I recently had a discussion with a friend about Branding Vs Logo Design, which inspired this post...What is a brand? And how is it different from a logo? Some designers and agencies seem to be confused about this critical distinction, so I’m not surprised when clients query it and are sometimes confused by it. Often when clients refer to “our brand” they are talking about their logo. And a number of designers, agencies, web developers, marketing firms, and public relations firms claim they “do branding,” but more often than not they’re actually referring to logo design.
WHAT IS BRANDING/BRAND? If you’d ask me to explain branding (or brand) in one word, I’d say Branding is an experience. Branding consists of your company’s mission, core values, visions, business voice, so it’s like a huge plan of your customer experience. It’s the way you make your target audience feel, what they imagine in their minds when they think of your business, it’s a psychological relationship with business and the customer. The brand is an inherent part of your business – your business personality (if you’re a solopreneur it might be your personality), the style (both tangible and intangible, for example, the way you speak/write) and it’s the promise of what your client will experience from your business. The branding helps you shape your business, by more factors than just a visual aspect. It helps you differentiate your products and services from your competitors. Your brand strategy contains how, what, where, when and to whom you want to communicate and deliver your brand messages and values. MY FAVOURITE QUOTES ABOUT BRANDING: “Branding is what people say about you when you are not in the room” – Jeff Bezos “When you brand yourself properly, the competition becomes irrelevant” – Dan Schawbel “Products are made in the Factory, But Brands are created in the Mind” – Walter Landor WHAT IS BRAND IDENTITY/BRAND DESIGN Brand identity/Brand design refers to what we see and what we feel about the company, by seeing their visuals (visual identity). This includes colours, fonts, logo, alternative logos, submarks, graphic elements, patterns, photography. Brand goes side by side with brand identity and sometimes is hard to distinguish each. Let’s take a Dior for example. You can say without looking at their brand that they want to make you feel like their brand it’s upscale and elegant and they don’t want you to mistake them with low-cost bazaar perfumes. That’s why they have a simple website, with their iconic serif logo, use black and white or neutral colours, they use famous individuals in their advertisements like Johnny Depp or Charlize Theron. It’s a perfect coherence with brand/branding and brand identity/brand design. The visual components like logos, shapes, typography, colours, patterns, photography, packaging and other design elements help to create the user’s experience. The brand/branding and brand identity/brand design should work together, so you should be able to recognise the brand even if you don’t see their logo. It is certainly easier for larger companies like Apple, Starbucks, McDonald’s etc. but it’s possible for solopreneurs too. It’ll take more time if your business is online based, but it isn’t impossible. In the online businesses instance, gaining the recognition of your brand identity can manifest itself for example by spotting someone’s blog post on Pinterest’s Smart Feed and instantly thinking that that pin is from that blogger because you recognised their fonts, colours, logo, photos or other graphic elements. THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN BRANDING AND BRAND IDENTITY IN SHORT: Branding (or brand) is intangible, is what you want your customers to feel when they think about your business, in other words, the brand is an experience. Brand identity (or brand design) is tangible, it’s like a face of your brand, so it’s a visual side of your business. HOW THE BRANDING AND BRAND IDENTITY WORK TOGETHER? By defining your mission statement, the core values, goals, tone, target audience, brand keywords you’re creating the foundation of your brand, in order to translate that into visuals. As I’ve mentioned above, the brand is an experience and the brand identity is a face of the brand. You need to make sure that your brand identity, represents all the above in order to have cohesive, distinctive, memorable, professional brand. WHAT IS A LOGO? The logo is a visual representation of your business and brand. The logo is a graphic symbol of your brand and business. A professional logo allows you to build a prosperous, successful business by attracting your target clients. Investing in great design will separate you from competitors, create a professional visual presence, and maintain consistency across all platforms of your business. RELATED: WHY IS A PROFESSIONAL LOGO IMPORTANT FOR A COMPANY? The logo is an essential part of brand identity, but it’s not the only component of it. The logo should represent your business and it doesn’t have to have dozens of other graphic elements and doesn’t have to be too literal. Most of the iconic logos are simple and modern, even without any illustrations or icons. The logo should identify the business in a way that is recognisable and memorable. Once the logo becomes familiar, a lot of brands simplify them by removing some of the elements. Some of the brands literally own colours like you’re associating red with Coca-Cola and blue and red with Pepsi, so in that case, colours are more important than the logos itself, but it required time in order for customers to associate those brand names with the colours. You don’t need to see the logo of McDonald’s to recognise their products packaging. Having consistent branding is essential for your business. You need to consistently use the same fonts, colours, photos, patterns and other graphic elements in order to get the recognition. Remember to think further about your brand than just a logo. Create a system that represents you, your missions and values. I hope this post will clarify the differences and similarities between branding and brand identity. Before you design your brand identity, make sure to take the time to think about how you’d like to incorporate yourself into your brand, how you want your brand to make them feel and the experience you want to create for your customers. If you’re looking for a brand designer who will help you translate the intangibles to visuals, please contact me @ firstname.lastname@example.org