How can a multi-billion dollar organization base their identity off of a second? Answer: “it’s a second done in 34 years” says Paula Scher for her napkin sketch of the Citi logo. The questioning came when Paula Scher first introduced her initial sketch of the Citi logo on a napkin during a client meeting. At the time, Citigroup had just changed their name to Citi, signifying the union with insurance giant Travelers, the largest merger at the time. Met with resistance to the new logo and identity design, Pentagram proposed multiple illustrations depicting the change from Citigroup and Travelers to the red arched Citi logo over a 14 year period. Through all the opposition, Citi’s consumer banking operations and cards divisions welcomed the new identity with enthusiasm. With their support, the new logo and identity implementations were underway.
As for myself, I believe the red arched logo design is the best possible solution for Citi. The shortened four letter word creates a more instantly recognizable brandmark and the red arc over the letter “t” perfectly depicts the Travelers umbrella and the combination of both brands into one. Better said by Paula, “The Citi Bank logo is completely intellectual. It was a marriage of the Traveler’s umbrella and the word Citi to create an umbrella in the middle of the word.”