BMO Logo

BMO (Bank of Montreal) LogoBMO (Bank of Montreal) Logo

The BMO logo speaks of monumentality, solidity, and reliability. The sign is as if imprinted on a granite slab. It will not be moved by any cataclysms. And in the center of the emblem, a warm heart “beats,” and the incessant processes of increasing money are seething.

BMO: Brand overview

BMO appeared in 1817; therefore, it is deservedly considered the oldest bank in Canada and is one of the “big five” financial institutions in the country. It was named Bank of Montreal in 1922, and even earlier was known as Montreal Bank. In the same year, BMO went from being a small company owned by eight founding businessmen to a joint-stock company with 144 owners. Now the multinational organization provides retail banking services, conducts investment activities, and helps with wealth management. Twelve million commercial and private clients trust them.

Meaning and History

BMO Logo History

BMO has become famous for its high-profile advertising campaigns and unconventional approach to branding. He often changed slogans to fit the spirit of the times. He also had his mascot: a lion named Hubert. The unusual symbol appeared in 1911 but only made a splash in the late 1950s when the Leo Burnett Company’s designers created an original cartoon character based on it.

The bank also has an official coat of arms with a shield, a beaver, two Indians, and a ribbon with the inscription “CONCORDIA SALUS.” In the original version, the indigenous people were sitting with their elbows on a shield. However, the leaders demanded to “do everything right” because, according to heraldry’s rules, the supporting figures must stand.

The BMO name on the current logo was once the ticker of a financial institution on the New York and Toronto stock exchanges. Major shareholders are used to calling the bank “bee-mo,” so no one ever doubted that the merger should bear the name BMO Financial Group. Although the employees themselves sometimes abbreviated the phrase “Bank of Montreal” to “B of M.” This became especially noticeable when the post-war emblem appeared with the words “MY BANK TO A MILLION CANADIANS” (above) and “B of M” (below) on a black and white shield.

What is BMO?

This is a shortened version of the name of the Bank of Montreal. It is the oldest and one of the largest banks in Canada and has long been a monopolist in the financial market. It appeared in 1817 and grew quickly, buying up competing companies and expanding its services. Its network has more than 1.4 thousand branches at home and in the United States.

1817 – 1822

At the moment, during this period of the company’s development, the brand’s logo and emblem are unknown.

1822 – 1920

Bank of Montreal BMO Logo 1822

One of the first logos contained the phrase “BANK OF MONTREAL,” written in thin letters with long serifs. Both “O” s looked like a perfectly circular ring and were above the line level. The base color was black, but sometimes gray and white shades appeared if the word mark became the basis for the metal sign.

1920 – 1945

Bank of Montreal Logo 1920

Thin and tall serif letters were retained. But there were also certain differences. For example, the font is now the same: the small “O” has disappeared, and in its place, a full-fledged letter has appeared, matching in size with the rest of the characters. At the bottom, the designers placed the year the bank was founded – “1817”. The inscription has been aligned to the center. The color of the logo is monochrome.

1937 – 1943

Bank of Montreal Logo 1937

This period was dominated by the bold type logo, with each letter resembling a large block character. To maintain optimal readability, the developers have increased the inter-letter space. The wide geometric glyphs were provided with rectangular serifs and colored black. The lower inscription remained smaller than the upper one.

1945 – 1966

Bank of Montreal Logo 1945

In 1945, there were dramatic changes in the identity: next to the full name of BANK OF MONTREAL, a message appeared that this was a real Canadian bank, and a semblance of a text shield was placed on the right. The inscription was arranged in such a way that it formed a pentagonal shield with a red bottom, where for the first time, the abbreviated form was indicated – “B of M.” The fonts in all lines were different: italic with an imitation of personal handwriting, grotesque thin and bold, with needle serifs. There were no two duplicates.

1959 – 1967

Bank of Montreal Logo 1959

The emblem has become monolithic to emphasize the banking institution’s reliability, strength, safety, and longevity. To do this, the designers enlarged the letters, painted them white, and added a gray-yellow shadow on the right side, which made the inscription three-dimensional. At the top, they placed a composition that consisted of two Indians sitting to the right and left of the oval shield. He personified the benefits received by the indigenous population from the bank. At the bottom was a cornucopia, from which fruit fell.

1967 – 1997

Bank of Montreal (BMO) Logo 1967-1997

In 1967, the CEO of Arnold Hart Bank introduced a new logo called M-Bar. The original design was invented by Canadian Hans Kleefeld, who works for Stewart & Morrison. He created an unusual symbol, consisting of a large letter “M” on a rectangle. Notable was that the figure had a clear square shape, as indicated by the trimmed edges of the “M.” The blue icon was complemented by the same blue inscription “Bank of Montreal.” This time the font had no serifs, and the lowercase “t” and “r” were connected at the top.

The M-Bar was supposed to be a banner of change because, in 1967, a new Bank Act was released that allowed the organization to provide mortgage services to clients. This inspired management to launch an aggressive marketing campaign by redefining Bank of Montreal’s strategy and identity. The reorganization coincided with the 150th anniversary of the financial institution.

1997 – today

BMO (Bank of Montreal) Logo

When all of the bank’s subsidiaries merged under the BMO Financial Group brand, the familiar M-Bar symbol was renewed. The designers made it white and placed it in a red circle. This badge was used even earlier (at the end of the 20th century) by individual BMO trademarks but only became widespread in 2002 after the restructuring.

Bank of Montreal is now light blue and has small, sharp serifs. The word “BMO” appeared on the left to emphasize the overall history of all units. In the short version of the logo, the designers removed the bank’s old name, leaving only the main identifiers: the ticker and the symbol in the circle.

Font and Colors

BMO Emblen

The current logo of the financial institution is called the M-Bar roundel. It is based on the M-Bar symbol and dates back to 1967 when Hans Kleefeld (the famous creator of The Toronto-Dominion Bank, Johnson & Johnson, and Air Canada logos) created another masterpiece. He did not experiment with complex shapes but placed a stylized “M” on an elongated rectangle. In the early 21st century, designers depicted this icon inside a red circle to represent the brand’s transition to a new identity.

Both parts of the lettering (“BMO” and “Bank of Montreal”) are easy to read because they are in Emona SemiBold. It is a serif typeface with long serifs and contrasting stroke thickness, created by the French typographer Franko Lui.

BMO Symbol

The rondel base is bright red (shade # ED1D24), and the text is light blue (Ocean Boat Blue # 0079C1). Blue has been the official color of the bank since Hans Kleefeld designed the M-Bar. Striving to be the first in everything, BMO even began to call itself “First Bank Blue.”

BMO color codes

Pigment RedHex color:#ed1d24
RGB:237 29 36
CMYK:0 88 85 7
Pantone:PMS Bright Red C
Ocean Boat BlueHex color:#0079c1
RGB:0 121 193
CMYK:100 37 0 24
Pantone:PMS 3005 C

What does the BMO logo mean?

The logo, known as the M-Bar roundel, has a special meaning in BMO’s identity. Its top element in the form of a side-cut M represents the first letter in the word Montreal, which is part of the bank’s full name. And so that the zigzag does not seem unstable, under it is a rectangle – a symbol of stability, durability, and constancy, which is extremely important for a financial institution.

What is the font of the BMO logo?

The same font is used for the two inscriptions in the logo: Emona SemiBold. It has a geometric shape, high contrast, and long, thin serifs. The author of this typeface is the designer Franko Lui.