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The ultimate guide to B2B graphic design

As a graphic designer weighing your career options, B2B graphic design is a great choice, considering stats like:

  • The global graphic design industry was worth $49.7 billion in 2023.
  • Demand for graphic designers is expected to grow by 3% in the US between 2022 and 2032.
  • 81% of businesses use graphic design in various formats.
  • As of 2024, there are 450,279 graphic designers worldwide — up 1.9% from 2023.

Plus, B2B graphic designers have great earning potential — the average annual salary for graphic designers in the US is $57,990, but top industry earners rake in more than $100,000 per year.

If you want to pursue B2B graphic design as a career, you’ll need to get to know the basics. 

Luckily, we’ve got you covered with this comprehensive guide to B2B graphic design — so let’s dive in.

What is B2B graphic design?

B2B (business-to-business) graphic design refers to the creation of visual content for businesses that market their products or services to other businesses, rather than directly to consumers. 

This type of design is tailored to meet the needs of professional and corporate audiences, which often differ from consumer audiences. Key aspects of B2B graphic design include:

  • Professional aesthetics: The design is often more formal and professional, reflecting the corporate nature of the audience. It may use a more restrained color palette and straightforward layouts compared to B2C (business-to-consumer) designs. That said, some B2B brands prefer to use bold colors to stand out.
  • Brand consistency: Ensuring all visual elements align with the brand’s identity is crucial. This includes the use of logos, color schemes, and typography that adhere to the company’s branding guidelines.
  • Effective communication: B2B design should clearly convey the message, value proposition, and benefits of a product or service. For instance,’s website clearly communicates its value proposition with a minimalist design and bright colors that represent its personality:
  • Targeted messaging: Understanding the specific needs, challenges, and interests of the business audience is essential, as designs often include industry-specific terminology and imagery.
  • Marketing materials: This can include a wide range of materials such as brochures, presentation decks, trade show displays, digital ads, and reports.
  • Digital and print media: B2B graphic design encompasses both digital (websites, social media marketing, email newsletters) and print media (brochures, business cards, reports).

For example, Adobe mixes user-generated content with design how-tos to appeal to a younger audience on its Instagram page:

Why is good design essential in B2B marketing?

Graphic design in B2B marketing is essential for establishing a strong brand identity and differentiating a business in a competitive market. 

It plays a critical role in effectively communicating complex information through clear and engaging visuals like infographics and charts, aiding in comprehension and retention. 

The quality of graphic design reflects a business’s professionalism and credibility, — vital for building confidence in potential clients or partners — while colors help convey a company’s brand personality. 

For example, fintech giant Wise’s website brings a bold, playful energy to the world of financial services — which, let’s face, can be a bit dry.

With bright colors, animations, and modern-looking fonts, Wise makes managing your money look fun, simple, and appealing.

In digital marketing, good design also enhances user experience, organizing content and creating an accessible interface — which is key in capturing attention in a content-heavy business environment. 

Graphic design supports sales and marketing strategies by creating compelling marketing materials that provide clear and relevant information and provides consistency in design across all platforms — crucial for building and maintaining trust and credibility in B2B relationships. 

B2B vs B2C graphic design: what’s the difference?

B2B and B2C graphic design cater to different audiences and, therefore, have distinct characteristics, such as:

Audience: B2B design targets professional and corporate clients, focusing on the needs and decision-making processes of businesses, while B2C design is aimed at individual consumers, often appealing to emotions and personal benefits.

Messaging and content: B2B design often involves conveying complex information and focuses on the functionality and value of a product or service for a business. 

By contrast, B2C design highlights the benefits and lifestyle appeal of products, emphasizing personal enjoyment and satisfaction.

Design style: B2B design is usually more straightforward and professional, using a more conservative color palette and layout. 

It prioritizes clarity and information hierarchy, whereas B2C design often allows for more experimentation, vibrant colors, and emotional appeal to grab consumer attention.

Sales cycle and decision-making: B2B design must consider longer sales cycles and multiple decision-makers, often requiring more detailed and informative content. 

On the other hand, B2C design usually addresses shorter sales cycles with direct and immediate calls to action.

