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As an inbound marketing agency, we know that having a comprehensive branding strategy is the only way to see real growth these days, especially in the competitive tech industry. To make your message clear for your customers, your branding and marketing efforts have to run parallel with one another. Quirky copy and a corporate logo? You might as well have dressed your website in a suit jacket and pyjama pants. Congratulations: you’ve confused people.
Here’s how we design tech company logos. And, a bit about our own new logo, as well. We're rather proud of it.
If one of our clients is looking to change their logo, they will have a general idea about what direction they want to go in. We like to capture this initial thinking in a list or mood board of logos and branding styles. It’s not always possible to do this, but it certainly saves our in-house telepath (read: designer) a headache.
For example, when we were discussing the new logo for Articulate Marketing, we knew we wanted to make something that:
- Suited our happy company culture
- Suggested momentum and growth
- Was simple and recognisable
A slide from our first mood board looked like this:
Something like Jefferson Pascual’s infographic can also help to narrow down a client’s preferences:
Trends in tech company logos
The next step in the process is a research phase. Our in house design team, The Pixels, will research similar companies and look at inspiring images, symbols or shapes that suggest certain values in a broader sense.
If we ignore the fact that all companies are tech companies nowadays, we’ve found a few factors that B2B tech businesses tend to have in common. Companies in this industry want their logos to:
- Appear professional. It’s vital for cloud solution providers to walk that fine line between being approachable and authoritative.
- Celebrate newness. In its nature, tech is new and exciting. Businesses want to tap into that energy.
- Suggest acceleration. Our clients work with businesses that are looking to use tech to improve their data security, employee efficiency and, most of all, drive growth.
- Promote connection. The concept of ‘connection’ speaks to a universal truth about both technology and human nature. ‘Everything’s connected, man.’
- Be blue. How many tech companies can you name with blue in their logo? With a quick search, we found a few brands you might recognise…
We strive to work with these trends without falling into the trap of copying what’s already out there. This helps us establish a point of differentiation (and avoid a potential legal battle!). Because we always aim to speak to our clients in their language, we also tried to bear these points in mind when creating our own logo:
(Note/ It’s not blue. It’s ‘sneaky purple’ as we like to call it.)
Once we’ve done our research, we go through a few rounds of brainstorming and sketching. Here, we combine the client’s brief with best practices, and we try to tie in any core values of the business. Simple logos tend to work best, so that means we have to be quite ruthless when prioritising what elements to include in a logo, both in terms of style and messaging. If you’re designing a logo, always go by the idiom ‘less is more.’
Any designs created at this stage will be in black and white. For us, if a logo doesn’t work without colour, it’s not a good logo.
Here’s an example of some options we provided to a client who is a managed service provider (MSP). They needed a logo for one of their products.
Getting feedback on concept designs
After a few rounds of sketches, we pick out the best two to four options and do more work on them. Then, The Pixels awaken one of our copywriters from their slumber and put them to work articulating the rationale behind these concepts. This shape means corporate passion, that pointy bit is a rocket-ship exploring new worlds, the round bit means ‘friendliness’ etc.
We present these options to our client and iterate where needed. Ideally, we want a client to pick a favourite option and we’ll then give them some slight variations on that theme in terms of style and colour.
These logo variations are for a subscription service product. They are intended to promote the idea of continuous professional development:
Colours and branding
A logo must be at the core of a cohesive branding message. In fact, the logo can even be part of a pattern to use on your website. Here’s an example:
The logo might need to work in black and white, but the end product doesn’t have to be black and white. We like to work with our clients to choose a colour palette and visual guidelines that are right for them, and then colourise the logo accordingly.
As a creative organisation, we encourage our clients to push the boundaries and challenge themselves to embrace modern styles (while avoiding short-lived fads). Sometimes, we even persuade them not to use blue.
For our clients (and ourselves) we then put together a brand-book as a source of consistency for future website work. This will include:
- The logo, with variations for different uses
- The colour palette (with Hex colour codes)
- Examples of illustrations or other collateral
- The rationale behind the logo and branding style and colours
- How the branding should be used to support other content
Sometimes our clients make this information public and sometimes they choose to keep it as an internal document. Either way, once you choose a logo, the only thing left to do is to get the word out. Put it on your website, your social media, your emails and any other materials. We advise making a checklist.
For other branding efforts, you can make the change all at once, or iteratively. It’s up to you.
Finally, of course, don’t forget to say a fond farewell to your old logo. For us, we went from a copywriting agency to a marketing agency over the course of the last few years. Our old logo just didn’t fit anymore. But, at the time, it served us well.
Now – to take a leaf out of the book of our technologically minded clients – we’re ready to take a risk and embrace the new.
‘Failure is built into creativity… the creative act involves this element of “newness” and “experimentalism,” then one must expect and accept the possibility of failure.’ – Saul Bass, graphic designer