UK Bank Logos
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When banking services first appeared in the UK hundreds of years ago initially for London’s merchants, customers were often unable to read. A recognisable sign over a banker’s shop had a magical importance carrying the essence of trust and values that would have been expected.
There are still UK banks that continue to stand by or pay homage to their ancient logos, which speak of trust, tradition, stability and courtesy, while others have jumped on the marketing bandwagon with new insignias that aim to stand out.
The current version of the famous spread eagle emblem of Barclays was introduced in 2004. A simplified form of the corporate visual identity, it was notable for establishing the pantone “Barclays’ blue”.
The first spread eagle sign, however, saw the light of day in 1728. When goldsmith-banker John Freame chose 54 Lombard Street as the official address for his banking partnership, the sign of that house – the Bible – was deemed an inappropriate sign for a Quaker business. Ergo, the eagle. As a logo, it first appeared on the reports and stationery of Barclays in December 1948, undergoing several modifications throughout the years.
In 1981, the eagle lost some of its talons. Seventeen years later the shield was removed and in 2004 three crowns also were erased along with the last of the claws. But even the disarmed eagle was put in danger in 2007 because of the concerns “it had Nazi overtones” even though the Barclays eagle had been established 200 years earlier than the Nazi bird of prey. Thankfully, in a rare moment, common sense won.
Coutts Three Little Crowns
The Coutts name dates back to the mid-18th century when two brothers, Thomas and James Coutts, established the firm’s reputation as private bankers to the aristocracy, and secured its Royal connection. But the logo goes even further back to 1692, when a young Scottish goldsmith-banker John Campbell set up the business in the Strand under a sign of the Three Crowns, a custom from the days before street numbers.