Standard Life Aberdeen to become Abrdn in “digitally-enabled” rebrand

Wolff Olins has designed the new identity for the Scottish asset management company, which includes a change of name and logo update.

Standard Life Aberdeen (SLA) has changed its name to Abrdn as part of an identity overhaul which hopes to create a “modern, agile, digitally-enabled brand”.

Brand consultancy Wolff Olins has worked on the new identity which will roll out fully later this year. So far, the new logo, name update and brand video have been revealed.


SLA is the result of a 2017 merger between insurance business Standard Life and asset management firm Aberdeen Asset Management.

Since that merger, SLA it sold its insurance arm to Phoenix Group which also bought the Standard Life name earlier this year.

“A highly differentiated brand”

Abrdn says that the new identity marks “the next stage in the reshaping of the business and future-focused growth strategy”.

This will cover three main sectors, according to the company, which includes investments, advisory tech platforms and personal finance.

The shortened, vowel-less name is still pronounced Aberdeen, according to the company. The updated wordmark appears in lower-case with an ‘a’ logo made up of dots.

The firm’s chief executive Stephen Bird says that the new brand is “modern, dynamic” and also builds on the existing heritage of the company.

A newly-released video shows an animated version of the logo, with dots forming different shapes above the wordmark.

“It is a highly differentiated brand that will crate unity across the business,” Bird adds. “Our new name reflects the clarity of focus that the leadership team are bringing to the business as we seek to deliver sustainable growth.”

The rebrand has been getting a lot of attention online since it was unveiled yesterday.

The full visual identity is set to roll out in the summer and continue throughout the year. Design Week has approached Wolf Ollins for further comment.

What do you think of the Abrdn’s new identity? Let us know in the comments below.

Hide Comments (11)Show Comments (11)
  • Pete Ramskill April 28, 2021 at 10:11 am

    That’s pretty awful. And using every bla bla bla cliche to describe it doesn’t help.

  • CakeyPig April 29, 2021 at 7:18 am

    “I’m getting the words……. A burden……”

  • Jonathan Bonsey April 29, 2021 at 9:14 am

    Speechless. What were they thinking? Mutilating of a perfectly sensible word Aberdeen to create the indecipherable and ugly abrdn is hard to comprehend. Why? Because it’s more ‘digital’? The waffling cliche-laden ‘explanation’ clip is dreadful. WO you are better than this.

  • graham campbell April 29, 2021 at 10:12 am

    terrible why not stick to the original symbol.

  • Terry Tibbs April 30, 2021 at 8:04 am

    FCK FF

  • ER May 1, 2021 at 3:21 pm

    I don”t get the no-vowels hipster logo trend, like it’s designed by a teenager who only speaks text-message English. It’s just cringe. Seems out of place, especially for a life insurance company. What’s wrong with just using the full words with a different font and just changing the composition?

  • Neil Littman May 2, 2021 at 1:33 pm

    Thought I would wait for the furore to die down before adding my comments in case they were odds with anybody else but I can see we are all coming from the same song sheet so to speak. My initial reaction was about two points. 1. The design agency have latched onto this trend for short snappy phonetic names like Grindr, Qzzr, Shpock, Scribd, Lyft etc. in an effort to sound cool. No matter that the company are in the financial services sector. How does that make sense? I would like to hear the rationale in more detail. And 2. I think the agency were listening to mid 70’s Slade records…

  • Dylan Lloyd-Edwards May 4, 2021 at 10:36 am

    Typical WO. Heard from a friend that they mostly work an ‘off the peg’ model with a stock of generic brand ideas that they tailor best they can to whatever job they’re working on and then justify with polished client management and sales fluff: probably why there’s never any real thought, sensitivity or engagement with the finished designs when they’re involved. Unfortunately the top-end of the UK design industry continues to be dominated by these dinosaurs and others and it’s getting soooo boring… time for a new broom.

  • Dan May 11, 2021 at 3:53 pm

    My goodness, has it really taken 21 years since Intro created Primal Screams XTRMNTR for those waves to hit the corporate shore?!

  • Neil Littman May 12, 2021 at 8:16 am

    I don’t normally make a second comment on a news item but recently I was discussing this rebrand with a friend (who is not a designer) and he told me it had been reported across the media as a PR disaster and pointed me to an article in the Guardian by a professor of linguistics which pretty much sums up everything that people have said on DW and more. I think it would be interesting to hear feedback from WO if they have anything to add. Reminds me of another controversial branding project from 2012 that is still discussed to this day.

  • Neil Littman July 14, 2021 at 11:13 am

    Back for a third comment. Major ad campaign in the financial press weekend of 10-11th July promoting Abrdn. And a section explaining how to pronounce the name. If you have to tell people how to do that then there must be a problem.

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