What are the different types of B2B graphic design?

In B2B marketing, designers employ various graphic design formats, each tailored to meet the unique needs and communication strategies of businesses. 

Understanding these different types of B2B graphic design is essential for creating effective visual content that resonates with a professional audience, so let’s take a look at 11 of the most common use cases.

1. Corporate identity design

Corporate identity design involves creating a cohesive visual identity for a business, including logos, color schemes, and typography. 

It’s crucial in establishing a company’s brand and ensuring it is consistently represented across all mediums, helping to build brand awareness, recognition, and trust in the B2B market.

2. Advertising and marketing design

B2B businesses are constantly in need of new visual materials for campaigns, such as digital ads, brochures, and email templates. 

In B2B, this design must effectively communicate the value proposition and benefits of a service or product to other businesses, often focusing on functionality and ROI.

3. Web and app design

The design of websites and applications in B2B focuses on user experience, ensuring that business clients can find information easily and navigate efficiently.

Solid web design is essential for establishing an online presence and making services accessible, while also providing valuable content like case studies, SEO content (like blog posts and testimonials), and whitepapers.

A well-performing website design can also boost user experience and engagement, increase dwell time, and improve a website’s rankings on search engines like Google. 

4. Landing page design

Landing pages in B2B design are critical for converting visitors into leads or customers. They are often focused on a single call to action, such as downloading a whitepaper or scheduling a demo, and must be clear, persuasive, and aligned with the business’s branding.

Watershed, a company that helps businesses reduce their carbon emissions and make supply chains more sustainable, exudes calm and confidence through its website. 

A homepage banner directs users to a webinar landing page with a simple and professional-looking design that sets out the event details and has a clear contact form for sign-ups.

5. Presentation design

Presentations are a key communication tool in B2B relationships. Designing slides that are visually appealing, on-brand, and effective in conveying complex information clearly helps in pitches, meetings, and webinars, enhancing communication and engagement.

6. Infographic design

Infographics in B2B design are used to simplify and visually represent complex data or processes. They are effective for storytelling, explaining trends, and presenting statistics in a more engaging and easily digestible format.

7. Product and packaging design

While more relevant for B2B businesses that offer physical products, this involves designing the product appearance and packaging to be both functional and appealing to other businesses, often emphasizing brand values and product usability.

8. Video and motion graphics design

Video content and animations are increasingly important in B2B for explaining products, services, or concepts since they are a highly engaging way to showcase product features, and enhance online content and presentations.

9. Publication design

This includes the design of reports, whitepapers, and eBooks. In B2B, these are crucial for thought leadership and providing in-depth information. Effective design helps in making these publications more readable and engaging.

10. Environmental design

Environmental design refers to the design of physical spaces like offices or retail environments. In B2B, this can extend to creating branded environments that reflect the company’s identity and values, which is important for client visits and employee engagement.

11. Trade show and events design

This involves designing booths, banners, and other materials for trade shows and events. In B2B, these designs need to attract attention, convey key messages quickly, and create a memorable brand experience in a busy event setting.

For example, at Mobile World Congress Americas, Arrow told its Internet of Things story through interactive demos as part of a huge display:

B2B graphic design best practices

Before you get started on your first B2B design job, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with some of the industry’s best practices, such as the following:

1. Understand the target audience

It’s crucial to research and understand the specific needs, preferences, and pain points of the business audience to ensure the design speaks directly to them, addressing their unique business challenges and requirements.

An advantage in B2B is that, unlike B2C design, it’s often much easier to directly contact and study customers in the target market. 

2. Maintain brand consistency

 It’s important for businesses to have a uniform brand identity in every piece of communication, building trust and professionalism.

Consistent use of logos, color schemes, and typography across all design elements reinforces brand recognition.

3. Simplicity and clarity

In B2B design, the focus should be on clear, straightforward messaging, as overly complex designs can detract from the key message. Simplicity aids in better understanding and retention of information.

4. Effective use of color

Use color strategically to evoke the right emotions and actions, align with brand identity, and improve readability. In B2B design, more subdued and professional color palettes are often preferred.

