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What's up with Chase's octagon?
Here's the history behind the iconic logo.
Without seeing a word, people around the world immediately recognize the apple, the swoosh and the golden arches. That's exactly what designers had in mind when they created the octagon for Chase Manhattan Bank nearly 60 years ago.
The previous design featured an outline of the United States, an inset of the globe and the phrases "Chase Manhattan Bank," "Worldwide Banking," and, take a breath, "Chartered in 1799."
Design firm Chermayeff & Geismar Associates presented eight symbols, including a sleek octagon they called "a simple yet powerful geometric form embodying a strong feeling of motion and activity."
The four parts of the octagon—originally black, brown, green, and blue—represent forward motion, while the white square in the middle suggests progress originates from the center. "Like the bank itself, the symbol is a single unit made up of separate parts," the designers noted.
The geometric design was one of the very first abstract corporate logos, sparking a change in marketing and branding that McDonald's, Apple and Nike clearly have followed.
Almost 60 years later, Chase Manhattan has created America's largest bank through mergers with a number of other large and small institutions. And the logo continues to thrive in an increasingly digital world.
Customers recognize it online, on mobile phones, on thousands of ATMs and branches and on millions of credit and debit cards. Although subtle changes in the color and typeface have been made over the years—Chase adopted the solid blue octagon in 2004—the logo remains a powerful, instantly recognizable symbol for the Chase brand.
Ann Loynd Burton is Chase News contributor.