Merrill Lynch became the largest investment bank and proudly carried it until 2008 when it was acquired by the similarly giant conglomerate Bank of America. It should be admitted that the abolished organization itself once bought up other firms. Its structure included:
- At least one investment company.
- A brokerage firm.
- An insurance company.
- An institution that was involved in asset management.
The financial crisis changed everything: the owners were forced to sell the bank to save it when losses reached $ 21 billion for the quarter.
Meaning and History
What is Merrill Lynch?
Merrill Lynch is the asset management division of Bank of America. Its official name is Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated.
Now Merrill Lynch continues to exist, but under a new name and in a completely different form. In 2019, 11 years after the merger, the divisions were merged with Bank of America’s corresponding parts: the trading business and investment banking were transferred to BofA Securities. Only the Merrill brand remained, providing asset management services.
All this was reflected in the visual identification of the financial company. After the merger, the designers emphasized its affiliation with BofA, combining the phrase “MERRILL LYNCH” in the logo with a two-color flag symbol and Bank of America. In 2019, corporate branding changed again with the iconic bull emblem’s return, similar to the one used before 2008.
1914 – 2019
The logo bore the organization’s name, derived from the names of the founders: Charles E. Merrill and Edmund C. Lynch. Their joint history began in 1914 when they headed their own investment company. The business grew and developed rapidly. By the early 1970s, an unexpected problem arose: the brand name did not correspond to the financial institution’s high standing. It looked like a nice but not very memorable combination of letters “MLF.” Therefore, the management decided to develop a completely different concept, creating a catchy visual series.
At first, the bank’s owners were going to use geese’s image flying south, but they quickly abandoned this idea due to the lack of financial connection. They then remembered that one of Wall Street’s symbols (the historical center of the Financial District) is a bull. This animal symbolizes the rise in prices due to its sharp, upward horns. Also, bulls have been associated with Merrill Lynch ever since it was nicknamed Thundering Herd of Wall Street.
The idea was picked up and developed by Roger Butler, head of New York-based marketing agency Ogilvy. As part of the new “bull” campaign, promotional videos with running animals, a patriotic slogan, and a logo were created. The bull featured on all accompanying materials, business cards, and letterheads has been nicknamed Lightning because of its belly’s zigzag line. It was always to the left of the name Merrill Lynch, written in bold serif letters. For the design of the text, the designers used the Aken Bold font.
2019 – present
In 2008, Bank of America was forced to buy the loss-making company Merrill Lynch and re-branded by the end of the following year. In February 2019, another global event took place: from the financial structure, which was a highly developed bank before the crisis, the asset management division of Merrill remained. BofA, a multinational holding company, launched a massive advertising campaign to draw attention to the change. And not long before that, a new brand logo appeared: its name (left), supplemented by the old bull image (right) and the inscription “A BANK OF AMERICA COMPANY” (below).
Font and Colors of the Emblem
Earlier, the bull on the Merrill Lynch emblem symbolized not just personal wealth but a whole community. It was a reflection of global financial growth, stability, strength, and self-confidence. The effect was amplified by old commercials featuring a huge Texas longhorn.
The modern image of a bull is no different from the previous one. The animal, as before, is drawn in a minimalistic cartoon style so that only the silhouette is visible. But now, this image has lost its meaning and is used simply as a cult sign of Merrill Lynch.
The century-old brand once had a logo in which its name was written in Aken Bold. Then the serif typeface replaced the serif. The designers took one of the standard grotesques and made individual changes to the letters. Now the middle “M” looks like a sharp downward angle, and the top horizontal line at “E” is cut diagonally.
Medium Persian Blue (# 0061AA) lends lettering and graphic elements the distinctive charm that characterizes Bank of America’s corporate identity.