New Kiwibank Aotearoa brand identity

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AUCKLAND, Tuesday: Design agency ThoughtFull – working with external partners* and internal Kiwibank teams – has created a new brand identity for the NZ-owned bank, celebrating 20 years in business.

This is a collaborative project, with the bank’s creative agency Special leading the advertising stream and providing a core part of the design group.

Kiwibank ceo Steve Jurkovich said: “A brand is a precious asset. It lets people know who we are, what we stand for and what we care about.

“What was current and relevant 20 years needs to be treasured but it also needs to evolve to reflect who we want to be. As we come of age it is a great time to reflect on the ambition we hold for the future.”

Brand & marketing manager Simon Hofmann said: “When developing the new identity,  it was important that different perspectives were brought to the table to push the thinking which saw a group of New Zealand based partners and Māori cultural specialists work alongside the internal team.

“It’s been a unique opportunity to step back and really think around how we are going reflect the great legacy we have but set us up to move forward for the next 20 years of growth. It’s important that we evolve and reflect a more modern and progressive approach to our brand that is in step with the change seen across Aotearoa in the last 20 years.

“The identity and logo are inspired by the concept of a thriving Aotearoa and was designed around the te ao Māori metaphor for a thriving whānau and community which is symbolised in pā harakeke.

“The outer leaves are the tūpuna, our ancestors, representing knowledge and wisdom. The inner leaves, the mātua or parents which protect and nurture the central new shoots, being the tamariki or children – the next generation and future growth.”

Geoff Suvalko, CD/founder of ThoughtFull, led the design process and said that for the idea of a thriving Aotearoa to be represented, the logo couldn’t be static.

“The identity and logo are inspired by the concept of a thriving Aotearoa and was designed around the te ao Māori metaphor which is symbolised in pā harakeke.”

“We wanted an identity that could change, evolve and have life in it to really represent the idea of thriving.

“We wanted the frame to be able to be dynamic, animated, able to fold into different shapes and different forms. The two colours of green, the dark green and the bright green reflect the light and the dark side of the harakeke leaf when hit by the sun.”

“A partnership with Johnson McKay of marketing services agency Ira Aotearoa brought a strong cultural ethos to the process.

McKay said: “The journey started with us asking what it means to thrive from a te ao Māori perspective.

“That little fold in the leaf of the harakeke is quite an iconic shape and so that shape inspired a device that’s used in all cultral symbolism throughout the brand.

“One of the questions that I get asked as a cultural designer is what are we allowed to do with Māori cultural design elements? Are we allowed to invert it? Are we allowed to crop it?

“And one of the things that’s really inspiring to me about this project is that we found a way to use cultural design and visual language throughout the entire ecosystem. And I think what that took was a bravery to see that Māori visual language should be a normal part of our interactions with New Zealand brands.”

Hofmann: “The new identity, which has been built around a digitally led direction, has been incredibly well received and is looking forward seeing it roll it out over the year.

“There’s a real sense of pride in seeing the best of Kiwibank’s legacy woven together with a rich cultural foundation that is modern and future focussed and clearly steps Kiwibank forward to reflect the bank it is today.”


Masterbrand Design: Geoff Suvalko & ThoughtFull
Brand Strategy Partner: Jodi Williams
Māori Cultural Design: Johnson McKay and Ira
Web Design: DNA
Communications: Special Group NZ
Spatial Design & Retail Signage: Retail Dimensions
Māori Artwork: Tristan Marler (Manawa Tipu)

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