A claim that suggests that the official logo of the State Bank of India was inspired by the aerial view of the Kankaria Lake in Ahmedabad is being circulated on social media. A satellite imagery of the lake and the SBI logo is being shared side by side to show the similarities between the two. (Archived link)

The earliest tweets claiming this information were found to be from 2014. (Archived link)

News media outlets like News 18, Dainik Bhaskar and Inshorts have also claimed the same information. These reports were published in 2014 and 2016 respectively.

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Furthermore, according to a DeshGujarat report dated February 19, 2014, the SBI CGM (Chief General Manager) at that time also claimed the same information in front of the then Chief Minister of Gujarat, Narendra Modi.

Fact-Check

Through a keyword search on Google, Alt News found a The Hindu Business Line article dated January 20, 2018. The article is an account on the evolution of the SBI logo from a banyan tree into a keyhole. According to the article, the British had established the Imperial Bank of India (IBI) under the Imperial Bank of India Act, 1920. The Banks of Calcutta, Bombay and Madras were merged under IBI. In 1955, SBI succeeded IBI and a “banyan tree in a round coin form” was issued as the new logo. After the nationalization of banks in 1969, when ‘financial inclusion’ became a priority, SBI decided to go in for an image makeover. SBI subsequently commissioned the National Institute of Design with the job.

According to former faculty Mahendra Patel’s statement to The Business Line, a two-member design team consisting of Shekhar Kamath and Vikas Satvalekar was set up for this purpose. Patel said the solid circle-with-a-keyhole symbol, resembling a lock-and-key, was the contribution of Kamath, depicting the purpose of the Bank: that SBI, the custodian, would safe-keep the customer’s money. SBI adopted the new logo on October 1, 1971.

Furthermore, Alt News found a Facebook video dated November 28, 2018. The video is an interview of Shekhar Kamath with Scroll. In the video, Mr Kamath recounts, “State Bank of India logo was designed for the basic simplicity. It was a keyhole that has got particular connotation in Indian society that it (signifies) security.” Kamath took inspiration from the bank tokens that were kept near the counter, to be issued to waiting customers.

At 1:30 minute mark of the video, when asked about the internet theory that the SBI logo was inspired by Kankaria Lake, Kamath laughingly says, “This whole thing about Kankaria Lake has got nothing to do with it. I haven’t been to Kankaria Lake either. There is no way I could go up and look at it down. I had no idea. And I haven’t been that side at all.”

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The Origin of the State Bank of India’s Logo

How did the State Bank of India get its iconic logo? Here’s the designer himself recounting the story.

Posted by Scroll on Thursday, 22 November 2018

Hence, it is quite evident that the SBI logo was not inspired by Kankaria Lake, contrary to claims that have been circulating on social media for almost a decade.

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About the Author

Student of Economics at Presidency University. Interested in misinformation.