February 15, 2012

Required by the EU to offload its insurance bits by 2014, state-owned financial services disaster RBS asked design agency Johnson Banks (who previously did MORE TH>N) to create a new logo for the former RBSI, now rechristened Direct Line Group.

Instead of Direct Line, however, the designers appear to have heard the more interesting-sounding Bendy Strip.

Hence the curvy multi-coloured thing that now adorns the Direct Line Insurance Group’s freshly-printed letterheads. Closely resembling, as it does, a half-finished attempt at constructing a Möbius Strip, the new design loops back on itself to start back where it began.

What is conspicuously missing, however, is any sense of direction. Unless, that is, as the designers would doubtless point out with a smug look suggesting infinite subtlety, you consider this absence in the specific context of the white space enclosed by the (D-shaped) bendy ribbon. Bollocks, we at Bankstone News would contend, still looks like a gaudy bendy ribbon to us.

Motorised phone fans will be relieved to learn that the famous red telephone is (also) going nowhere and will be retained as the primary visual branding device for Direct Line itself (as opposed to the name-borrowing holding company that also “umbrellas” nodding-dog-fronted Churchill, self-explanatory Green Flag, candid-proactive-forward-thinking-close-to-brokers-awkwardly-nondescript NIG, and the virtually-brand-free Privilege).

Doesn’t really matter what it looks like, though, because no one’s ever going to see it again – apart from all those poor unfortunates to whom RBS attempts to flog its (mostly direct) insurance subsidiary.


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