When it comes to the B2B space, sometimes it can seem a little monotonous. There’s a lot of the same out there. Especially when it comes to branding.
For some reason, over time many brands in the B2B space have muted their creativity to fit into this “professional” or “straight and narrow” box.
They think that because their business is B2B, they need to fit a certain mold, and while part of that statement might be true, for the most part, it’s the brands that have a unique voice that really stick in your mind and end up being the ones you remember.
In today’s post we’re going to be showing you 13 B2B brands that have really nailed it with their logos. We’ll talk about why we chose them and what they’re doing right. But before we get to that, we wanted to first talk about what makes a great B2B logo in general. There are a few core areas that you should consider when you’re designing / redesigning your corporate logo.
This goes without saying, but you want a logo that can be used in a variety of applications. As in, you want to have a logo that looks great when it’s scaled up to an event banner size, but also when it’s shrunk down onto a business card. The same is true for web vs. print applications. You want to make sure your logo looks great anywhere.
Another no-brainer, but your logo must be legible. No matter what size it is, the important part is that people can still read it. One way to get around a logo that has a fair amount of text in it (for example if the name of your company is really long or you’ve included your tagline), it so have a very clear “mark” associated with your logo that you can use in smaller versions.
You can take New Breed for example, we have two versions of our logo; one that is used in larger scale things, and one that we use as more of a mark. A point to note here however, is that our text based logo is still legible when it’s used on something small like a business card - we made sure of that.
We touched on this before, but you want you brand to stick in the minds of your customers and prospects. While it can start with your name, most people inherently are more visual, so logos or brand marks tend to be what they associate with a brand (at least subconsciously).
Think about the Apple brand for a second… what sticks out in your mind? The apple with a bite taken out, right? That’s because they have a memorable and unique logo that people can immediately associate with their organization.
Just because you like the color purple, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you should use it in your logo. When examining your logo, think about colors that a) relate to your industry, b) don’t compete with each other and c) will make an impact on those seeing it.
Most logos that you see have one or two colors. This is due to the fact that firstly, it’s easier to read without tons of different colors going on and secondly, it’s usually cheaper to replicate. In fact, 95% of logos use only one or two colors.
The other part of the color discussion with logos is pertaining to your particular industry. It was found that a product’s color influences the buying decision by 60 - 80%. So, let’s use those stats and talk about some color trends in common B2B industries:
Popular: Red, Purple, Blue, Green, Orange, Black
Not-so-Popular: Brown, Yellow
Popular: Purple, Blue, Orange, White
Popular: Purple, Blue, Green
Not-so-Popular: Red, Yellow, Orange, Brown, Black, White
Popular: Blue, Green, Yellow
Not-so-Popular: Red, Purple, Orange, Black
If you think about that quick analysis and relate the feelings you associate with those particular colors, it makes sense. For technology, the color blue is often thought of as being professional and gender neutral - something a tech company might latch onto as their audience is fairly broad. For healthcare, people associate the color black with death - not so good for a hospital. For finance, people associate the colors red and black as being in debt - not so good for an investment banking firm. For energy, we associate the color green with clean air and the environment - good for a company focused on renewable energy.
So as you can see, color can make a difference and is something to think about as your logo represents your business and should be a reflection of who you are as an organization.
Now that we’ve got the basis of understanding what makes a good logo, we thought we’d pull together a few different B2B logos from each of the four categories we mentioned above and talk about what they’re doing right and why.
Of course, Cisco is a household name and their logo is quite recognizable, but I also think they’ve done a great job with it. First, the company is a technology company, the bars above their logo could represent a variety of different things, but what comes to mind for me is some sort of radio / frequency. Techy, yes, but not overly so.
In addition, as I’ve grown to learn more about the company, I’ve also realized that those lines represent a piece of who they are. Cisco is a Silicon Valley based company and they’ve chosen to represent where they come from by designing their logo to look like the Golden Gate Bridge. It’s an iconic landmark for the area and shows that everyone a glimpse into the history of their company.
TechHive is a website dedicated to product reviews, news stories and essentially all things tech. It has a lot of things going on (in a good way), which I think correlates nicely with the idea behind the word, “hive”.
