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Opinion

The history and development of the Deutsche Bank logo: Deutsche the Destroyer?

In the gripping document The history and development of the Deutsche Bank logo, available on the company’s website to all interested readers, an unnamed author details the various icons the German bank has used down the ages. Replacing the now-ominous imperial eagle of the early 1900s and the bland ‘DB in an oval’ of the mid-20th century, the current ‘slash in a square’ was adopted in 1974. The slash apparently stands for growth, while "the square-shaped frame can be interpreted as a sign of security". The logo, we are told, was the design of a now deceased graphic artist from Stuttgart named Anton Stankowski; he is said to have submitted the image alongside seven other competitors in 1972. This is as convenient a creation myth as any, but intrepid research in the jungles of Cambodia by Euromoney has revealed the possibility of a far more sinister origin for the logo. We found this archway, with its uncanny resemblance to the DB logo, in the ruins of the East Mebon temple near to Angkor Wat.

The temple is dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva, the Destroyer. Deutsche recently removed its name from employee business cards, leaving the logo to stand alone ("That’s why we pay you the big bucks," joked one senior banker in Asia to a corp comms colleague recently) as the bank continues its post-crisis expansion. This should be a cause for concern. Faced with this new evidence, it seems as though the official history of the logo might not be the bland tract of PR waffle that it appears to be but rather a sinister attempt to cover up the firm’s links to a 10th-century Khmer temple dedicated to the Destroyer of the Hindu trinity. You have been warned.

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