Landshypotek was established in 1836 as a cooperative building society for the Swedish agricultural community. It helped to finance the investments of farmers and foresters, and ploughed its profits back into the farming industry. As such, it was vital in helping Sweden feed its growing population, and its support of generations of farmers had built a groundswell of trust and goodwill among Swedes. But as 2013 approached, it was looking further afield.
In April 2013, Landshypotek planned to become a bank under official terms. Still owned by its members, it would aim to challenge the established banking industry, offering the wider public the chance to save with good terms and invest in the countryside. It owned only a handful of branches but would take its first step as a savings bank with a new website. To launch the bank to its new customer group, SDL was asked to develop a new, fresh, public-friendly identity.
Landshypotek wasn’t like other banks. Its ‘bank-of-the-people’ image was something we needed to reflect in the identity. Adapting its previous emblem of an axe didn’t work. We put forward a different symbol: the silhouette of a tiny boy on the back of a flying goose from the children’s story, Nils Holgersson’s wonderful journey across Sweden. The tale, in which Nils is taken on a flight across Sweden’s historical landscape, had all the right associations, with farming, care for the landscape and ordinary Swedish families.
The new identity brought to the surface popular sentiments that had always been associated with the bank but never visibly expressed. As soon as the digital bank was launched in early 2013, it attracted waves of goodwill. More importantly, it attracted savers from among the general public, and set Landshypotek off on a journey towards becoming an even better bank.