Bank of Montreal Symbol

According to Hans Kleefeld himself, “a stable identity is established and maintained best through a core graphic – be it a logo, wordmark or symbol – that is uniquely structured, memorable and makes sense to a broad audience. It must be bold enough to hold its own in combination with reams of typography, illustrations and other graphic elements . . . functioning as the ‘visual [anchor]’ that hold[s] together all corporate communications.”

With it’s strong, clear design, Kleefeld’s own work for Bank of Montreal illustrates his point. The horizontal bar supporting the M gives the design clarity (no mistaking that M for a W), unique character and visual heft. The result is an instantly recognizable symbol that has endured decades of change and numerous rebrands, including the bank’s name change to BMO.

When it was launched in 1967, the symbol was solid blue, but Kleefeld’s original colour choice reveals another layer of meaning in the form. Apparently, the design was first conceived in green and gold – an abstract paper bill (the M), resting on a bar of gold. Today, the symbol is rendered in white on a red circle, with the blue reserved for text.

Kleefeld, Hans.  “On The Mark” Applied Arts Magazine, Vol 24, No 4, August 2009.
“Hans Kleefeld“. Retrieved on 2010-06-15

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