When it comes to registering a brand and all its inherent equity, the logo often gets the last word in a b-to-b ad. The logo is not the brand or the franchise, but a symbol—and a most important one. The logo reminds the audience of the source of a possible solution to a customer's problem. Or it helps reinforce the positive attributes of an advertiser that audiences have come to know. Or it does both. To say the least, it needs to be handled with care by an art director. Underemphasizing the logo by making it too small or burying it amid a tangle of text or images undermines the ad. ¶ On the other hand, making the logo the biggest element in the ad sends a clear signal to the customer or prospect that the advertiser is maker-, not user-oriented. Let's examine examples of logo treatments worthy of a second guess and others done well.
HID Global, which bills itself as a world leader in access control, describes its Edge product, which helps keep unauthorized people from going through doors and other gateways. It's an efficient, well-designed ad, except for one thing—the logo, for some reason, gets turned on its head. The HID logo appears in the bottom right, which is usually the right spot because the eye naturally tracks in that direction. The problem is that it's presented vertically not horizontally as it is throughout the company's Web site.
Recognition is subtle and often instantaneous. In this case, the art director does the logo a serious disservice because readers might not recognize the logo after taking in the message and the images.
Software maker InterSystems describes the features and benefits of its Ensemble product, which copy says will “easily connect with the existing systems of your customers and prospects.” The illustration of the interlinked hands is well matched to the message. The art director chose to put the dominant headline, “Make applications more valuable,” at the bottom of the ad rather than at the top, which is more customary.
And there's no corporate logo at the bottom, which we consider to be a lost opportunity. There is the Ensemble product logo mortised into the bottom right edge of the copy. Regardless, we'd still show the flag in the bottom right.
The juxtaposition of a pair of logos representing two powerful brands can be impressive, or it can be confusing. Unless readers are familiar with the creation of the Microsoft and Novell Interoperability Lab, they might have a difficult time discerning what's being sold in this ad that describes the virtues of having Microsoft Windows Server and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server from Novell working together.
IBM almost doesn't need to display a logo in many of its well-branded ads that feature the familiar blue letter-box frame. In this spread for its WebSphere product, the IBM logo gets relegated to the most distant of places in an ad, the upper left-hand corner. We assume that was done consciously to emphasize the product and not the corporation. It might work for IBM, but we certainly wouldn't recommend this tack for less iconic brands.
The best of this lot is from CDW, which smartly plants its logo in the bottom right after describing and displaying several server virtualization solutions. Just as IBM uses blue, CDW consistently uses red as its brand color, which provides a high-contrast backdrop to the CDW logo and tagline. The logo is in the right spot, it's the right size and it's the right color. That's how to treat a logo. M