UBS Bank logo history, meaning, and evolution

UBS Bank Logo

How much do you know about UBS Bank logo history? If you’re familiar with the financial landscape, you may have encountered the “3 keys logo” before. It’s certainly one of the most eye-catching images in the banking space. But what does this unique emblem mean?

The UBS logo is a world apart from many of the other bank emblems you may be familiar with from across the globe today. 

Indeed, while many banking institutions have focused on making their designs more modern and simplistic over the years, UBS has retained a highly detailed, complex design. This may be part of the company’s strategy to differentiate itself. 

While the image may appear a little old-fashioned in the eyes of some brand experts and designers, it’s still impactful and distinctive. Today, we will look closer at the UBS bank logo and the brand behind this iconic image.

What does UBS stand for? Introducing UBS Bank

Let’s start with an introduction to the UBS bank. The name “UBS Bank” is derived from one of the predecessor companies that would eventually form the organization, the Union Bank of Switzerland. Today, the UBS Bank stands as one of the biggest multinational investment banks in the world.

Founded and headquartered in Switzerland, the UBS Bank maintains a presence in every major financial landscape as the largest Swiss bank and the largest private bank worldwide. UBS is well-known for offering its customers a high level of bank-client confidentiality and security.

Alongside private banking, UBS provides asset management, wealth management, and investment banking services for clients across the globe. In fact, the organization manages the largest volume of private wealth in the world. Around half of the billionaires in the world are clients of UBS.

However, because of its commitment to “banking secrecy,” the UBS bank has also been at the heart of a number of tax avoidance investigations. Despite this, UBS remains the third largest bank in Europe, currently holding a capitalization of $63 billion.

It also manages over 3.2 trillion in assets (CHF) and even has its own blockchain technology center.

The 3 keys logo: UBS Bank logo history

We first need to dive into the organization’s origins to understand UBS logo history. In 1862, UBS was founded as the “Bank in Winterthur.” The name was chosen in reference to the area the bank served in Switzerland.

In 1854, six bankers came together to form the Swiss Bank Corporation (SBC) to help accommodate the credit needs of various Swiss manufacturing and railway companies.

In 1912, the Bank of Winterthur joined forces with another organization named the Toggenburger Bank, and the “Union Bank of Switzerland” was formed. This corporation grew rapidly following the introduction of the Banking Law of 1934, which allowed for greater banking privacy.

Following decades of competition, the Union Bank of Switzerland and the Swiss Bank Corporation eventually joined forces in 1998, creating the new company: “UBS.” Looking back at the previous iterations of this company, we can see how the logo we know today was formed.

UBS Bank Logo

The Union Bank of Switzerland

While the Union Bank of Switzerland logo, introduced in 1966, might not appear to have a lot in common with the UBS Bank logo today, it could be the reason behind the organization’s color palette. The bright red coloring in this logo can also be seen in the current UBS logo.

UBS Bank Logo

The Swiss Bank Corporation

Perhaps the most iconic part of the UBS logo today comes from the emblem previously used by the Swiss Bank Corporation: the 3 keys. These three keys were carried into the UBS logo today to represent confidence, discretion, and security, three of the core promises made by the brand.

UBS Bank Logo

What does the UBS logo mean?

On the surface, the UBS Bank logo is relatively unusual. It’s more complicated than many of the other financial emblems on the market today. However, the design is still relatively straightforward, clean, and sophisticated. The image is a combination mark made up of the acronym “UBS” and a graphic. 

The UBS wordmark is written in red serif font. As mentioned above, the color red may be a reference to one of the prior companies which formed the UBS Bank, the Union Bank of Switzerland. However, red can also be a highly meaningful shade in color psychology

It’s often associated with passion, vitality, and power, which are all positive attributes for a bank to have.

The decision to use a serif font instead of maintaining the sans-serif typography of the previous companies may be part of the organization’s strategy to be perceived as sophisticated and professional.

The three keys in the UBS logo, depicted in black, come directly from the Swiss Bank Corporation logo. The intricate shapes have plenty of elaborate details reminiscent of the components we might see in a traditional coat of arms.

According to UBS, these keys stand for the core values of security, discretion, and confidence embodied by the brand.

Decoding the UBS symbol: Fonts and colors

Taken together, the components of the UBS logo are definitely impactful. The 3 keys logo is something that’s easy to remember, thanks to its bold coloring and detailed design aspects. Keys are a particularly interesting symbol to use in the banking space.

They make us think of security and protection but also opportunity and growth. After all, unlocking a door is similar to accessing a new opportunity. Keys can also be associated with privacy and secrecy, which have been core components of the UBS banking identity for some time.

The combined colors of red and black in this logo are also important, as they convey ideas of passion, strength, stability, and professionalism.

If you want to take a closer look at the intricate components of the UBS logo, you can find some helpful resources here:

The UBS logo colors hold deep meaning. The color black is one frequently used in the financial sector, as it’s commonly connected with professionalism, stability, and strength. On the other hand, the color red makes us think of passion and power.

In some cases, the UBS company has used different variations of this logo in their marketing assets.

It’s not unusual to see versions of the UBS bank logo color palette, which include only black and white colors. The closest shade to the UBS logo red in the hex space is:

Electric Red:
Hex: #E60100
RGB: (230, 1, 0)
CMYK: 0, 0.995, 1, 0.098

What font does the UBS Bank logo use?

The decision to use a serif typeface for the UBS logo font is an interesting one. As noted above, the previous two companies which merged to create the UBS Bank both used sans-serif fonts.

In recent years, many other modern brands have switched to sans-serif typefaces to make their logos appear more legible.

However, serif fonts can also be associated with heritage, sophistication, and professionalism. The UBS Bank logo font is similar in style to the Walbaum SB-Roman font. However, it is specific to the organization. There’s also a free font called the Liberation Seif font, which is similar too.

On the surface, the UBS logo can seem a little unusual. It’s much more detailed and intricate than many other bank logos we see today. However, its unique nature makes it more engaging and distinctive than many other emblems.

The UBS Bank logo is steeped in meaning and value. It tells us an important tale about the company’s mission and values. The design also borrows elements from previous logos, created by the companies that eventually merged to form the UBS company we know today.

This helps to give the new image a sense of heritage and history.

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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