Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce has a reputation for innovation. In 1964, he created the only Floating Bank in the country: his boat sailed along St. Lawrence River and docked to provide financial services. In 1969, CIBC was the first in Canada to use ATMs, and in 1970 became the owner of Flying Bank: its jet flew between seven cities in the northwest. He also pioneered secure e-banking for customers (1996) and installed the only skier ATM on Whistler Blackcomb’s top (2017).
Meaning and History
Despite the creative approach to business, the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce has been unable to streamline its visual style for a long time. Perhaps this was due to its origin: CIBC was created based on the Canadian Bank of Commerce and Imperial Bank of Canada, which appeared in the second half of the 19th century and merged in 1961. The owner of the IBC asked about the merger: he wanted to avoid a foreign takeover.
In the beginning, the brand lacked an organized identity. Each branch looked different: somewhere, the full name of the company was written, somewhere – only an abbreviation, and in some places, the inscriptions “Bank of Commerce” and “Imperial Bank” were presented. There was no consistency in the logos either, and the first CIBC badge in the 1990s was outdated and needed a reboot. A regulated identification system appeared only in 2001 with the release of a new emblem.
1961 – 1966
In the early 1960s, the financial institution used a logo that consisted of three geometric shapes. Two quadrangles – one purple and the other orange – contained the letters “C,” and “I.” Above was a gray triangle that resembled the roof of a painted house. The square and rectangle looked like pages from a squared notebook. They were covered in circles and lines as if the designers forgot to erase the blueprints after writing the letters.
1966 – 1986
The designers supplemented the abstract icon with the bank’s name, written at the bottom in two lines. They chose an unusual font with very short serifs and dimples at the ends of the letters. It was the only black and white CIBC logo.
1966 – 1994
In 1966, the red and brown emblem was created and used for the next 28 years. It consisted of two chevrons – inverted V-shaped signs. They were angle brackets pointed outward. They represented a large network of branches of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce – literally from coast to coast. Between the chevrons were two legs, symbolizing stability.
1986 – 1994
In 1986, the chevron symbol was repainted gold and placed inside a burgundy square. The developers had to shorten the inscription “CANADIAN IMPERIAL BANK OF COMMERCE” to an abbreviation so that it would also fit into the quadrangle. The updated typography included a sharp serif typeface. The golden square frame made the emblem complete.
1994 – 2001
The next redesign took place against the backdrop of the acquisition of 55% of the shares of TAL Investment Counsel. For the first time, the financial institution abandoned its abstract symbol and replaced it with another geometric sign – three-dimensional chevrons that formed a diamond. The 3D element was inside a small dark red rectangle, which, in turn, occupied the upper right corner next to the inscription “CIBC.”
The first “C” letter was most notable than IBC, even though the abbreviation consisted of only capital letters. A white curved line divided the semicircular side “C” in two.
2001 – 2003
At the start of the second millennium, the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce needed a new identity system to compete with Canada Trust, which merged with TD in 2000 and rebrands globally. The owners of CIBC wanted to find something timeless that would not be outdated even after a few decades. This universal sign was two arcs (one yellow and the other white) – a symbol of growth, progress, and movement forward. Curved lines underlined the CIBC lettering and with it were inside a deep red rectangle.
2003 – present
Two years after the debut, the logo was updated. The designers made the colors brighter and noticeably changed the shade of red. Also, they enlarged the abbreviation and moved it to the right. To do this, they had to expand the quad a little so that it became a square again.
Font and Colors of the Emblem
The bank’s owners turned to Ove Brand, a design agency, to determine which associations generate a positive response from consumers. As it turned out, customers responded positively to everything related to progress and development. Therefore, the centerpiece of the CIBC logo is two arcs that convey the idea of growth.
The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce logo features a custom serif typeface vaguely similar to ParaType’s Orbi Bold. The base color is a dark shade of red (# B10316). It replaces the CIBC Claret (# 9D2235), which was in use before the redesign. The name of the financial institution is written in yellow letters (tone – gold # FFD500). This color used to be darker (# FFC724).