With their logo, they’ve chosen a few things very wisely. Their use of color is perfect. They contrast the dark colors of the text with a bright, attention grabbing pop of color with the mark to the left. The typeface they’ve chosen is simple, a sans-serif font that will scale nicely.
Finally, they have the hive icon. Not only does the icon relate to their name (it looks like a honeycomb, but also a honey stirrer, no?), but they can use that as a brandable mark in tons of different applications. Take their twitter account for example, they don’t use the typeface anywhere, but that orange makes them standout and is memorable.
Greenhouse is an ATS (applicant tracking system) that makes the hiring in your organization easier, and also more cost efficient. Basically, it’s helping companies get better at hiring by enabling them to find the right talent, streamlining the entire interviewing process, and housing all the data and information they need in one easy-to-use platform.
There are lots of things I like about the Greenhouse logo, but first it’s the company’s name that makes them stand out to me. In an industry that mostly focuses on the words “job” or “resume”, the word “greenhouse” is different. Of course, this word has a multitude of meanings, but for this particular company, I think they’re going for the idea of making your “house” (your company organization) a better, cleaner and more efficient place to be, especially as it relates to the team you have. Their use of green is an obvious choice here, but I also think that it helps them stand out against the other players in their industry.
Like TechHive, they have a dedicated mark that still represents who they are, but can be used both with or without the text. This is great for things like social media and becomes a recognizable image of the brand (much like how Nike has the swoosh).
NextGen Healthcare provides software, consulting and other services to healthcare professionals. They’re a growing company who have embraced the concept of inbound marketing and really stand out to me as an innovative, forward-thinking organization.
In an industry that tends to err on the side of conservative, NextGen doesn’t seem to be afraid to push the boundaries with their image. I think their logo is a great balance of color, is clean, but also feels new and exciting. It feels “next gen”, which I’m sure is what they were going for.
In addition to the the colors, I like that while their logo is just made up of text, it feels like a mark at the same time. They’ve been able to create a brandable logo that doesn’t have any extra imagery or icons associated with it. Nicely done, NextGen team.
AstraZeneca, a large pharmaceutical company, is also probably a household name, but perhaps not one that you know the branding of. You’re probably familiar with it from TV commercials (“If you can’t afford your medication, AstraZeneca may be able to help.”, anyone?), but it’s companies like this that don’t always have an image or mark that you associate with them. They’re more behind the scenes.
What I like about the AstraZeneca logo is a few things. First, I think it’s a great use of color. They contrast each other nicely and help it feel balanced. Second, the yellow mark from the logo has a few different meanings to me. First, it feels kind of scientific in the sense that it could be some sort of abstract representation of a molecular compound. But if you look more closely, the mark is actually an “A” and a “Z”, tying back into their name. Like others above, they can use this mark in multiple applications.
Piramal is an organization that owns several companies in the healthcare space - from vitamins to healthcare information management. They’re a global company based out of India, spanning many different sectors and operate in over 100 different markets.
As such, I expected them to have a logo with wide appeal and simple branding. What I really like about the Piramal logo is not only it’s simplicity, but the fact that it brings a human element to an industry that traditionally doesn’t have that personality. I don’t really think this is a mark that can stand on it’s own, but I do like the contrasting colors and more adventurous feel of this logo. Overall, well done!
Uprise is the newly released practice management and EHR software platform built by VisionWeb. Uprise is cloud-based and designed specifically for independent optometrists. The platform is very innovative and like noting else on the market, with a user friendly design and workflow efficiencies which helps practice owners get things done more quickly.
When I look at the logo, it's hard to tell exactly what the company does, meaning you have an idea, but don't necessarily know the individual industry they're selling to, which I really like. The could is significant in the software industry, representing a solution that is based in the cloud (just as Uprise is).
But if you look closely, do you notice there is an icon within the cloud? At first glance, it's hard to see, but if you take a closer look at the cloud, there seems to be what looks like an eye, which makes this logo really unique to the space that they're in. They're showing that while they're a cloud-based software, they have a defined target market that they're platform is designed for: optometrists.
