Logo: 'Security with Interest'
A large number of designs were submitted, many showing marked initiative
and ingenuity. The committee spent a considerable portion of one morning in examining and criticising the designs, and ultimately
decided on the one submitted by Mr E G Barnes, which was duly registered.
His conception of a key with the simple but effective slogan
"Security with Interest" appeared to meet the case. Little could he have thought that his design would be so prominently displayed
and so well known as it is to-day. It explains in the simplest language what the Bank stands for. Other designs submitted had considerable
merit, and were also accepted for propaganda purposes.
The logo was used extensively, including large versions that were fixed outside
branch premises, and which were illuminated at night. In many of the pre-war photographs of branches, the key is hung at right-angles
to the building's facade. Two exceptions are Aston Cross and Nechells, where the key is hung flat against the branch's facade at first-floor
level; both of these branches also have the key design on window panels (a practice also adopted with the glass panels of the doors
of the city's trams).
The externally affixed keys were removed from branches (possibly during the war?), but all branches came to have
the design on their windows. It was also a feature of the internal decorations of the Bank's Head Office in Broad Street.
The design also featured extensively in copies of the Bank's Annual Report. Curiously, the first two editions of the Report (1920
and 1921, where the key was on the back page) show the key with a rather strange-looking device protruding from the left side
of the design. This was probably, therefore, the original winning design, as the Bank Committee had specified in the competition rules
that the design should be suitable for affixing to lamp-posts or electric standards. An early example is shown at Image 059
the logo was used at the British Industries Fair at Castle Bromwich in 1925
The example shown here is a reproduction from the 1921
An example of the modified logo (without the device on the left side), which was used in Annual
Reports after 1921, is illustrated below and on this site's Home Page
The key logo was also
included in the design of branches by incorporating an engraved version on window panes, as can be seen at Cotteridge branch
. An example
of such a window is illustrated below (photograph by Christine Skett).
When the Bank's Committee of Management decided that the BMB would need a design that would become known throughout the city, the
students at the School of Art (right) were asked to submit designs. The Bank's Chairman (Councillor C T Appleby) offered a prize
of Five Guineas (£5.25) for the best submission, and the School of Art's director laid down three conditions for the design:
to the competition to be limited to designs submitted by students attending the School of Art, or the branch schools;
designs to be suitable for reproduction, if desired, in enamel;
the Bank to own sole rights to the design.
Located in Margaret Street, Birmingham, the School of Art's
building was opened in 1885 - it was the first municipal school of art.