GMAC Bank Logo

For more than 20 years the partners at Ethic have worked as creative directors, designers and consultants for a large number of Credit Unions, Banks and other financial institutions. Our past experience is a who’s who in the financial industry, like Fifth Third Bank, First Union, Bank of America and First Community Credit Union. We’re proud of all of our work, including our complete brand development of GMAC Bank, now Ally Bank.
Pointing to existing relationships with nearly 25 million loyal consumers, GM and GMAC Financial Services recognized great potential in offering banking services to its significant customer base. With a keen eye toward the target audience’s wide-ranging ages, ethnicities and annual incomes, a logo was developed along with a tag line and all graphic communication components to make up a visually compelling, instantly recognizable GMACBank brand. The outcome? A veritable SUV of branding campaigns: quick off the line, loaded with power, and built rock-solid for the long haul.
GMAC Corporate Identity and brand marks
The goal was to create an identity program that reflected the strong brand affinity associated with GMAC and leveraged the stability associated with General Motors. On-target messaging was captured and test-group proven in the tag line, “Expect more from someone you know.”

Retail Environments

For more than 20 years the partners at Ethic have worked as creative directors, designers and consultants for a large number of Credit Unions, Banks and other financial institutions. Our past experience is a who’s who in the financial industry like Fifth Third Bank, First Union, Bank of America and First Community Credit Union. We’re proud of all of our work, including our complete overhaul of Allegacy Federal Credit Union.

Logo Design Refresh

In 2006, Alcoa Employees and Community Credit Union, a longstanding Midwestern financial institution, needed to separate from the world’s third-largest aluminum producer. After settling on a new name and logo through an internal process, Ascentra’s VP of Marketing brought in the Ethic team to take over the development of the young brand, and we’ve been nurturing and helping it grow ever since.
A logo gets new life
Since 2006 Ethic had struggled with how to use Ascentra’s logo to its fullest potential. From the first day it was handed to us, we knew we were going to have problems. It was literally unprintable, using color transparencies that at the time struggled to be “ripped” for printing. A very frustrating mistake that honestly should never have been allowed to be approved. With a little creativity and knowledge of the printing process we were able to make a workable solution. As you can see from the before, the iconography looks nice and is visually appealing; using the logo in everyday life was a different matter, in that it could only be used over white. Reluctant to change, we worked for years with what we had.
In 2012, Ascentra brought in a new VP of Marketing, who was very receptive to how we could keep the essence of the brand through a logo design refresh. In the end, the solution was relatively painless; outlines were created around the ascending bubbles and the font was beefed up to be more readable across multiple platforms. Before 2012 Ascentra and Ethic only had a few Credit Union marketing awards to pat themselves on the back with. After Ethic’s logo development, the awards are flooding in and the new, more workable, logo design is the foundation for that success.

Logo Refresh

For many reasons, Southeastern Federal Credit Union was taking “Federal” out of their name. Seems simple enough, but when you’re a financial institution with numerous branches, ATM locations and a plethora of branded institutional materials, the change can be a daunting task. Knowing everything would need to change, the decision was made to look into a new brand exercise to work through just how far SFCU was willing to move away from their current look. The designs would specifically attempt to make the icon “break out” of its borders and be more dynamic in appearance.
Ethic had already reworked many of SFCU’s brand elements over the past year. We had also just launched their new website and a general awareness campaign – so we new the logo refresh couldn’t be a drastic departure. To add to the mix of obstacles, Southeastern is in a tough credit union market with several well-established community banks and many false preconceptions about credit unions in general. How far should we push then? In the end, through several rounds of exploration of color, iconography and type, the decision was in; minus stronger, more workable colors and subtle changes in type, the logo would stay the same. We could consider the exercise a failure on our part to “woo” them into change. Change would provide us with plenty of new work. Honestly, while we all loved the work we created, any drastic change would be a costly marketing challenge setting everyone back to where we had started the year before… Time to move forward and woo the community with targeted campaigns featuring great rates and undeniable customer service.

Promotional Branding

Your logo is important – equally important is the material that goes out with your logo. Branding goes well beyond a company logo and a good brand incorporates your company look and style into everything you send out – including your promotional and marketing materials. Here are a few of our favorite internal and external identities we created for Ascentra over the years.

Brand Development

ValleyStar had just gone through a bit of an exhausting name and logo change from Martinsville Dupont Credit Union. During the process they called us in to help with a video animation introducing the change (see the video). Soon after, Ethic took over ValleyStar’s brand development. While we wish we had been called in from the get go, we were happy to jump in, access where they were in the development of their new brand, and get to work. Beyond a logo, the use of a color bar treatment and the start of a new website, little had been done with how their overall brand would take shape.
ValleyStar was also a bit under the gun and needed to hit the ground running with their new name, which left little time for a complete brand study. Working in close collaboration between the V.P of Marketing and Ethic, we started to slowly develop the elements for the brand through actual working marketing materials. While not an ideal situation, that can be filled with dead-ends and pitfalls, if not thoroughly thought through, we were up for the task. We started by establishing rules for colors, logo and typeface usage and then set out to massage and finesse who they were and what they were wanting out of their materials. Soon after the creation of a new ValleyStar call-out ribbon was introduced through the development of a round of general awareness campaign concepts. The new ribbon was the perfect complement to the aforementioned color bar. With enough tools in hand and an approved marketing direction, Ethic started on development of the campaign that included Print Advertising, Billboards and In-branch graphics. While we have a way to go for the complete development and implementation of the new brand, ValleyStar is now on the rise with a new consistent look.