The PTT brand
Postal services and telegraphy/telephony are merged into a single brand, represented jointly by a square coat-of-arms logo. The Swiss Confederation officially allows the PTT to use the Swiss cross. “Swiss Post yellow” is not mandatory until 1939. Before then, it is used mainly on mail coaches and Postbuses.
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From the outset, the visual identity of the postal service, which has been organized by the Confederation since 1849, has had a special role – ensuring that the image of the postal service is strictly uniform helps to symbolize the national identity of the still young federal state and to cement it in the minds of the Swiss people. In the 19th century, the yellow mail coaches and the standardized logo with the Swiss cross, which is used in all cantons and language regions, also contribute to this process.
While most mail coaches have been painted “Swiss Post yellow” since as early as 1849, this is not the case for letter boxes, stamp vending machines or post office signs until well into the 1930s: letter boxes are often dark green or red, and their shape and ornamentation are also far from uniform. A truly uniform letter box is introduced in 1939. The general management of the PTT decides that “Swiss Post yellow” is to be used for all letter boxes and stamp machines. However, the shade of yellow will not be standardized for a long time to come. And it is not until 2002 that Swiss Post obtains trademark protection for the colour yellow used in the branding of its core business in Switzerland. Competitors are no longer allowed to use this shade for the same purposes.
Further steps in brand development:
1932: Postal services and telegraphy/telephony are merged into a single brand, represented jointly by a square coat-of-arms logo.
1937: The abbreviation “PTT” in gold lettering on a black background is added to the logo.
1941: For the first time, the post horn does not appear on the logo. The new logo is square and better proportioned. The Swiss cross features prominently.
1982: In the 1970s, Swiss Post addresses topics such as corporate identity and corporate design for the first time. The logo, designed by stamp graphic designer Martin Altenburger, is perfected by typeface designer Adrian Frutiger. The new logo is approved by Swiss Post in 1982, but it is not until 1992 that its use becomes mandatory.
1994: Swiss Post launches the trilingual “Swiss Post PTT” brand and the independent brand “Telecom PTT”. This brand identity is, however, only a temporary solution.
1998: The PTT is dissolved and split up into the independent companies Swisscom and Swiss Post. Swiss Post replaces “Swiss Post PTT” with the name “Swiss Post”. “PTT” is also removed from the logo, which is modernized by well-known Swiss typeface designer Adrian Frutiger to symbolize the company’s forward momentum. The brand structure is subdivided into various core units (PostFinance, PostBus, yellowworld, etc.) and service units.
2001: As part of the opening up of the postal markets, Swiss Post expands its range of services and develops a strategy with a primary core brand and the flagship brands “PostBus”, “PostFinance”, “PostParcels” and “ExpressPost”. In addition, there are also various individual brands. In 2002, Swiss Post obtains trademark protection for the colour yellow used in the branding of its core business.
2008: Swiss Post simplifies its market presence, focusing on the strong and uniform core brand Swiss Post and on the flagship brands PostFinance and PostBus. With this approach, the company ensures that the “Swiss Post” brand name is used in a manner that is logical and clear for its customers. This is Swiss Post’s response to the forthcoming postal legislation and the accelerating rate of deregulation.
Karl Kronig, Museum of Communication (ed.): Ab die Post! 150 Jahre schweizerische Post, Bern, 1999.
PTT Archive, oral history platform: https://www.oralhistory-pttarchiv.ch/de/themes/marketingTarget not accessible