Additionally, the colors they've used are great. While traditionally for the tech space, they are also used within the healthcare industry, but stand out and feel different. They speak to the young and innovative nature of the software, and showcase how unique this platform is from what else is on the market. All in all, they've done a great job with this logo!
The Foundry Group is a venture capital firm focusing on investing in early-stage tech startups. They’re intent on helping entrepreneurs reach their full potential, and have a long list of interesting clients that span many sectors.
What I love about the Foundry Group’s logo is that it’s a little abstract. At first glance, you don’t really know what that orange circle is, and as I look more closely, I still think that could be up for debate. I see it has an ode to music and technology, speaking to what the company chooses to invest in. I also think this logo is fun, a little hipster and eye catching. It’s different, pushes the boundaries of the traditionally conservative industry, and really is unique.
Golden Seeds, another investment firm, is an organization that backs women entrepreneurs. The firm is made up of 250+ angel investors and is one of the largest and most active angel organizations in the United States.
Golden Seed’s logo stuck out to me, not only because of the color, but how the icons they’ve used signify what the company stands for. When I see leaves like this, my mind turns to things like growth and new beginnings, which is precisely what Golden Seeds is doing for their entrepreneurs. The logo also has a touch of femininity, which appeals to their audience but doesn’t make their male investors shy away. It’s clean and simple, but does a nice job capturing what they’re all about.
Zuora is a subscription billing software solution, designed for enterprises to help manage recurring relationships. The company is targeting large companies who are leveraging ongoing customer relationships to generate stable, recurring revenue. Clients of Zuora include companies like IBM, HP and Dell.
First and foremost, the Zuora name is unique. It’s not a play on words, or really doesn’t mean anything in the industry, it’s just a creative name that works. To go along with the fun name, they have a youthful, energizing brand. They use bold colors, that feel bright and vibrant, but what I’m especially drawn to in their logo is the mark. While the “z” is also part of their name, the circle around it has movement to it and relates to the full circle nature of their business. It’s abstract in a way, but definitely works. I say overall, very nicely done.
Recast Energy converts cost competitive biomass into green electricity and thermal energy (aka steam) for industrial customers. And I think they’ve done a great job capturing what they do in their logo. It feels “green” while at the same time representing the industrial side of their business. I like that the shapes also form what looks like an “R”.
The color choice is also a good move on their part. They’ve chosen two tones of green, with the darker being their primary color and the lighter, more fun tone being their secondary color. Both complement each other, and also signify the space that they’re in. It feels like a logo that belongs to an industrial energy company, so props to them.
2. BP Solar
BP has had some bad press in the last few years, and their logo has been plastered all over the place, so we’re pretty sure you recognize it. BP Solar is a former subsidiary of BP (the oil company), and is a manufacturer and installer of photovoltaic solar cells. To put it simply, they’re in the solar energy space.
It’s funny that BP solar has the same logo as the larger organization, because in fact I think this logo suits the solar energy side of the business much better. To me, it looks like a green sun or a pretty flower. It’s bright, happy and almost inviting, which I’m sure is what they’re going for.
If the company hadn’t had the negative press, I really do feel like this logo would resonate with a lot of people the way most companies wish their logos would. I think it exemplifies clean design, while still representing what the company actually does. Overall, for the solar side of things, well done BP.
WindMade is a consumer label that companies can use to communicate their commitment to renewable energy. Basically, it would be a logo that would be placed on packaging that would show that a product was made using wind energy. It’s innovative, it’s empowering, and it’s unique.
And I think their logo is perfect. Out of all the logos we’ve talked about today, this one is my favorite. WindMade has done a really great job representing their industry, while also relating it to another well known mark. When you see this, it might not immediately come to mind, but as you learn more about what the company does, it makes sense. I think they’re trying to make a wind version of the recycle symbol.
I also really like the movement this logo has. Wind energy makes me think of those big turbines on mountain ridges, turning around in circles. This logo captures that energy without being too direct. The colors and openness of the design, feels airy and light, just like wind. Hats off to their design team, awesome job!
Do you have any other logos that you like? Please share them in the comments below!
Originally published Jan 28, 2014 2:00:00 PM, updated October 20 2016