What happens when a
partnership flourishes?

BMO logo is displayed as exterior building signage on a skyscraper

What happens when a partnership flourishes?


Vehicle lights zoom by the podium of the BMO tower at the busy King and Bay intersection in Toronto.


BMO has grown from its inception as Canada’s first bank to become North America’s eighth-largest bank. This remarkable evolution has always been driven by a clarity of vision that connects its businesses and its audiences. The power of BMO’s vision comes not only from the strategy that underlies it, but from its consistent, compelling, and effective communication.

Vehicle lights zoom by the podium of the BMO tower at the busy King and Bay intersection in Toronto.


For more than 35 years, BMO has partnered with Ove to create communications that demonstrate the bank’s relevance, value, and evolving vision – creatively, consistently, and powerfully to its many stakeholders. Bridging strategies and projects, businesses and geographies, Ove has collaborated with teams across the bank to help ensure the BMO brand is nurtured and strengthened.

Built for growth

BMO’s evolution from Canadian bank to a North American financial services powerhouse with global reach demanded a brand system that would support evolving banking, wealth management, and capital markets businesses as it pursued new opportunities and markets. Ove developed BMO Financial Group as a strategic, structured brand system to serve as the platform for growth.

Leveraging the strength of the iconic Bank of Montreal logo, the BMO roundel was introduced in 2002. At that time, BMO was operating more than 30 lines of business, including Harris Bank and Nesbitt Burns. The move to a shared identity signaled a renewed commitment to serving customers as a single, diversified North American bank. The identity system continues to evolve to underscore BMO’s ‘one bank’ approach to serving its customers and supporting communities.

Many identities are shown including mbanx, M&I and Harris Bank, which transitioned to the BMO Financial Group logo and group of BMO logos, which then transitioned into the BMO logo alone.

Telling the next chapter in the BMO story

Since 1991 – through BMO’s evolution and the evolution of corporate reporting – Ove has created award-winning annual reports for the bank. These reports tell the story of BMO’s continued relevance in the marketplace, and its perspective on broader shifts in technology, society and the economy. While annual reports are by their very nature reflective, they capture a moment in time and provide an opportunity to look to the future. BMO’s annual reports tell the story of the bank’s journey and its indelible, positive impact on the financial lives of its customers and the wellbeing of their communities.

A series of annual report covers covering a continuous set of reports designed by Ove going back to 1991.

Celebrating past, present and future

Along every journey there are milestones, and Ove has been there to help BMO commemorate some of its most important moments. They are moments to reflect and reaffirm purpose and acknowledge the progress that has been made, while firmly focusing on the future and opportunities ahead.

Creating community connections

Across North America, BMO Financial Group is engaged in the communities it serves, supporting social progress and positive change. As their longstanding brand partner, Ove helps bring the BMO brand to life and reinforces its purpose to boldly grow the good. Through support of the arts, financial literacy, sport and social change initiatives, BMO is creating stronger communities. The BMO logo is iconic in towns and cities across Canada and in the U.S. markets it serves, and its ubiquity is a testament to BMO’s deep connection to its communities.

By its very nature, the work we do is forward-focused. It’s when we look back at our partnership with BMO over 35 years and counting that we realize how astonishing a journey it’s been and continues to be. It’s a testament to the power of collaboration, the strength of co-operation, and the importance of trust. Those things can only be forged between people. It’s always been – and always will be – about the people”

Monica Kessler, Managing Partner, Ove Brand Design

Our contribution

  • Industry and comparator research
  • Brand strategy and positioning
  • Brand portfolio and architecture
  • Information architecture
  • Brand identity design
  • Naming and nomenclature systems
  • Visual expression and design systems
  • Marketing communications
  • Corporate and employee communications
  • Retail and environments 
  • User experience 
  • Brand governance systems and tools 
  • Digital platform development 
  • Video production 
  • Signage and wayfinding 
  • Annual and sustainability reports 
  • Internal and external messaging strategy