positioning. 

Tend bank

Another great example is next-generation personal finance platform, Tend. With identity designed by New York studio Gretel, Tend’s image cultivates a sense of “financial wellbeing”, championing a “new approach to banking” which “doesn’t feel like a bank because it isn’t”.

Tend bank

For Carl Robertson, chief marketing officer at Temenos, an acceleration is now needed. “Banks have started the journey, but customer expectations are changing very fast. Consumers want what they get from companies like Apple, Netflix and Google – convenience and personalisation in real-time.”

Better banking is within reach for both new and incumbent banks – but it will only be possible through digital banking technology. This spurs a desire and need for banks to be changemakers, consistently on the cutting edge of the people’s needs. In fact 45 per cent of banks were committed to transforming their businesses into digital ecosystems. With this comes graphic designers, colorists, illustrators, creative directors for fun campaigns – take the classic horse riding through the fields for Lloyds Bank, symbolising a need for freedom , individuality and iconography in the modern age. 

Tend bank

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