Baby, I can see your halo
Suncorp Group is an Australian finance, insurance and banking corporation based in Brisbane, Queensland. It is a top 20 ASX-listed company with $96 billion in assets. The Group employs approximately 13,500 employees and serves close to nine million customers through its brands including Suncorp, AAMI, GIO, Shannons, Vero and Apia. It formed on 1st December 1996 through a merger of Suncorp, Metway Bank and the Queensland Industry Development Corporation (QIDC).
They recently unveiled a new logo which will be rolled out gradually across refurbished stores, signage and advertising throughout 2017.
With the sun at its core, the new design represents Suncorp’s purpose to create a better today for customers, shareholders, communities and people.
– Suncorp media release
The old logo represented the amalgamation of the three aforementioned institutions, and featured colours from each. It seemed a very 90s palette, with a couple of primary colours plus an almost-as-vivid green. In that manifestation, the green was for rainforests, red for earth and yellow for sun – acknowledging Queensland’s diverse landscape.
The rising sun graphic was executed well enough and balanced well with the type, at least in the example I’ve placed above. (There seem to be other variations of the logo with different size relationships and positioning.) The sun lent the logo a feeling of optimism which is definitely welcome to a financial services corporation. In this age of apps and icons, it was a perfectly capable visual shorthand for the brand. Paired with a classic, reassuring typeface in Friz Quadrata (with a modified “U”), the overall logo was a pretty decent outcome, considering it was the love child of three disparate identities.
Compared to the old logo, the new logo seems very safe. The wordmark is set in emotionless Helvetica. The sun has now been reduced to a circle which emanates with a gradient (which is kind of daring). The colour palette remains similar, with the green now just barely perceptible and the red ousted.
The logo feels like… a work in progress. It feels like a placeholder for something yet to come. It feels as much a concept as the new concept store (pictures below). It’s not bad per se; I mean, it’s Helvetica and a circle, so there’s not much to complain about. But it’s bland and doesn’t assert itself or intrigue me.
Since the name doesn’t give anything away (or need to), this could very easily be a logo for an electricity provider. I would have wished for the treatment of the sun to be something more unique and ownable. I hope there is more to the new identity than just the logo, and that the design team doesn’t fall into the trap of plastering circles on everything.
The design process is said to have taken four months, during which “various colours and ideas” were explored. I’d like to see them! I can imagine the final solution was the least divisive of the options presented to a room full of design-illiterate execs. (Yes, I’m being highly speculative and critical.) It’s a case where a greater investment in the process could have yielded a greater return.