5. Professional typography

The choice of fonts should reflect the brand’s personality while ensuring readability. Professional typography aids in making the content appear more organized and legible, especially in text-heavy B2B designs.

For instance, fractional CTO/CPO service provider Rocka combines a bold website design with simple sans serif typography to convey an image that is both professional and dynamic.

6. Data visualization

Good data visualization helps in making informed decisions and can make presentations more compelling.

7. Responsive and accessible design

B2B designs should be accessible and responsive across various devices and platforms to ensure the content is accessible to all potential business clients, regardless of how they choose to engage.

8. Purpose-driven design

Every design element should serve a clear purpose and contribute to the overall goal of the communication. Avoid unnecessary embellishments that don’t add value to the message.

9. Quality imagery

High-quality, relevant images can enhance the effectiveness of the design. In B2B, imagery should be professional and align with the brand, avoiding generic stock photos when possible.

10. Test and get feedback

Regular testing and gathering feedback on design elements can provide insights into their effectiveness. This iterative process helps in refining designs to better meet the needs of the target audience.

11. Storytelling approach

Using storytelling in design can make the message more relatable and memorable. It’s a powerful way to connect with the audience on an emotional level, even in a business context.

12. Calls-to-Action (CTA)

CTAs should be clear and compelling, guiding the audience toward the desired action, whether it’s contacting the company, downloading a resource, or scheduling a demo.

Ensuring all designs comply with legal standards and ethical practices is crucial. This includes respecting copyright and trademark laws, data privacy regulations, and industry-specific compliance requirements.

The impact of good design on brand perception

Good design has a profound impact on brand perception, influencing how customers and clients view and interact with a brand — from first impressions to brand positioning, identity, and trust.

It also helps to nurture positive emotional connections with the audience (yes, even in a B2B setting) and can improve user experience. 

Let’s take a look at five real-world examples of B2B brands that have nailed their visual identity.

1. Asana

Asana, a project management and collaboration software platform, exemplifies good B2B graphic design through various elements. For instance, the website design looks professional and clean, mirroring the efficiency and organization inherent in their product, which effectively communicates their brand values to a business audience. 

There is a strong emphasis on consistent branding across the website and product interfaces, using a uniform color scheme, typography, and imagery that help in building brand recognition and trust. 

The user interface of Asana’s product is intuitive and user-friendly, crucial for B2B software to ensure easy adoption and effective use by teams. The use of color is both aesthetically pleasing and functional, aiding in navigation and task management within the app. 

Over on the website, content includes product features and benefits and is laid out in an engaging and informative manner, making complex information about the software easily digestible. 

Asana also effectively employs infographics and data visualization to illustrate the workings and benefits of its product, catering to data-driven decision-making needs in business environments. 

Additionally, the mobile-responsive design of Asana ensures accessibility on various mobile devices, an important consideration for business users. 

Finally, clear and compelling calls to action on the website guide potential clients towards meaningful engagement, such as signing up or requesting demos, which are essential for conversions in B2B marketing.

2. Grammarly

Grammarly, a popular writing and grammar checking tool, effectively demonstrates key principles of B2B design. The platform’s website greets visitors with a clean, straightforward layout that speaks to its professional audience. 

A hallmark of Grammarly’s design is the clear communication of the tool’s benefits, such as enhanced writing quality and efficiency, which are core concerns for businesses seeking to improve their written communication. 

The use of engaging visuals and intuitive navigation on their site makes the complex technology behind Grammarly feel accessible and user-friendly. 

This is complemented by a consistent branding strategy, where a distinct color palette and typography are used to reinforce brand recognition. 

Moreover, Grammarly’s design extends beyond its website to its product interface, which is sleek and non-intrusive, ensuring a seamless integration into various writing platforms. 

These design choices collectively establish Grammarly as a professional, reliable tool in the eyes of its business users, highlighting the impact of thoughtful B2B design.

3. Hubspot

HubSpot, which specializes in inbound marketing, sales, and service software, showcases exemplary B2B design in its approach. 

When you visit HubSpot’s website, you’re greeted with a design that balances professionalism with approachability, aligning with its role as a facilitator of customer relationship management. 

