Smith & Milton creates new Business Link identity

Smith & Milton has rebranded Business Link, the Government’s resource to help small and medium sized business.

Business Link previously occupied physical spaces as well as an online presence, though now, according to Smith & Milton, the service is moving solely online and phasing out the physical outlets.

Business Link logo
Business Link logo

The consultancy was appointed to the rebrand project without a pitch having been on the roster for design rosters for the Central Office of Information, and began work on the project in mid-2010.

The project involved creating a new brand strategy, identity and ‘customer’ promise’ for the service, aiming to move the service forward with its online presence.

David Haseler, strategy director at Smith & Milton says, ‘Business Link needed to ensure it is perceived as clear, informative and helpful. In communicating this positioning we took some of our inspiration from Harry Beck and his original London Underground map, which today is still one of the best examples of a design language that provides “everything you need” and “nothing you don’t.”’

Business Link website
Business Link website

Smith & Milton creative director Steven Anderson adds that while the consultancy was given a ‘very open’ brief, the logo and identity retained the sense of linking from its previous incarnation.

Anderson says, ‘We went for a much friendlier, brighter happier identity than a typical “Government” identity. It’s much more about business people so we showed pictures of people who might use the service to make it seem positive and helpful, but also trustworthy.’

The new logo shows a linked lower case ‘b’ and ‘l’; while the colour palette retains the green and blue of the previous identity, which is shown across the logo and also on coloured photograph imagery of people.

Anderson says, ‘We wanted to show a lot of different people and get a lot of ethnic diversity to show a range of business-people out there. Rather than using just real photographs we wanted bright, positive colour schemes.’

Business Link brochure
Business Link brochure

The identity will be shown across the website, which has been designed by Business Link’s in-house team, according to Smith & Milton, and on other materials such as brochures.

Hide Comments (12)Show Comments (12)
  • Adrian Wilkinson November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    I thought that Business Link had been ‘axed’ as part of government cuts – has anybody told them or their branding company?

  • Dick Willis November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    Lovely. But I wonder how many 1:1 advice sessions could have been delivered to new start businesses for the cost of the rebranding.

  • Alex Madden November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    Why do people always mention the cost of rebranding projects in such a negative way? It is important for a brand to communicate effectively, and strategic and design services cost money. Governmental or not, these projects are what keeps our industry going, are they not? Lovely work by the way.

  • One Man Bandit November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    They cost will always be mentioned because the taxpayer is footing the bill. And at around £40million per year justifiably so.

    Maybe some taxpayers money has been saved by taking inspiration from the London Underground design rather than on conceiving something original?

    It also suggests that Business Link and Whitehall bureacrats continue to ignore the rest of England outside of London.

  • Rob Weaver November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    A case study in how rhetoric about cuts doesn’t stop Government spending money. You get rid of substantive service provision and spend £ on branding.

  • Andrew Duff November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    What tiresome re-branding guff:
    “the service is moving solely online and phasing out the physical outlets.” But then…”It’s much more about business people so we showed pictures of people who might use the service to make it seem positive and helpful, but also trustworthy.’”
    – who do they think they are they kidding? Maybe the key word here is “seem”…

  • nicky whiting November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    Good to see that money is being wasted on the look and feel of what remains of Business Link rather than spending the money on helping small businesses with one to one support and assistance. RIP Business Link

  • Graham Bowes November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    I hope there was a competitive tender process. It would hardly be responsible use of taxpayer’s money to just give the project to a company without determining that they would get a competitive price.

  • Arnold Kent November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    Stunning –

    Publicise that the Business Link Web site is being mismanaged and costs £30m a year blame the BLs (who have nothing to do with the web site) sack the face to face advisers (who have 95% customer satisfaction) and keep the website, after rebranding it to add confusion to the service users (who paid for it)

    Oh and best of all do it in the middle of a recession when businesses are desperate for free advice!

  • Lesley Adams November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    British Design

    Looking at what has been achieved Stephen Anderson and his team have completed an excellent job. From my own work I have found the UK highly capable of producing gifted talent as the Islington Student Design Fair illustrates year after year. But how many of these students will achieve employment in the UK? There are many mixed messages to add to this confusion. Axeing the Business Link F2F function but investing in the BL website….confusing… SFEDI and FSB it would appear are providing an alternative but doesn’t this look like reinventing the wheel? If this wasn’t so sad it would be funny.

  • Paul Mayhew November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    A waste of public money. There is no need for a new logo.

  • Graham Kay November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    Still not sure in these ‘backs to the wall’ economic times with the focus now fervently upon supporting the creation of new enterprises why the Business Link Business Adviser Service was axed.

    It makes no sense!

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