More interesting than an accountant?

New logo for Institute of Public Accountants by Bastion Effect

Institute of Public Accountants logo before and after
Institute of Public Accountants logo before and after

The Institute of Public Accountants (IPA) is one of the three legally recognised professional bodies for accountants in Australia, and one of Australia’s oldest representative professional bodies, formed in 1923. The IPA represents more than 35,000 members and students working in industry, commerce, government, academia and professional practice. (Wikipedia)

The institute recently rebranded with a new logo to better align with small businesses and lift its market presence.

The creative design of the logo is built on what we are referring to as “the power of three” and gives us much flexibility in our marketing approach as it could relate to the collective of our members, their small business clients and our business. Equally, it refers the three main regions we operate in: Australia, Asia and the UK.

Media release

“We believe the logo represents who we are: warm, open, full of integrity, knowledgeable, confident, self-assured and wise,” says Catherine Cleary, general manager of marketing at IPA.

Mumbrella article

Old Institute of Public Accountants logo detail
Old Institute of Public Accountants logo detail

The old logo featured an adaptation of a coat of arms that was historically used when the IPA was known by other names. It was said to represent “integrity, respect, teamwork and a dedication to knowledge and education”. Having a coat of arms certainly evinces the longevity of an organisation, and, by extension, its authority within its respective field. Sensibly, the coat of arms didn’t overwhelm the logo; instead, it appeared like a seal of approval or quality accompanying the full name. At that proportionately small size, though, it was hard to make out the details, so its inclusion was more symbolic than anything.

In regards to the type – Helvetica being used for the full name – it seemed superfluous to include two instances of the initialism in the logo. I think one should have been omitted depending on the context or size. I’m also not sure why the design couldn’t stick to just one sans-serif typeface – a bit of a visual discrepancy there. Add to that some alignment issues and the old logo simply looked a bit dated.

New Institute of Public Accountants logo detail
New Institute of Public Accountants logo detail

The rationale for the new logo mentions “the power of three”. I wasn’t sure how this came through in the design until I watched the brand video below. There is an animation at the 2:17 mark that shows how three blobs come together to form the new graphic device. While the brand page says it’s flexible as it could relate to this, that and the other, the flip side is that it’s not an ownable concept – any company could conceive a set of three qualities and attribute three shapes to them. Visually, I do like the irregularity of the, essentially, smooshed five-pointed star. I like the vibrancy of the new colour palette and how the letter A integrates into the shape.

It’s good to see that the new logo sticks to one typeface, DIN, the no-nonsense workhorse sans-serif with a technical look that seems suitable for a field that involves precision with numbers. The expanded tracking is also welcome.

New IPA stationery
New IPA stationery

Overall, the new logo is a definite visual improvement. It’s more scalable than before and opens up more options for using colour in corporate communications. The combination of the multicoloured graphic and plain typeface means it’s neither too playful nor too austere. While it no longer acknowledges the institute’s past, it’s the foundation for a personable new look that should hold up for years to come.

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Mumbrella article