Citibank Logo History

Original sketch of Citi logo

Paula Scher drew the original napkin sketch nine years ago. Paula "For Citi Bank I wanted to bleed the logo all over everything after we designed it. The Citi Bank logo is completely intellectual. It was a marriage of the Traveller’s umbrella and the word Citi to create an umbrella in the middle of the word. The emotional part of it came in the application of how they handled their secondary blue. They used to use it just as a band. I always called that type and stripe when a corporation takes a typeface and sticks a band down the side of everything to make it look the same. So I spent two and a half years selling a logo and trying to get this company to accept the notion of the expansiveness of this blue. Slowly and gradually we’re beginning to introduce it everywhere. We’re in the process of redesigning the interior of the banks as we speak, and the blue as a system, as an aura, as a lighting facility, becomes the basis for the identity of the bank along with the most reproduced trademark I’ll ever design. These are the their new credit cards. Sometimes I’ll invent typefaces for plays and then just spread it all over everything that goes on in New York. So it’s one damn thing just repeated in all different types of forms. I’ve been able to do that well in theatre but lately I’ve been doing it in architecture. I’ll design the logo and the identity for a building and then it’ll become the building".

1998 Citibank logo

The story of how Pentagram designed the Citi logo follows after the jump.

Pentagram was approached by Citi in spring 1998 when the bank first announced its combination with insurance giant Travelers, then the largest merger in the world. Working with consultant Michael Wolff, Pentagram’s recommendation was to unify the merged entity under a single, four letter name—Citi—and to adopt a logo that would transform the Travelers’ red umbrella into an arc over the letter “t.” (Not only is that letter Travelers’ initial, but it also is one of the few letters that looks like an umbrella handle!)

Paula Scher's Views and Thoughts

Also An interesting read on Marketing Matters - Courtesy Citigoup

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