Brand: State Bank of India
Owned by: The Government of India
Logo Designer: Shekhar Kamat, NID, Ahmedabad
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.
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.
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, Scroll.in has published an interview with Shekhar Kamat which includes many other interesting facts as well.
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.
This interesting logo of a winner appears on State Bank of India Sydney Branch website.
Following are some of the logos featuring a similar keyhole concept.
Muthoot Pappachan logo features a cash-box.
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 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.
- D’source: Classic Logos of India
- Coins and more: Celebrating two hundred years of exciting heritage of the State Bank of India in 2006
- Scroll.in: How Shekhar Kamat created State Bank of India’s iconic logo
- Page 738 of the book Evolution Of The State Bank Of India, Vol. 4 : The Era From 1955 To 1980, Author: Abhik Ray