The site’s layout is user-friendly, making navigation intuitive for business professionals seeking specific solutions. 

HubSpot’s design ethos extends to its educational content, where complex marketing concepts are transformed into easily digestible formats, making it a go-to resource for many businesses. 

The consistent use of a vibrant color palette and clean, modern typography across their website and products reinforces brand recognition. This consistency is pivotal in communicating trust and reliability, essential in the B2B sphere where these traits are highly valued. 

HubSpot’s design is not just visually appealing but also strategically aligns with its aim to simplify and enhance the marketing and sales processes for businesses, reflecting a deep understanding of effective B2B design principles.

4. Mailchimp

Mailchimp, a leader in email marketing services, stands out as an example of effective B2B design. The platform’s website is infused with a distinctive blend of professionalism and creativity, reflecting its brand personality. 

This is evident in the playful yet sophisticated use of color and illustrations, which adds a unique and memorable character to its design. What sets Mailchimp apart in the realm of B2B design is its ability to present a user-friendly interface that simplifies the often complex task of email marketing. 

The intuitive layout, clear navigation, and straightforward language make it accessible for businesses of all sizes, ensuring that users can easily find and utilize the features they need. 

Additionally, Mailchimp’s design consistency across its website, platform interface, and marketing materials effectively reinforces its brand identity, instilling trust and reliability among its business clientele. 

This harmonious balance of engaging aesthetics and functional design demonstrates Mailchimp’s deep understanding of the needs and preferences of its B2B audience.

5. Zendesk

Zendesk, a service-first CRM company, exemplifies effective B2B design through its online presence and product interface. The Zendesk website showcases a blend of minimalism and functionality, a design choice that mirrors the company’s emphasis on straightforward, efficient customer service solutions. 

Meanwhile, the use of a calm color palette and clean lines creates a professional yet welcoming environment, resonating with business audiences seeking clarity and ease of use. 

What distinguishes Zendesk’s design approach is the seamless integration of informational content and product features, allowing potential customers to understand the benefits of the service without being overwhelmed. 

The website’s user-centric design, with intuitive navigation and clear calls to action, reflects an understanding of the business user’s need for quick, accessible information. 

Additionally, the consistent visual language across Zendesk’s platform ensures a cohesive brand experience, enhancing recognition and trust among its B2B clients. This harmonious combination of aesthetics and functionality in Zendesk's design effectively communicates its commitment to providing streamlined, user-friendly customer service solutions.

Common B2B design challenges (+ solutions)

Working as a B2B graphic designer can be both rewarding and challenging. Below is a list of common challenges graphic designers face — and how Playbook, a platform for organizing creative files, helps solve them.

  • Communicating complex information: Playbook facilitates the organization and sharing of complex design projects, making it easier for designers to present detailed information in a structured manner.
  • Maintaining brand consistency: By centralizing creative assets, Playbook helps ensure consistent use of brand elements across different projects and teams.
  • Balancing professionalism and creativity: The platform supports a range of creative expressions while maintaining a professional structure for file management and collaboration.
  • Targeting the right audience: Playbook’s organization capabilities help designers tailor their portfolios to specific client needs or industry standards.
  • Designing for decision-makers: The streamlined presentation features and easy access to design work enable clearer communication with decision-makers.
  • Multichannel consistency: Keep variants across channels in one place to ensure consistent design output.
  • Regulatory compliance: Playbook can aid in managing design assets in compliance with legal and industry-specific standards.
  • Feedback and revisions: The collaborative nature of the platform streamlines the process of receiving feedback and making revisions.

Elevate your B2B graphic design career with Playbook 

Embarking on a career in B2B graphic design is a great way to work in a creative industry with substantial earning potential that can be both challenging and rewarding.

As the industry grows, designers have an opportunity to shape how audiences perceive and engage with B2B businesses in the future.

For many graphic designers, Playbook is a trusted companion that helps them manage projects, maintain brand consistency, and elevate their work and the success of their clients. 

Are you a professional creative ready to claim your 4TB of free lifetime storage? Sign up for a Playbook account now. 

Alternatively, check out how Playbook AI makes it easy to create, manage, and store your AI art and prompts.