From Number26 to N26!

By now you’ve no doubt realized that there’s been a change to our name and logo: gone is the “umber”, and in is a streamlined name and look. Here’s a bit more detail on the inspiration which led to the changes.

A shortened name which every market preferred

By late last year, not even 12 months following our Jan 2015 product launch, we noted that many people on social media and in the press were often shortening our name to N26. We wondered whether this was more an early adopter/ tech press phenomenon, or if there might be broader appeal for the shorter name. So we quantified interest in the alternative name with consumer research. We looked at several markets, including Germany and Austria, where we had already been operating for nearly a year, several of our recently-launched markets and a couple of markets where we have not yet launched.

Somewhat to our surprise, N26 was significantly preferred to Number26 in every market. Perhaps the preference is driven by the language neutrality of N26, or perhaps people just liked the shorter, simpler name. There’s of course a long list of famous tech and other companies who have shortened their full names to initials. Think IBM (International Business Machines), GE (General Electric), clothing retailer H&M (Hennes & Mauritz) and my personal favorite: 3M. I’m guessing that the original creator of Post-It notes is probably more familiar to you by its 2 character 3M moniker than its original mouthful: Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company.

N sechsundzwanzig?

Having decided that saving 5 characters (giving us all the more room to Tweet) was the way to go, the next thing we debated was how we (or our customers across Europe) might pronounce N26. Does it vary from “N sechsundzwanzig” to “N veintiseis” to “N vingt six”? Or is it always “N twenty-six?” We opted for the latter to have a unifying name across countries. So that’s how we answer our phones in customer service and it’s how we pronounce the name internally and externally. We find this to be a nice combination of language neutrality (when the name is written) and commonality (when the name is spoken).

A 5 pen stroke logo inspired by mobile, design, and simplicity

The next step was to streamline our logo to match the new name. The design started with a sketch of a mobile phone — the product inspiration for everything we do. We realized that the core blocking elements of the phone shape could serve as an updated ‘N’. The rest followed from there. You can see the design inspiration behind the new simplified logo in the short animation sequence above.

Why 26?

Now to answer a last question that we’re often asked: why 26? That’s the number of smaller cubes in a complete Rubik’s Cube. The point? The cube is complex, but if you know the correct sequence of moves, you can solve it quickly and elegantly. We try to apply the same approach to banking, which has historically been a complex and sometimes frustrating consumer experience that’s been short on innovation. With the right approach and combination of moves, we hope to make banking fundamentally better.

We work everyday to leverage technology, design and a fundamentally lean business model to provide a beautiful, streamlined and efficient banking experience for you. It’s what we mean when we say “Banking by Design.” Our updated N26 name and logo are important expressions of that commitment.

Kelly Ford / CMO

By Kelly Ford


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