Brand Everywhere: Ally Bank

Today, the Webtype Blog launches a new series of articles about type, branding, and the value of a consistent, comprehensive identity. Brand Everywhere will present case studies of organizations who present a strong, seamless brand experience by standardizing their typography across all media, from print to web to mobile.

In 2009 the financial institution GMAC renamed its banking unit “Ally Bank”. The streamlined direct bank came out of the gate with a stark, no-nonsense identity capped with the slogan “straightforward”. The main element of nearly every ad was type, and the typeface they chose was fitting: Benton Sans. The descendent of a classic workhorse, News Gothic, Benton Sans is everything you want your bank to be: forthright, competent, hardworking, and devoid of pretense or gimmickry.

Laura Bollerman, one of the executives responsible for the rebranding confirmed the importance of Benton Sans to Ally’s new look and feel. “We believe that every touch point with a customer is an opportunity to reinforce our brand’s essence. We use the typeface whenever possible to ensure the consistent look.” There is certainly a lot of truth in that last statement. Ally has one of the most dependable and disciplined identities we’ve seen, especially in the financial industry and it has achieved strong brand recognition in the three years since it was lauched. Let’s take a look at how they execute the typography in various types of media.

TV Advertising

BBH New York created Ally’s debut campaign, including a batch of amusing and memorable television spots featuring children confounded by the draconian behavior of traditional banks. Watch “Pony” and “Toys” and note the sign-off branding.

Ally tv ad "Pony"

Ally tv ad "Pony" - final frame

Print Advertising and Documents

Other than the stylized ‘a’ from the main logo, Benton Sans is truly the face of Ally, as shown in the outdoor and print ads below.

Ally print ad, February 2012

Ally’s signature plum color is an important part of its look, but this newspaper ad (below) demonstrates that a brand with a strong typographic identity is always recognizable, even in black and white.

Ally newspaper ad, October 2011

A seamless brand experience is obviously ideal in any organization, but it’s especially important in banking, where any inconsistency can endanger the customer’s confidence in the institution. Ally’s identity execution doesn’t miss a step, even when it comes to something as seemingly mundane (but just as vital) as a deposit form. Benton Sans is used throughout the PDF form, enabled by an embedding license from Font Bureau.


Ally’s transition from print to screen goes off without a hitch thanks to the same Benton Sans fonts available via Webtype. All headlines and body text are set in the identity typeface, even the type in tables and forms on interactive account pages. Click any image for a full-size view. - about page - careers - pay bills

It wasn’t long ago that employing a typographic identity online meant locking text into images or Flash, or downgrading to web-safe default fonts. Fortunately, those days are past. Webtype offers hundreds of screen-ready fonts along with a 30-day free trial period, giving you the chance to experiment before making a commitment.


Ally mobile app check deposit

The final link in Ally’s identity chain is the mobile app for iPhone and Android. Because Ally is essentially an online, tech-savvy bank, it’s crucial that the mobile banking experience is as feature-rich and visually consistent with the website, advertising, and other materials.

Ally iPhone app

Benton Sans fonts are embedded in the app, delivering the same clear and branded text as the website. Normally, this use requires a special upgrade, but Webtype and Font Bureau offer a single, universal license, making it simple to deploy a house typeface across all media — including broadcast, print, web, and mobile apps. Are you looking for this kind of comprehensive solution? Just get in touch.

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