New Abbey

So the Abbey National is rebranding itself this morning.

As I write this entry, they are revealing their new look, their shortened name (just “Abbey”) and their ambitions…

We’ve got a new look, that you can see here, which emphasises just how the new Abbey is different from the old. Fresh, friendly and colourful, like the way we aim to do business.

Bold stuff. Of course these days any right-minded person is sceptical of rebranding, after abortive exercises like Monday, Consignia and BA’s tailfins. The new look for Abbey is certainly very different… but I’m doubtful whether the reality of the Abbey can change as fast as their colour scheme and logo. Indeed, is it really human to expect a culture to change in that kind of dramatic way?

Still, the ambitions are interesting.

We’re starting a revolution with the aim of democratising money – helping everyone, not just the privileged few, get on top of their money

Now that sounds interesting, and potentially a refreshing change of strategy if it’s true. It will be interesting to see how these very high-sounding principles operate in the real world.

What’s missing, for me, is any acknowledgement of the bank’s recent difficult past. Obviously, they want to forget it and they want us to forget it. I’m not sure they’ll be able to shed that reputation so easily.

Time will tell!

5 thoughts on “New Abbey

  1. Tony Goodson

    Fascinating! My initial reaction was also one of scepticism, I wonder why I felt that?

    How many times have we seen a corporate change its colour, but nothing else!

    All we want is;

    Short queues at the branch

    Easy access to our money.

    A reasonable interest rate on savings.

    No rip-off charges.

    And to be able to get a loan easily when we want one, and not when we don

  2. Ben Terrett

    Hello John,

    I found your site after you kindly linked to our What Brand Are You website. Funnily enough this Abbey rebrand is exactly the sort of nonsense WBAY pokes fun at.

    So Abbey have tried to ‘simplify’ banking by doing things like calling a savings account “Put Aside”. Eh? Your new logo looks like “My First Bank” and now you are calling your accounts wacky names like “Put Aside”? I don’t think that’s simplifying things. Was “Savings Account” deemed to complicated?

    The TV ad could have been stunning, but it’s just dull. Imagine how excited the creative team would have been to get a brief like, ‘Turning banking on it’s head’. At last a chance to really shake things up! But no…

    And the new logo is quite frankly an insult to designers. It really is one of the worst logo’s I’ve ever seen.

    What troubles me must however, is that in 6 months time Abbey will announce it’s still leaking money, the campaign has been a failure and they are going back to how they were. Upon which people up and down the land will mutter, “bloody designers” and yet again the reputation of creative companies everywhere is tarnished by one high profile disaster. We all know advertising and design can add value and increase profits yet all the man on the street gets to see are shameful examples like this.

    Banks like First Direct, Smile, Egg and Cahoot are genuinely different and do it so much better. The strangest thing is that Abbey owns Cahoot – it set it up and it still runs it. Was it not good enough yet?


    Ben Terrett

    The Design Conspiracy

    11-15 Betterton Street

    London WC2H 9BP

    Tel: 020 7470 8841

    Fax: 020 7470 8842

  3. Nikki Clancy

    Well – You’re right!! The company cannot change overnight and also correct – they are changing their branding YET again and thirdly right again – they ARE still leaking money!! So much so that they are STILL having to make redundancies -Myself being one of them! after 8 wasted years and put “at risk” 3 times in as many years I’ve finally decided redundancy is my best move and have cut ties with SHABBY & IRRATIONAL!!


  4. Johnnie Moore

    Nikki: Time certainly has told. That claim about “starting a revolution” looks pretty grandiose with hindsight. Actually, it sounded pretty grandiose at the time.

  5. Sina

    Well, they changed their logo again, now thanks to the the merger with a Spanish bank. I for one I’m not surprised, as I knew the previous redesign just didnt’ have substance.


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