Designing a Bank Identity That Does Not Look Like a Bank Identity

Posted inBranding & Identity Design
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When it comes to their design, banks tend to look like … banks.

But Virgin Money launched to challenge the existing banking landscape in the U.K.—and so they needed an identity to reflect that goal. After merging with a few financial institutions, they approached Pentagram’s London office, and worked with Luke Powell, Jody Hudson-Powell and Domenic Lippa on a rebrand.

Virgin Money essentially told the team that this a Virgin brand that happens to be in banking—and not a banking brand that happens to be Virgin. Moreover, they wanted to stress the fact that they are digital-first, and a modern alternative to the current system.

In their solution, the Pentagram team designed a monolinear wordmark, and expanded it into a Virgin Money headline font family.

As Pentagram writes, “The balance of curves and hard angles has been carefully crafted—its subtle humanist details reflect both the modern, forward-thinking values of the brand and the people at the heart of everything that Virgin Money does. The Virgin Money ‘M’ is a key feature of its wordmark, its distinctive loop reflecting the energy and the ambition of the organization while still appearing friendly and approachable.”

Further, the development of Virgin Money Sans and Virgin Money Loop allow the brand to adjust its visual tone based on different settings and messaging scenarios, while retaining legibility across applications.

For the color palette, Pentagram deferred to Virgin’s signature “Red Hot,” while adopting a secondary set crafted to imply vibrance and energy.

Meanwhile, loops and humanist geometric curves have been woven into the new Virgin Money site, app and other touchpoints, providing a cohesiveness across platforms—including the new Virgin Money stores, designed by IAM Architects, which include workspaces, event spaces and even recording studios.

Check out the work below.