A top New York design firm hired to create the brand identity for FNB in 1986 lifted the famous acacia tree artwork from an SA botany book by Jo Onderstall.

The hand-drawn acacia tree logo remained a central element of the brand's identity for over three decades.

It has again been catapulted into the spotlight with its most dramatic refresh since its inception.

FNB, and even its CEO at the time, have repeatedly denied the presence of symbols in the branches. But comparing the original artwork and the plagiarised version reveals one significant difference – the clarification of branches, seemingly to define a map of Africa more clearly.

Business Insider reports that an FNB delegation visited the library of the National Botanical Garden in Pretoria, where they saw the original drawing in the botanical book formally attributed to the artist.

They agreed it was the same drawing as the tree in the centre of their logo and subsequently offered her ‘a reasonable gratuity as a gesture of goodwill’. 

The logo remained central to a successful rebranding campaign that cost millions.

Full Business Insider report