State Bank of India, the nation’s largest banking and financial services provider, unveiled on 7th April, 2017, its new brand identity, designed to position SBI as a modern, progressive bank, ready to meet the financial needs of all Indians.
Arundhati Bhattacharya, chairman of SBI, stated, “In recent years, SBI has accelerated its efforts towards developing digital products and services. Hence, we felt the need to position SBI as a contemporary brand, ready to connect with a diverse audience in a world that is rapidly going digital.”
SBI top management and the SBI brand marketing team, led by Dinesh Menon, CMO-SBI, collaborated with the founding partners of Design Stack, Priyanka Bhasin and Anoop Patnaik, to develop the new identity. The challenge was to arrive at a fresh perspective, while retaining the brand’s iconic stature. Strategically, it needed to be ‘Instantly new, yet instantly recognisable.’
About the new identity
While the legendary SBI monogram has been the de-facto symbol of State Bank of India, combining it with the abbreviated SBI word mark was pivotal to the new identity. It made the brand more concise, modern and approachable, infusing new energy, while retaining its core values.
The original iconic monogram was retained, and refined for greater clarity and ease of use. It was opened up for more breathing space, showing the bank to be more approachable.
For the word mark itself (SBI), a modern Sans Serif typeface was further adapted to create a sense of weight and heighten the institutional feel. It is a sturdy, geometric and highly legible typeface. To connect to the monogram, a gap was introduced in the letterform B in the word mark, just as the monogram itself. This creates a visual hook and also sets it apart.
The family of colours have been expanded for scale and play. The iconic SBI Blue was refreshed to make it more approachable. The deep inky blue symbolises trust and integrity. A youthful yellow has been introduced for contrast.
The signature graphic, the Arc, will be used across every touch point of the brand, from media communications, to signage, to marketing and advertising across platforms, to reinforce the brand.
Dinesh Menon, CMO of SBI, said, “The new identity symbolises the forward movement of SBI into a modern India, ready to service a new generation of consumers with new services with a renewed vibrancy”.
“We followed a rigorous design process to make sure the new brand identity is optimised and consistent across all its touch points, one of the major challenges the brand has faced over the years,” said Priyanka Bhasin, founder of Design Stack.
“Considering the stature of SBI, the idea was to create an identity that was concise and modern, but also retained the established and immediate recall that the logo enjoys. The SBI logo was created in 1971 at the National Institute of Design. As NID alumni, this project is close to us,” said Anoop Patnaik, the other founder of Design Stack.
Branding and design agency Design Stack is based out of Mumbai and services clients across the India. Founded in 2008 by two NID designers, Priyanka Bhasin and Anoop Patnaik, their highly specialised team works on a wide variety of projects and clients.