Eagle No More: Barclays to Possibly Kill Their 279 Year Old Identity

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Disaster could be looming for one of the oldest corporate identities around: the London-based financial giant Barclays is planning to drop its eagle logo if they are purchased by ABN AMRO. The eagle logo was first created (although it’s been through numerous makeovers) in 1728, but now, with the buyout possibility closing in, they’ve said that they’re planning to axe it because apparently the Dutch ABM AMRO thinks the logo is a little too close to the Nazi eagle emblem, which wouldn’t be received so well given the history in World War II between Germany and the Netherlands (but, strangely, no one seems to have minded that they’ve been using the logo in London for the past 279 years). Here’s some:

Barclays’ link to the eagle dates back to 1728 when two of its founders moved to new premises in London, where there was the sign of the Black Spread Eagle. The sign has evolved over years and was softened by brand consultants in a 1999 makeover.

The German eagle is an old national symbol used by kings and emperors of the region and was part of the Imperial arms adopted when Germany was unified in 1871. During the Nazi era the national swastika symbol was held by an eagle.

Barclays could adopt ABN’s shield logo for a combined group, the source said. It would keep its eagle if the ABN bid fails.