Brand refresh: The African Lion


South Africa, UK, USA, Botswana, Namibia, Nigeria, India

Rand Merchant Bank (RMB), a division of FirstRand Bank Limited, is a leading African corporate and investment bank and Private Bank. For over 30 years, RMB has invested in liberating diverse talent to do good business for a better world. But as the business landscape continues to evolve, RMB recognised the need to evolve its brand identity to reflect the changing times while staying true to its strong African heritage. The challenge was clear: to update and evolve the RMB brand to reflect the changes in the operating strategy, business environment, and brand purpose to ensure that the brand remains relevant, modern, and distinctive to their growing client base and to the broader African market they serve.

In response, RMB embraced an evolutionary approach, retaining a sense of familiarity while infusing the brand with modernity and stature that builds on the strength of RMB’s existing brand equity. The new brand identity, symbolised by a simplified lion's head icon, embodies RMB's African heritage, strength, and the pride it takes to do good business. Complemented by a new logotype and a unique corporate font, the brand's visual language now speaks volumes, reflecting its commitment to excellence and innovation.


  • Loerie Awards Bronze 2021 – Brand identity and collateral design
  • Loerie Awards Finalist 2021 – Logo design
  • Loerie Awards Finalist 2021 – Architecture design
  • Loerie Awards Finalist 2021 – Typography design


It was time to evolve and build on our African heritage. Adapting to a new digital world and unlocking the possibilitis of tomorrow." 

A proprietary typeface, RMB Sans, has been designed to align and standardise all visual communication.

The RMB Sans typeface has been created to complement the identity and carries similar geometric features.

Additionally, a display weight has been crafted exclusively for headlines, introducing fine serifs that hint at the RMB wordmark, adding an extra layer of considered detail.

Each weight within RMB Sans has its own oblique counterpart, and an extensive collection of diacritics and international currency symbols is also included.

As part of the FirstRand Group, we tell our Better Together story with colour.

The addition of RMB amber to the classical black and white palette creates an energetic warmth that links to the African sunset, solidifying RMB’s roots in Africa.

Seeing things in a new light is liberating, as we see things more clearly. To shine a light on something is to make it clear and find solutions. It evokes an optimistic emotion that reflects our purpose to build a better world. Taking cues from RMB amber and how it represents the sun and the enthusiasm of our people, we’ve adopted the theme of light for our imagery style.

We have created an iconography style that is reflective of the RMB brand, sharing visual cues from the identity itself. All icons are created on a responsive grid with a 1PX stroke thickness that allows modular Story Icons to be easily created while simultaneously maintaining an authentic, singular visual style throughout. Brand Icons are 64PX icons that have a specific detail redrawn in RMB amber at 2PX thickness, exemplifying a truly unique and ownable RMB brand asset.

Our illustration style shifts the RMB brand onto a contemporary stage that promotes expressive use of colour, showcasing a wide array of subject matter with diverse cultures and relatable personalities. The shapes are synonymous with the RMB identity geometry, with a bold focus on angular geometry delicately complimented by a monoline background and secondary elements to create an engaging focal point.

A new system for exterior and interior signage was developed and rolled out across Africa, using distinct elements from the new brand, such as the amber strip.

Our sponsorship identities create visual interest through the use of unique identifiers within the secondary wordmark. These small touches help the viewer to identify the subject of each sponsorship.  The identity also extends to co-branding and endorsement sponsorship applications.

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