In 1998, when NationsBank forked over $62 billion of its stock to acquire BankAmerica, the resulting Bank of America became the biggest bank in the country, with nearly $525 billion in assets. A few of those dollars went to creating a logo for the new financial institution: a stylized American flag made up of six color bands woven together in a quilt-like pattern.
Now, 20 years down the road, Bank of America has decided to give that logo—and its accompanying typology—a refresh. The bank’s new emblem features a sleeker typeface rendered in a richer shade of blue, along with a flag with color bands narrowed to allow more white space in between.
Designed with help from creative shop Lippincott, the new corporate badge is part of a larger brand repositioning built around the tagline, “What would you like the power to do?” The campaign’s intent is to demonstrate “the impact clients and communities can have when they have power to achieve their goals, and the company’s role as a partner invested in their success.”
BofA has been using the “power” theme for several years now. In 2013, its mission was to “help make financial lives better through the power of every connection.” Now, according to CMO Meredith Verdone, “we’re just evolving that idea. … [P]eople have more power, and our role is to enable more power.”
To this end, the bank sought out a logo with the sort of confidence, modernity and sleekness befitting the global player that BofA has become. At the time of its 1998 birth, BofA became the first coast-to-coast bank in the country—but today, it’s an international institution with 67 million customers and total assets that hover around $2.3 trillion. Accordingly, then, gone is the sky-blue, upper- and lower-case type treatment of the name first developed two decades ago. Replacing it is the bank’s name in block caps with the lettering stretched out in a manner that would suggest the name on a jet fuselage. The blue is also much darker.
“It’s more of a modern typeface than we had before, and it’s a little sleeker,” Verdone explained. The richer shade, she added, is more befitting a global institution with a broad array of retail and institutional clients.
BofA kept its flag emblem (with “America” in the name, it pretty much had to), but the red-and-blue stripes are thinner—a function, largely, of the logo’s need to work across multiple media platforms, but also a result of the slimming down of the typeface. The flag “is one of the most recognized symbols in the industry,” Verdone said. “We wanted to maintain the legacy of what it represents and just lightly modernize it.”
Such an effort will take time, however. While the new logo can be seen on digital platforms, bringing it to everything from signage to stationery will be no small undertaking. “We’re going to do it strategically,” said Verdone. “This will take many years.”