When Should a Financial Firm Refresh Their Brand Logo?


Several things in life that are easy to change: clothing, light bulbs, TV channels. But a brand? Brands are not altogether easy to change. And for financial firms of all sizes, this can be a daunting challenge, beginning with the logo.

A brand logo represents your company presence both visually and figuratively, conveying the impact and power of your services and corporate values through an essential symbol intended to be an all-encompassing icon of your firm – one that is instantly recognized by clients, leads, partners, and peers.

Brand refreshes should be undertaken for a specific reason. It’s a way of telling customers and potential customers “Here’s the new us.” A new company, market expansion, and a need to update style for the sake of an evolving business are all events that can trigger a brand refresh.

Financial industry brand and logo refreshes are fascinating – here are a few of our favorites:

When Your Company Finds Itself New Again

In 2003, Piper Jaffray became an independent company following its spin-off from U.S. Bancorp, so the firm naturally sought to create a fresh brand. Losing the U.S. Bancorp but keeping the serif font, the logo was changed to remove the space between Piper and Jaffray, which emphasized that the company was a singular cohesive unit. This branding refresh was just enough to maintain the recognition of the initial name, but enough of a change to express that the now leading international investment bank and institutional securities firm, was indeed its own force.

A Need to Update Style

In 1991 the NIBA formed as an official organization to represent Introducing Brokers. While the core mission of the NIBA has sustained over the years, the organization expanded its target audience to support a wider variety of firms in the financial space and reached a point where it’s branding needed to reflect this. In 2015 the NIBA tagline changed from “National Introducing Brokers Association” to “Association for Derivatives Professionals”, a subtle but crucial change that underscored the organization’s inclusiveness.

In tandem with the new and simplified branding, a streamlined website was developed, complete with a new user and member experience, and refreshed branding was pulled through the look and feel of the organization’s social channels and email templates as well.

Evolving with the Times

In 2017, the discount online futures broker efutures.com changed their branding to efutures, losing the “.com” that was so popular during the dot com era. Serving futures traders since 1989, the firm recognized that it wanted to keep its tagline along with the familiar “feel” of its logo overall, while still evolving individual elements of the brand to have a more up-to-date appearance.

After removing the “.com”, we applied an updated font, a color emphasis on the “e”, and a new directional treatment in the bars. The subtle but impactful updates of the brokerage’s logo helped to create a distinctly fresh calling card for the futures and options broker.

A Need to Shift Visual Focus

In 2017, Chambers Point Capital, an emerging alternative investment firm that identifies opportunities in emerging healthcare innovations, sought to shift focus from its heavy, dark icon to the company name. The firm wanted their building icon to be a supporting element, not a primary focus, while also reflecting the firm’s modernity, fluid innovation, and emphasis on biotech research. Gate 39 Media’s design team gave the new logo a simple, dynamic feel that is much more reflective of the firm’s core values.

Subtle Change, Big Impact

In 2018 Gate 39 Media executed some subtle changes to the very classic Alkire Advisory Inc. logo. By making some slight adjustments to the color saturation, font color and spacing, and losing the gradient effect, the family-owned agricultural advisory’s logo took on a more modern and crisp look and helped “pop” the company name more effectively. This refresh also helped dictate a new plan to redesign to refresh to the company’s website as well.

Branding and logo design must meet several requirements, including evoking a powerful sense of trustworthiness and innovation while a logo redesign must meet these same standards while retaining certain key elements of the original logo to ensure recognition continuity with an audience already familiar with the brand.

We find that branding and logo changes in the financial space are some of the most interesting and compelling – and a favorite challenge to our agency design team. In a time when aesthetics matter more than ever, a successful reinvention of brand necessitates a logo that signifies stability while also exuding modernity, confidence, and innovation. And creating a strong symbol that meets each of these specific requirements is an absolute art in and of itself.

Considering a brand logo refresh? Let’s discuss the possibilities.