Royal Bank of Scotland logo history and evolution

Royal Bank Of Scotland Logo

You don’t have to be familiar with the financial and banking landscape to know the Royal Bank of Scotland logo. This emblem is one of the most iconic symbols in the United Kingdom and has remained with the organization for several decades. 

Like most bank logos, the Royal Bank of Scotland emblem is intended to inspire and engage the company’s target audience. It’s a modern, eye-catching, and meaningful design intended to convey ideas of trustworthiness, professionalism, and credibility. 

However, unlike many other banks, the “RBS” company hasn’t always had the most distinctive brand. 

In fact, for many years, the company didn’t have a conventional logo at all. If you’ve ever seen the Royal Bank of Scotland logo and wondered what it meant, or you’re interested in designing a distinctive logo, read on for some helpful insights.

The Royal Bank of Scotland: Introducing the RBS brand

So, what is the Royal Bank of Scotland? Founded in 1724 (Almost 300 years ago), the Royal Bank of Scotland, or RBS, is a major financial services company in Scotland. It’s one of the retail banking subsidiaries of the NatWest group, alongside NatWest and the Ulster Bank.

Though the RBS brand is mostly localized to Scotland, it’s far from small, with over 700 branches dotted throughout the landscape of the United Kingdom. There are even RBS facilities in major cities and towns throughout England and Wales.

The Royal Bank of Scotland started life in Edinburgh, similar to the Bank of Scotland (not affiliated). It opened its first branch outside of the capital in 1783, in Glasgow. Over the years, the company gradually expanded into locations like Leith, Dundee, Rothesay, and Dalkeith.

In the latter half of the 1800s (1874), the Royal Bank of Scotland opened its first branch in London. This prompted English banks to ask the government to prevent the expansion of further Scottish banks into England, stopping the RBS company from expanding further for some time.

After the first World War, however, the brand was able to start expanding again in a few select regions.

Royal Bank of Scotland ownership and other facts

Following the ring-fencing of the core domestic business of the Royal Bank of Scotland Group, the RBS brand became a direct subsidiary of NatWest Holidays, and have remained under NatWest ownership since 2019. However, the organization maintains its own distinctive branding.

Is Royal Bank of Scotland the same as Bank of Scotland?

The Royal Bank of Scotland is entirely separate to the “Bank of Scotland”, a fellow Edinburgh-based company which predates the Royal Bank by just over 30 years.

Though the names are similar, the “Royal Bank of Scotland” has been called the “New” bank by some communities over the years, even though it only started 30 years after the previous organization.

What is the Bank of Scotland slogan?

Like most banks and financial companies, the Royal Bank of Scotland has experimented with several different taglines and slogans. Some of the better-known taglines chosen by the company include “Where People Matter” and “Make it Happen.”

What is the logo of Royal Bank of Scotland?

The Royal Bank of Scotland logo is a combination mark featuring a wordmark and an abstract symbol of four inward-pointing arrows. The symbol is called the “Daisy wheel” and is based on an arrangement of 36 piles of coins created in a 6 by 6 square.

Royal Bank Of Scotland Logo

Royal Bank of Scotland logo history

Unfortunately, little information exists about the Royal Bank of Scotland’s logo history. 

Even the official website for the brand doesn’t showcase any of its previous emblems or wordmarks. However, the RBS brand does note that before the mid-20th century, many banks didn’t feel it was necessary to differentiate themselves from their rivals with a specific logo. 

Although many financial brands and banking institutions chose to create a logo, many simply used their names on their signs and virtually nothing else. 

Until the 1940s and 50s, it was even common for banking institutions to define themselves with nothing but a sign saying “Bank,” and even stationery and advertisements rarely included a specific symbol. 

It wasn’t until the late 1960s that the Royal Bank of Scotland began working earnestly on real brand identity. After the RBS brand merged with the National Commercial Bank of Scotland, the company retained its name but created a new corporate structure. 

The changes in the bank’s identity led to an update in its marketing and branding strategies. 

The bank started working with designers to devise a symbol they could use across all of their assets. The RBS company wanted its logo to be striking and recognizable across every channel. 

For inspiration, the designers began with a pile of coins as their starting point and started organizing them into different shapes. 

Eventually, the team came up with a selection of coins organized into the shape of four arrows pointing inwards. This design was intended to represent wealth accumulation and the bank’s focus on its customers’ interests. 

The geometric pattern was modernized and turned into a clear shape, depicted in a deep shade of blue, matching an accompanying wordmark. 

The wordmark for the Royal Bank of Scotland, which appears in sans-serif letters, was intended to be easily legible and clear. In some cases, the company uses its full name in its logo, while in others, just the letters “RBS” are visible.

The Royal Bank of Scotland logo fonts and colors

The Royal Bank of Scotland logo is a simple and compelling symbol created with a focus on visibility, easy recognition, and modernity. The company wanted to create a sign that could stand the test of time and connect with audiences throughout the generations.

Not only does the symbol connected to the Royal Bank of Scotland logo represent several arrows pointing inwards, but it also looks a little like a flower, particularly if we consider the white space in the center of the design. This has helped to contribute to its name as the “daisy wheel.”

The overall image highlights concepts like credibility, reliability, sophistication, and growth. If you’re interested in taking a closer look at the Royal Bank of Scotland logo, you can find some helpful resources here:

The Royal Bank of Scotland logo colors are important to the company’s overall visual identity. Like most financial brands, the organization chose to keep its logo as simple as possible. The image is usually depicted in a combination of dark blue and white.

While the primary Royal Bank of Scotland logo color is blue, the shades are sometimes inverted.

This means you may see the RBS brand logo in white font on a blue background, or in blue font on a white background, depending on the circumstances.

Rainbow Indigo:
Hex: #14366E
RGB: (20, 54, 110)
CMYK: 0.818, 0.509, 0, 0.568

What font does the Royal Bank of Scotland logo use?

When creating its logo, the Royal Bank of Scotland wanted to ensure its design was eye-catching and easily visible across multiple channels. As such, the company chose a simple, sans-serif font, depicted in a heavyweight.

The typeface is unique to the company but quite close to the Bluset B Bold font.

The Royal Bank of Scotland logo is an interesting insight into the visual identity of financial companies throughout the United Kingdom. Unlike other banking organizations, this business didn’t have much of a clear visual identity for some time.

However, when a design was eventually chosen for the RBS brand, it was brimming with meaning and depth.

Today, the Royal Bank of Scotland logo conveys ideas of compassion, community, commitment, and strength. The blue coloring shows reliability and trustworthiness, while the daisy wheel symbol makes us think of growth and “compounding interest”.

Fabrik: A branding agency for our times.

Stephen Peate
Creative director
Stephen Peate
Creative director
As Fabrik’s creative director, Stephen oversees complex branding programmes. He advises our clients on their tone of voice, creates logos and visual identities and crafts names for companies, products and services. Writing for Brand Fabrik Stephen reflects his love for logo design and visual identity.

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