Daniel Friedman
2 minute read
17 Jul 2018
3:00 pm

‘Similar’ Absa and OpenServe logos came from the same company

Daniel Friedman

The two logos that some have called out for being similar were designed by the same branding agency.

Barclays Africa rebrands as Absa, 11 July 2018. Picture: ANA

Last week The Citizen reported that Absa had come under fire on social media after some saw similarities between their new logo and that of Telkom fibre subsidiary OpenServe.

The two logos are here so readers can draw their own conclusion:

Now, adding fuel to the fire is the revelation that the two logos were designed by the same company – branding agency Grid Worldwide.

Company founder Nathan Reddy called the copying allegations “a ridiculous outcry”.

Reddy said “people have a negative perception of banks”, and that had contributed to the backlash Absa has experienced.

He said while this kind of thing “comes with the territory”, he felt it was strange that symbols as ubiquitous as “a circle and a line” could be seen to have been copied.

“A circle and a line is not something that any brand owns,” he said.

Asked about his response to a tweet saying it looked as if it “was a case of ‘copy and paste’ hoping that the people would not notice”, Reddy stressed the fact that the campaign wasn’t hastily put together.

“We had a full year to work on this, we had a very clear strategy” he said, adding the client “knew about” the potential similarity between the logos and that “it was brought up internally”.

“Logos are a dime a dozen,” Reddy continued, highlighting the many other factors involved in rebranding a big bank. “It’s more about a fully-integrated branding strategy. Does it fit the culture of the company, etc.”

READ MORE: Did Absa copy their new logo from OpenServe?

Reddy praised the campaign his company had done, saying it “works on every platform. The triumph for me is the simplicity of the logo”.

“We did a completely different job on it,” said Reddy in response to those who think the two logos are too similar.

According to the branding expert, seeing the two logos as similar is akin to saying “all black men over fifty with grey hair and glasses look the same”.

Many on social media, though, seem to have come to a markedly different conclusion.


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