HONG KONG – HSBC has launched the biggest upgrade of its card portfolio in decades, developed through a collaboration with Shift., an independent branding firm tasked to redesign the bank’s complete suite of global cards. It is the first time a global bank has unified its entire card portfolio around a single design.

To be rolled out to more than 30 countries, and featuring the iconic HSBC lions in a modern design with premium card materials, HSBC’s new credit, debit and ATM cards are a nod to the story of how the lions have come to guard the legacy of a global bank.

Audrey Wong, Global Head of Retail Banking Marketing at HSBC, said: “With millions of HSBC debit and credit cards in circulation globally, our cards are the most visible asset of our brand. Our purpose for embarking on a global card design was to unify, streamline and contemporise our card portfolio worldwide, whilst setting it apart from others by using an iconic symbol of the bank.”

“The HSBC lions, Stephen and Stitt, whose statues have guarded the entrance of our headquarters in Hong Kong for almost a century, are now visible in HSBC offices worldwide, including Shanghai, London, Toronto, Vancouver and Mexico City. They reflect our rich history and spirit of resilience, and also stand for the values of protection and prosperity that HSBC strives to deliver to our customers,” she adds.

Toby Johnston, Partner and Creative Director at Shift., said: “Redesigning such an important part of the HSBC identity – its cards – was an exciting opportunity but also a great responsibility. We were inspired by the iconic lion statues, but needed to interpret them authentically since they’re so iconic in the communities they watch over.”

Based on extensive archival research, the new card design features a modern, sophisticated interpretation of one of the HSBC lions using dynamic facets. It invokes HSBC’s heritage in a contemporary style, befitting the diverse markets and customers HSBC serves today, and reflecting the future ambitions of the bank and its customers.

This single design cuts through the complexity that has accumulated in HSBC’s worldwide portfolio of cards, radically simplifying hundreds of design variations to one global design through the systematic use of colours and descriptors. Thoughtful touches, such as coloured card cores that distinguish debit from credit cards, have been incorporated throughout the design which has also been extensively tested to ensure it can be produced beautifully and withstand wear and tear.

In an increasingly digitally-driven world where customer’s transactions need to be effortless, the Shift. team created special digital versions of each card-front to maximise impact on emerging platforms including Apple Pay, Android Pay and Samsung Pay.

Zoran Svetlicic, Partner at Shift., said: “A card is a very personal object, which is why we paid very careful attention to the way people use their cards throughout the day. We had to make sure the HSBC lion cards look great in whatever context they live in – from wallets to smartphones and wearables.”

The new lion cards will be rolled out progressively starting this year to new HSBC customers and those who need their cards replaced.