Logo and Logotype S

State Bank of India


Brand: State Bank of India

Owned by: The Government of India

Logo Designer: Shekhar Kamat, NID, Ahmedabad

Click here to download a high resolution logo

Design brief: “The circular form of the emblem suggests unity, completeness, the fullness of man’s being and his growing consciousness and continual expansion (of the bank); like concentric rings in water, to cover the entire country; the small circle in the centre connotes that despite the bank’s size, it is the small man who holds the centre of State Bank stage.

Viewed from another angle, the small circle with the vertical line suggests a keyhole — the symbol of safety, security and strength. Through the keyhole, one could glimpse the future, with its promise of progress, of growth and fulfilment in business and life.”

The standard color of the emblem is “coats fast blue.”

Logo release: 01 October 1971, on the day of inauguration of SBI Central Office building at Backbay Reclamation.

Previous logo:

old sbi logo
Image courtesy: Rajeev Prasad of ‘Coins and More’ Blog

The first Emblem of the State Bank of India adopted in 1955 is showing a banyan tree. The banyan tree has strong roots and its branches are capable of propagating and growing because of its aerial roots.

 Common man or keyhole?

This is the second time I’m failing to see the ‘inner meaning’ of a bank’s logo. To me, South Indian Bank logo represents a seashell. But the bank says it represents coconut fronds. To this day, SBI logo was a keyhole to me. But the actual concept reveals the image of a common man as the SBI logo. Well, so be it.

Another interesting interpretation (other than the common man, ripple and keyhole) is that the white circle denotes a State Bank of India Branch, which will be found anywhere you go, even in the narrow lanes of towns and cities. In other words, the State Bank will be there to serve you, wherever you go.

SBI logo is very simple, uses only the basic shapes and is widely regarded as a classic logo. The following images are of a Coffee Table Book designed by Orange Stone.

SBI Orange Stone Book
SBI Orange Stone Book

This book also suggests common man as the centre of SBI logo.

 “Kankaria Lake has got nothing to do with it!”

Debunking the story on SBI logo’s inspiration, has published an interview with Shekhar Kamat which includes many other interesting facts as well.

Source: video on SBI logo with Shekhar Kamat

Bank tokens (round metal discs showing numbers with a hole on the middle) is mentioned as one of the inspirations. This video also shows his first version where the line in the middle of the logo is narrower.

Other product offerings from SBI also use this logo in interesting ways.


SBI Mutual Fund logo that represents a growing tree.

SBI Aus Win

This interesting logo of a winner appears on State Bank of India Sydney Branch website.

More Keyholes

Following are some of the logos featuring a similar keyhole concept.

MuthootPappachan logo
Muthoot Pappachan logo features a cash-box.

edeneo_SachaGreif logo

Edeneo logo designed by Sacha Greif.
Edeneo lets you upload sensitive information to be made available after your death. The tagline is “the guardian of your legacy”. No wonder, the logo has an angel depicted.

datainsure_PeterRadich logo
DataInsure logo by Peter Radich.
DataInsure specializes in online data backup and insurance. The ‘D’ and ‘i’ of the name are cleverly tweaked to represent a lock with a keyhole.

Relevant links:

  1. D’source: Classic Logos of India
  2. Coins and more: Celebrating two hundred years of exciting heritage of the State Bank of India in 2006
  3. How Shekhar Kamat created State Bank of India’s iconic logo

Relevant literature:

  1. Page 738 of the book Evolution Of The State Bank Of India, Vol. 4 : The Era From 1955 To 1980, Author: Abhik Ray

By Anas KA

Designpreneur, UX Strategist, Design Blogger and Product Designer who is passionate in mentoring design teams. Writes at ',' '' and more...

4 replies on “State Bank of India”

@Melon Joe: Interesting!

Here are my funny interpretation on other bank logos:
Canara Bank = They will chain you to take money
HDFC Bank = They will imprison you in a bricked cell
Axis Bank = Three pointed sharp blades for threatening
ICICI Bank = You will be confined in an egg-like shell
Standard Chartered Bank = You will be tied in ropes

Anything more?

I don’t think that it was designed to convey anything other than a keyhole. I happen to know the person who was involved in its design.

Its like a famous artwork, people try to interpret it going as deep as they can to appreciate it.

@Soumya Jain:

The design brief I shared here is the official version. In the brief, keyhole takes a backseat.

I totally agree on the personal interpretation. Announcing the new logo in 1971, Shri R K Talwar, the legendary Chairman of SBI, wrote in the in-house magazine:

“More important is what people think of instinctively when they see it… The symbol will be what we make of it. What they think of us all, is what they will think of the symbol. And that is the meaning the symbol will ultimately acquire.”

— Evolution Of The State Bank Of India, Vol. 4 : The Era From 1955 To 1980, Author: Abhik Ray

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