The History Behind HSBC’s Iconic Logo

HSBC logo

HSBC’s logo is one of the most recognisable ones in the world. That, however, is not solely due to the fact that the company ranks among the largest banks on the globe. The logo itself is easy to remember despite its very simplistic design. Behind it, there is a long and surprisingly multinational history that involves:

  • An Austrian designer
  • The Scottish flag
  • Chinese traditions

The logo’s design

HSBC logoThe logo of HSBC consists of two parts – the logo type and the logo mark. The former uses a serif which reminds of Baskerville Old Face or Times New Roman and it is coloured in black. The logo mark, on the other hand, is red and it resembles the shape of an hourglass.

The story behind the design

The company’s logo was designed by Henry Steiner – an Austrian designer. At one point in his life, Steiner decided to take a temporary job in Hong Kong but after a few years there, he chose to make his stay in the Pearl of the Orient permanent. It was there where he was asked to design HSBC’s logo. The graphic artist largely based it on the house flag of the bank which it used as early as the late-19th century. The flag itself was based on… the flag of Scotland. That was because HSBC’s original founder Sir Thomas Sutherland was Scottish. The choice of the logo’s colour is also not accidental. The black stands for elegance and power, while the red symbolizes action, passion and energy. Also, red is one the most celebrated colours by Chinese people.

When was is introduced

The first time HSBC’s current logo was officially introduced was back in 1983. However, it wasn’t until 1998 that all of the bank’s branches started to use it. Today, it can be seen across 70 countries all over the world.