The Petersburg Social Commercial Bank (PSCB) has been specializing in financial solutions for small and medium enterprises and providing personalized customer service since 1993. The Bank’s desire for change and development has led to the first rebranding over the past 20 years, which included a new brand platform, corporate identity, and website.
We invited renowned marketing expert Sergey Slavinsky to work on the positioning concept and the Bank’s product portfolio. Sergey has vast experience in the development of marketing strategies for the banking sector, so he became a member of the task group on part of the client, engaged in the analysis of the Bank’s existing products and services, its capabilities and limitations, and trends in the development of the banking sector in Russia. The goals set by the PSKB Board of Directors were then adjusted to these trends. We joined the project during the formulation of positioning hypotheses.
The resulting new positioning concept — “A bank that is simple” — required the client to restructure their product portfolio, reorganize customer service, completely change corporate ethics and, consequently, the identity of PSCB.
Searching for a visual solution for the concept, we were guided by the idea lying at the core of the new positioning, which is making PSCB’s banking products, services, and communications with customers as simple as possible. We proposed an identification system that would help the Bank’s clients solve their financial problems with the elegance and ease of an expert.
In every dialog with a client, PSCB specialists provide explanations, additions, and comments to highlight the most important things. This brought us to the idea of a highlighter stroke as a key element in the new visual image of PSCB.
Highlighter strokes can be used in low-detail illustrations, icons, even charts and diagrams. The concept suggests that a stroke should always overlap on text or a photo image.
This graphical solution reflects the Bank’s desire for simplicity in their visual image. Highlighter strokes of any shape are created in Adobe Illustrator using Bristle Brush, which simulates brush strokes. The resulting image can be scaled with no compromise in quality almost indefinitely.
The simplicity of a highlighter stroke is complimented by a strict, contrast typography, which suggests that the Bank is still a serious financial institution that you can trust to take care of your financial problems. We used black cutoff rules as additional elements of layout and three different font styles for large amounts of text in a single layout, without sacrificing the compositional diversity.
The color scheme is the only throwback to the old corporate identity of PSCB, linking it with the new visual concept and emphasizing its continuity. The basic black and white colors in the background and texts remained unchanged. What we altered significantly was the Bank’s signature green color, bringing it closer to the distinctive bright color of a highlighter. The use of a pure luminescent shade prevented visual overlapping with competitors that employ a similar color scheme, particularly Sberbank.
We opted not to use images of employees, instead shifting the focus to the customers of PSCB, thus emphasizing the Bank’s attention to clients and demonstrating its main goal, which is to make the solution of financial problems as simple as possible. Natural photos depicting familiar situations, where people are not play-acting, are used in advertising, media, and the corporate website.
Photojournalism-styled images correlate well with the highlighter graphics, allowing us to use both within a single media vehicle.
The ’highlighter’ concept is completed with the PSCB logo. We renounced the symbolic part of the logo, shifting focus to the letters with a subtle circular stroke that connects the ’highlighter’ elements on media vehicles with the Bank itself. The lettering of the logo is developed based on the Slab Black typeface of the PF Centro superfamily. For the abbreviation to be more discernible, we reduced the number of serifs and made letters appear narrower.
During the transition to the new corporate identity, an adapted version of the old logo is used, with a different symbol and letters, but still recognizable.
The guideline describes the process of working with the new visual identification system of PSCB, devoting particular attention to the highlighter stroke. The guideline also includes descriptions of the color and font schemes, requirements for images, basic principles of layout, and specifics of working with the modular grid.
The old version of the PSCB website had large amounts of text and confusing navigation, which complicated user’s introduction to the Bank’s products and services. Interactive agency Nimax designed a more user-friendly interface, simplifying its structure and improving the way information is perceived, while also adapting the new visual identification system to the standards of the digital environment.