Dynamic Stability


For logo designers, the phrase dynamic stability will recall the logo of Deutsche Bank.  In the early 1970s, restored to a unified bank and now expanding globally, Deutsche Bank looked at its rather dated logo and decided it was time for a new timeless version.  Eight well-known graphic designers and artists from the German-speaking world were invited to propose a solution.  The winning design came from a well-known constructivist artist and designer, Anton Stankowski.

His design, the seemingly remarkably simple “slash in the square” logo, was intended to symbolize “growth in a stable environment.” It has remained virtually untouched since its launch to the public in a newspaper advertisement on April 25, 1974.

The design arises from an abstraction from a grid placed above a square.  The square has always been an archetypal icon of stability, and rather practically.  It is no accident that cars have four wheels.  If you look carefully you will see that the slash is not a straightforward diagonal, which introduces a visual edginess.  And it brings movement within stability. It is also an idea of great importance to both banks and their customers. No wonder that Deutsche Bank likes it.

Here then is a remarkably simple – and yet very precise and not so simple – design to represent an idea, an idea that is extremely important to modern organisations.  How can we be simple, stable and yet dynamic?  How can we be strong and secure and grow and change?

This too is a design problem.  This too requires design that neatly integrates different archetypal models.

At Thinking, we do not infrequently design logos for companies, but designing visual expressions is not our core business.  It is a side outcome.  We are always creating organisational designs for dynamic stability, and especially the governance capacity to be alive and stay alive (which can be surprisingly difficult).  We are also always clarifying the unique organising identity of the enterprise.  These are the two structural aspects that we integrate.  One comes from cybernetics and such tools as Viable System Model and the other from our proprietary methodology, Virtuoso®.

The Deutsche Bank logo is over 40 years old.  It has stood the test of time.  That is our standard as well.

Angus Jenkinson

SEE ALSO: https://www.db.com/en/media/Logo_History.pdf