The Bank of England’s ‘woke’ rebranding, which saw the removal of the St George flag from its logo, cost more than £51,000, it turns out.
The widely criticized move in early March saw the flag replaced with the Union Jack because it is “more inclusive” – leading some to accuse the institution of being “ashamed of being English”.
The bank’s bosses have been branded “woke idiots” after making several other controversial changes to its 328-year-old seal, including removing the pile of money at the feet of Britannia – the female personification of Britain.
While her right hand is still holding a spear, she is depicted in a more passive pose, with her left arm – carrying an olive branch representing peace – now bent instead of thrusting forward.
According to a Freedom of Information (FOI) request received from Guido Fawkes, the total cost of rebranding the logo and font was £51,694.49.
The institution used a company called Epic Icons to design the Britannia icon and paid them £6,720, while Lee Funnell provided £14,809.27 in ‘visual identity photography’, according to the list.
The old seal (pictured left) was redesigned (right) in a move that the bank says “reflects our commitment to be clearer and simpler.” It cost over £51,000 with over £22,000 spent on the font alone.
Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey (pictured) said the move is part of the bank’s mission to be “inclusive and accessible”.
Type design and usage license cost the bank £22,337.22, which was paid to Monotype Limited, while an invoice of £7,728 was paid to RedSofa for animation guidelines and film.
When asked what’s included with the new logo, the bank said: “Our new Britannia icon is now readable for mobile users and also better reflects our current mission and values
“The main changes we’ve made are replacing the St. George’s Cross on the shield with a union flag and removing the coins (the latter also helps us increase the size of the Britannia within the symbol). ”
John Bell, a retired academic, said after the March 4 update: “So the Bank of England is ashamed of being a bank (not a pile of coins) and English (cross of St George replaced by Union flag) and even for Britannia’s (and its) role as a promoter of peace and prosperity (weakened Britannia).’
Former MEP Rupert Lowe commented: “The Bank of England is investing its time/money in redesigning its logo to become more ‘inclusive’…
“I mean honestly, what are these people playing? Incompetent, bright idiots.’
Others also took to Twitter to express their anger at the politically correct rebranding.
Simon Barrall wrote: “Why did the Bank of England remove the St George’s cross from its logo and replace it with the flag of the Union? It is the Bank of ENGLAND?’
Another critic said: “And the metropolitan liberal (so-called) elite wonder why English nationalism is on the rise!”
The Bank of England, pictured, said it wants to become “more inclusive” and this is a driving force behind the changes
A Tale of “The Old Lady of Threadneedle Street”
The ancient seal of the Bank of England showing Britannia holding a shield, spear and olive branch and seated on a stack of coins
The Bank of England has had its headquarters on Threadneedle Street in the City of London for most of its 328-year history.
It has long been known as The Old Lady of Threadneedle Street, a name it takes from a 1797 painting by artist James Gillray.
The satirical image shows Prime Minister William Pitt the Younger pretending to be courting an old lady who is a personification of the bank.
However, what he really wants is the bank’s money, represented by coins falling out of her pocket and a chest that she is sitting on.
At the time, the bank was still essentially a private company, and critics suggested politicians were taking advantage of The Old Lady.
The image and resulting nickname has stuck over the years, and many still call the bank The Old Lady of Threadneedle Street.
Some confuse this with Britannia, the figure on the bank’s seal.
Britannia has been associated with the bank since its inception, with a Court of Directors declaring that the bank’s common seal was intended to represent “Britannia sitting on a bank full of money and looking” just days after she received the royal charter in 1694 .
A brochure found in the bank’s archives suggests the group took inspiration from the design then found on the back of the Halfpenny and Farthing.
However, the motif was not created until 20 years later, when the Flemish engraver John Roettier created the image after being inspired by a coin depicting the Roman Emperor Hadrian.
Using the face of Frances Stuart, later Duchess of Richmond, as a model, he depicted Britannia with an olive branch in her right hand, a spear in her left, and a shield bearing the combined crosses of St George and St Andrew.
This was minted on coins, but the seal itself differed in a few aspects – on the seal she sat higher, faced right instead of left, had a waist-high money bank, and the shield only showed the Cross of St. George.
She has been designed several times over the years – sometimes shown looking over her shoulder away from the pile of money, while others depicted her in a chariot drawn by two horses.
The pattern finally settled on her seated, holding a spear and shield in one hand, a branch in the other, and a crown over her head.
Source: Bank of England
While the logo hasn’t been completely overhauled, there are a number of obvious differences between the new and old.
A pile of what appeared to be coins at the feet of Britannia has disappeared from the new seal, as have the feet themselves.
Meanwhile, the shield resting beside her has been redesigned, replacing the previous version’s St George’s Cross with the Union Jack.
And Britannia herself has shifted – she’s no longer sitting on her side, she’s rotated slightly to a more frontal position.
On its website, the bank had said its mission was “to serve the people of the UK” and had considered this part of the redesign, adding the new logo “which reflects our commitment to be clearer and simpler”. .
It said: “Part of our communication is the ‘look and feel’ of our content. That includes things like our logo and the colors and typography that we use.
“We want to make these things more accessible and inclusive. That’s why our in-house designers worked with industry leaders to create a new, digitally-centric “visual identity system” for our website and publications.
“We will continue to work on improving the way we communicate because it will help us to achieve our mission.”
While the logo is the most obvious change, the bank added that it redesigned its website and font to make it easier to read for people with dyslexia.
It states: “It is estimated that up to 1 in 10 people in the UK have some degree of dyslexia.
“So we designed a new typeface that is easier to read.
“The design was created by industry leaders in type design. It is based on the guidelines of the British Dyslexia Association.”
It added it changed its use of colors, inspired by those on its banknotes, to improve the contrast between the color of the text and the backgrounds.
Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey said: “The Bank of England has been around for hundreds of years, but it is betting on advances in digital technology.
“These advances have brought many benefits.
“One of them is that it brings us closer to the public we serve.
“We know that we have to explain what we are doing and why.
“How we communicate is part of how we accomplish our mission. We intend to continue trying to make our communications more inclusive and accessible to all.’
It comes after the bank came under fire for removing portraits of former governors linked to the slave trade in June last year.
Governor Andrew Bailey has been accused of attending a “later-day bonfire of the Vanities” after the objects were removed following a review.
The seven characters include colonial trader Sir Gilbert Heathcote and slave traders Sir Robert Clayton and Robert Bristow.
Sir James Bateman traded for the Royal African Company – the leading slave trading company of the time – while William Manning and John Pearse held investments in plantations.
The seventh figure is William Dawsonne, director of the bank from 1698 to 1719.
A Bank of England spokesman said: “In June 2020 the bank announced a review of its collection of pictures of former governors and directors to ensure no pictures of known involvement in the slave trade remain on display anywhere in the bank.”
- An earlier version of this article reported that the Bank of England’s logo rebrand was funded with taxpayers’ money. We are happy to clarify that although the Bank is a public body it does not receive any funding from HM Treasury and we have amended the article to reflect this.