LOGO VERSUS BRAND

There’s a general perception that ‘logo design’ and ‘branding’ are the same thing. Although they are closely related and must work together in a cohesive way, they are very different processes. Logo design is the process of designing a logo. Branding is the process of building a brand. To better understand the difference between logo design and branding, let’s start with clear definitions.

The benefits of A STRONG
LOGO AND BRAND

Logo definition

A logo is an easily recognisable graphic symbol that identifies a company, a product or any public or private organisation. It’s one of the ways to distinguish a brand in a competitive world full of graphic elements that try to attract our attention. A logo is generally a combination of typographies, graphics/symbols and colours. It is one part of a brand’s visual identity.

Examples – Coca Cola Logo – Mercedes – BMW – M&S – Classi

Brand definition

A brand is the idea or image people have in mind when thinking about specific products, services, and activities of a company, both in a practical and emotional way. A brand is made up of all the physical and emotional cues that are triggered when people are exposed to touchpoints including the logo, visual identity, name, products, staff, advertising, among others.

Examples – Virgin – Sky – Bushmills – Classic Marble

After seeing the logo, and if you are familiar with the brand, some images and emotions might come to mind. You might feel a sense of luxury and elegance, or recall the founder of a brand as a fashion icon, or think of the products (e.g. make-up, clothes, accessories) or feel nostalgic for happy times. The experience and perception of a brand will be slightly different for each one of us, but as a result of branding strategy, the overall impression of the brand should be quite similar for the general population.

The difference
between logo design
and branding

Branding is the process of building a brand. It’s a strategy designed by companies to help people quickly identify their products and organisation, and give them a reason to choose their products over the competition’s. The logo is a graphic device that represents the brand.

A branding strategy clarifies what a brand is and is not. Some of the elements that are used in a branding strategy are:

Brand definition: purpose, values, promise. Brand positioning statement.

Brand identity: name, tone of voice, visual identity design (which includes the logo design) Brand marketing, advertising and communications, including:

  • TV & radio
  • Magazines & newspapers
  • Outdoor ads
  • Website
  • Mobile apps
  • Sponsorships and partnerships
  • Product and packaging design
  • In-store experience
  • Workspace experience
  • Management style
  • Customer service
  • Pricing strategy

A well-designed logo
is part of your brand
identity

Although a logo is only one of the elements of branding, it will most likely appear on the majority of customer touchpoints such as the website, brochures, stationery, products, packaging, ads, uniforms, stores and so on. It will help people quickly identify your brand wherever they see it.

Having a well-designed, multipurpose logo will allow you to appropriately represent your brand in a consistent way across all the different communication channels. Wherever people see it, they’ll immediately think of your brand name, values and personality.

The logo contributes to people’s emotional connection with the brand and as such, it’s hugely important. Back in 2010, the clothing brand Gap decided to change its logo and many consumers were so disappointed that the company chose to return to the original one! It shows just how much emotion can be connected to a simple graphic device.

Creating the right
impression

People expect a brand to have a professional look, starting with the logo. A good logo design will make your brand stand out, but also look reliable and trustworthy.

Hiring a designer will increase your chances of having a logo that’s unique, innovative and reflects your brand. You’ll have a design that’s been created bespoke, that represents your values and your business, and that helps you stand out in a crowded marketplace.

Conclusion

A logo by itself is a graphic element that represents the brand. A brand is a combination of all the tangible and intangible aspects that represent the product, service or organisation.

Without the brand, the logo wouldn’t have any real meaning, it would just be a graphic element. When combined, a well-designed logo and an effective branding strategy help organisations target specific audiences more effectively.

If you’re an entrepreneur and thinking about developing your brand, don’t underestimate the importance of a well-designed logo aligned to your branding strategy. It will be a rewarding investment for your brand and organisation for the long term.

Top Tips

  • Be sure your designer understands your brand and objectives. That way your logo and strapline will align with your company ethos and last a very long time. Your designer should write a brief based on what you’ve discussed together and send it back to you for sign-off before work begins. That way everyone is clear on what is needed and when.
  • Involve your staff. I don’t mean decision by committee, but keep them informed and engaged. They’re part of your brand and they’re ‘frontline’ in a lot of cases – the branding strategy and logo design have to ring true for them too.
  • Brand guidelines are important because they show how the logo and visual identity can and can’t be used, ensuring consistency wherever it appears, from brochures through to staff uniforms, advertising and so on. The brand guidelines document the correct colour palettes, typefaces, exclusion zones, imagery style and tone of voice. They should be circulated among your staff and shared with suppliers or anyone else who will need to use your logo.
  • Never let anyone mess about with your brand look and feel! For instance, some publications might tweak your logo to suit the space available. Don’t allow this. If it’s stretched or squashed or the wrong colour, it makes your brand look unprofessional and unreliable. Your logo represents your brand, your company and the emotions people feel when they think about you.