Sun Life Logo History

History of the Sun Life brand

Since the Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada was chartered in 1874, the company has continually evolved towards its vision to be an international leader in protection and wealth management. Our visual representation or logo has also evolved throughout the last 130 years, to today’s commanding sun and earth logo, first introduced in 2000. We invite you to see how Sun Life’s visual identity has evolved to the brand it represents today.

Sun and earth
In 2000, the company introduced Sun Life Financial – to represent our continuing evolution from a life insurance provider to a select group of companies offering a range of products and services designed to meet our customers' lifetime financial needs. At the centre of this identity is a symbol of a globe combined with the sun. The sun is a powerful universal symbol with a unique focus on growth, excellence and integrity. The globe symbolizes international reach and speaks to diversity.

Sunburst "S"
After a 1984 review of the company's logo, the firm of Stewart and Morrison designed Sun Life’snew corporate symbol. The new symbol was introduced at the 1986 annual general meeting by former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Thomas M. Galt. His comments at the introduction are as follows "as the Sun Life family of companies has grown through increased numbers of subsidiaries and as we have changed and developed our marketing of new products and distribution systems, it is appropriate to have a new, up-to-date symbol to represent our family relationship and remind our people and clients of our common purpose. The new symbol brings together in graphic design the first letter of our name with a picture of the sun, the nurturer and protector of life."

Stylized “u” and “n”
This stylized SunLife logo was developed by Ingalls Associates – Sun Life's United States advertising agency. Originally used only in the United States (c.1974), its modified Futura Bold type quickly caught on in both Canada and Britain and gradually replaced the Tree of Life symbol. The final switch was effective in 1984, the same year of the opening of Sun Life's new corporate headquarters – the Sun Life Centre. The new logo was considered more effective because it contained the use of the entire Sun Life name as a logo. It was thought that The Tree of Life did not identify the company strongly enough and the points of its rays were difficult to reproduce in small sizes.

Tree of Life
The Tree of Life logo, used on all of the company's printed material and signage, was created by Montreal designer, Allan Harrison. Comments made by Mr. Harrison at the time of its introduction: "The sun is universally accepted as a positive generating force in life. Without the sun, man could not live. To relate this fact to the services of the Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada became the task." He succeeded in creating a symbol which connotes the sun and differs from the many other sun symbols used commercially.

Sun Life head office building, Montreal
This variation of a graphic of the Sun Life head office building shows how it appeared on letterhead circa 1954. The building has an interesting history – most notably the preparations and activities surrounding the secret storage of British securities in its 3rd basement during World War II.

Head office building, Montreal
The image of our head office building in Montreal succeeded the sun rising image on all of our printed material. The design was produced by Austin Wright of the company's Sales Promotion Division shortly after the war. The head office building was the largest office building in the British Empire; the original section and 1st extension having been completed in 1918 and 1926 respectively. Variations of the building's image such as the one shown here, were used in all of our printed material for a 20-year period.

Sun in cloud with buckle
This logo, featuring a buckle surrounding the rising sun was used on a variety of the company's printed material – anything from internal publications to agents' contracts. The use of this emblem was discontinued during World War II because of its similarity to that of Japan's national emblem, both in color and in design.

Sun over mountains
The logo was used on a variety of our printed material including annual reports, product pamphlets and internal publications. In early variations, the logo often included the slogan "Prosperous and Progressive." This slogan was discontinued, however, as a result of economic conditions experienced during the years following the Great Depression.

Sun through the clouds
The logo features a variation of the "Sun Rising and Sun Life's date of incorporation." The Sun rising through clouds was one of the first designs to be used in the company's printed material. The symbol by itself (without date) was pressed into the gold seal at the bottom of all Sun Life policies from 1890 until policies were printed by computers in the 1960s.

Rising sun
The "Sun Rising" motif was presented in various forms on the company's letterhead and policy mastheads through the years. This specific style appeared on a 1903 letter written by the company's General Manager in Great Britain.

Phaeton and the chariot of the sun
According to T.B. Macaulay's 1893 trademark registration renewal letter, he writes, "The said specific trademark consists of a chariot drawn by horse, and driven by a driver, with the rays proceeding from the rear of said chariot, the whole intended to represent the classical legend of Phaeton and the Chariot of the Sun, and I hereby request the said specific trademark to be registered in accordance with the law."

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