How to Develop a Powerful B2B Logo
Jeff Arnold, art director at RH Blake, presents a proven process for effective B2B logo development
“I need a logo!”
What a loaded statement that can be. Many B2B business owners don’t realize the significance of having a well-thought-out, professional, creative and memorable logo. After all, what is a company’s single most important marketing tool? That’s right, your logo. Once designed, approved and implemented, it’s out there for everyone to see—immediately provoking a visceral response while becoming the face of your business. However, if your logo is ill conceived or poorly executed, the initial and long-term perception of your company may suffer greatly. Therefore, it’s critical that your logo is well designed in order to take advantage of the countless marketing opportunities that occur every time your logo is viewed.
Anyone can design a logo. My middle school daughter can design a logo. I’m sure my neighbor can create a logo as well. You can even find websites that have hundreds or thousands of designers just waiting to produce a practically free logo for you. However, do any of these people understand your business? Are they interested in a long-term relationship that will ultimately help your B2B company thrive? Will they take the time to know you, your business and its goals? More than likely, the answer to these questions is “no.” This is why it is imperative that you invest in your company’s future—identify, interview and hire an experienced B2B marketing agency to design your logo.
Client research and discovery are essential components in the process of developing a logo. This is where a B2B agency can truly shine. A collection of seasoned marketing professionals will take the time to understand your company and business goals. An agency will ask questions and then ask even more. Yet don’t be afraid to be your own advocate—help the agency understand your business, process and product or service. Make sure you communicate everything that is special and unique about your company, its history and what makes it tick.
Another step in the process is to determine what you do and don’t like in a logo. The best way to do that is to closely examine logos (even your competitors’ logos) that are all around you. Do you like illustrative, symbolic logos or type-only treatments? Compare examples of each. For instance, do you prefer the Nike swoosh or Google’s type only logo solution? What about color? Do you like the look of a clean, solid black logo or would you prefer something bright or multi-colored? These are valuable questions to consider and the answers may be instrumental in the development of your new identity.
Now it’s time for the exciting part—concepting and creating your company’s most essential marketing tool. After seeing some rough (pencil or computer generated) initial concepts, identify what “feels right” and narrow the options down to a few promising concepts. As these rough ideas become more refined, pay close attention to typography and color palette. Do you prefer a serif or sans serif font for your logotype? Not sure? Ask to see some examples of each. Your input and feedback are vital throughout this (and every) step of the design process.
Once finalized, it’s time to ensure that the integrity of your new logo is maintained. This is arguably the most important and most difficult (it’s never-ending) step in the branding process. Always be certain your logo is correctly utilized, without changing proportions, scaling too small or altering the color. Consider having brand guidelines created. They can be an invaluable tool—offering guidance during logo implementation challenges (e.g., How should your logo appear on a white background vs. a darker colored background?) or vendor requests. Establishing logo usage rules from the beginning will go a long way toward keeping the face of your business unaltered and your brand intact. You may also find it beneficial to assign someone in your company to become a logo “sheriff.” That individual would take ownership of your logo and enforce its proper usage while being the “go to” person when questions arise.
So, do you need a logo? Make sure you take the necessary steps to do it right. Don’t be afraid to dig deeper into the heart and soul of your business and carefully consider how you want your company to be perceived. Most important, make sure your agency is focused on understanding your business and providing a long-term support system. If all goes well, you’ll end up with not only an impactful and memorable logo, but also a great B2B agency relationship that will pay big dividends in the future.