A chip off the old block

It's safe to say that banking has been through a tough time in recent years. It's been 8 years since the financial crisis, but the ramifications of this are still being felt today. One of the biggest casualties of this was Royal Bank of Scotland, which ended up being saved from extinction by the taxpayer! It's safe to say that with consumer confidence at an all time low, especially since the Brexit vote, many in the financial institutions feel like they have lost their integrity.

Natwest, who are part of RBS, has chosen to address this in their new, We are What we Do campaign. This included a new ad filmed in black and white that asks viewers to hold the bank to account for its actions. Check it out below:

To coincide with a new campaign, NatWest recently introduced a revised logo designed by the London office of Futurebrand. Check it out below:

FutureBrand has redesigned the visual identity and logo for NatWest, basing the revamp on the bank’s original 3D logo from 1968. The logo was originally designed as three interlocking cubes to represent the coming together of National Provincial Bank, Westminster Bank and District Bank. The existing logo was a simplified and flattened version of that form.

The red and purple combination looks great on the cubes and works particularly good on the purple background. Unfortunately when used on a white background the cubes lose some of their impact.

At first I wasn't so sure of this direction. The previous arrows (or chevrons as NatWest liked to call them) gave the message of a forward-thinking bank and signified mobility. The cubes are more solid and static in nature. But thinking about it, perhaps that's the point. It signifies a strong, solid foundation on which they can build their reputation on.

The language of the cubes is extended through a custom alphabet and illustration style which forms the basis of the new visual language for the brand.

I do admit, the new brand paired with this visual language style looks good. The pastel colours that have been chosen complement the core red and purple colours really well. Ok it's not in keeping with the simple colours of the logo or the black and white ad campaign, but it certainly stands out on the high street.

The only issue I have is that the original gradient style from the logo hasn't been translated to either the type or the illustrations which to me misses a trick. You invest the time to bring back a piece of work from 1968 to establish trust and then don't follow this through?

Overall, a solid update, but I can't help but feel that if they'd have pushed this a bit further and taken the gradients through to the visual language it would have turned this up a notch and elevated it from 'good' to 'great'.