In my years as a graphic designer (and there have been many), I have found clients are often confused by the difference between a logo and branding and usually think they are they same. So, I’m here today to help you understand the difference and the importance of each.
WHAT IS A LOGO?
I think it’s pretty safe to say we all know what a logo is. A logo is a graphic that is used to identify a business.
A good logo also shows what that business does. A GREAT logo will also attract the ideal clients or customers of that business through the design style and make the business stand out from its competitors in a unique way.
Logo design is all about creating the perfect brand mark for a business so that it is quickly and easily identifiable.
What does a logo do?
A logo does more than just look pretty – or at least it should! Here’s what a logo does:
- Makes you stand out from the competition by visually representing your unique offering
- Identifies key info about your business in a visual way, such as your key demographic or brand values
- Builds brand recognition. Everyone knows what a big yellow M stands for!
What are the elements of a logo?
The elements of a logo can change depending on the needs of the business, however there are some fundamental elements that logos contain.
All logos should contain some kind of typographic element, whether it be the business name, or a monogram of individual letters. The style of font and layout of the typography makes a huge impact on the over mood and feel of the logo design.
In some cases, typography is also accompanied by graphic elements and imagery. This could be a small icon, a detailed illustration or anything in between. Imagery can also include elements such as lines, punctuation marks and the like.
Typography and Imagery make up the form of the logo.
Beyond the form of a logo comes the colour – one of my favourite parts! Whether it be a monotone black and white logo, monochrome (one colour) design or the full rainbow spectrum, colour plays a huge role in logo design and the colours chosen tap in to human psychology and the way a view will interpret that business. More on that in the future.
BRANDING VS. A LOGO – WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?
Now we have established what a logo is, what it does and the elements of a logo, you might already be starting to see what makes it different to branding. If not, never fear! I’m about to unpack it further for you and it’s really quite simple.
WHAT IS BRANDING?
Your brand is a set of impressions people have about your business. It is the overall vibe and feel. The big picture that encompasses all aspects of your business. A logo is part of that, but a logo does not branding make!
For example, we can all instantly recognise the Apple logo, but that isn’t all that contributes to the ‘Apple experience’ we have as customers. There are many contributing factors to this, their packaging, billboards, staff uniforms, words, terms and phrases they use (eg Apple Genius, lowercase “i” in product names) even the design of their stores. They all combine to create the Apple brand, and the bitten apple logo is only a part of that.
Branding is what your business needs to stand out from the crowd and grab the attention of your ideal customer and takes them from a viewer, to a first-time buyer, to a life-long, loyal customer.
What Does Branding Mean?
The term branding (and its various forms) has been around since the first century AD and comes from the marks burnt or ‘branded’ into cattle identifying to whom they belong. Yet, as we have established, it is so much more than just a logo or symbol. It is an emotional reaction, an experience, an overall impression of a business. It is also any action you take to cultivate your brand.
Why is branding so important?
Branding is important because:
- It helps you stand out from the crowd and show the unique qualities of your business
- It builds brand recognition and reinforces your business in people’s minds
- It creates a consistent brand experience for your customers whether it be on your website, social media, in store or advertising
- It creates a connection with customers who identify with your brand and brand values making them loyal customers and brand ambassadors who want to share about your brand with others
What are the Elements of Branding?
Branding can encompass many elements. Here are some of the most important:
MISSION STATEMENT & BRAND VALUES
This is the why, and how of your business. Why are you doing what you are doing, and how will you do it? Wrap it all up in a short statement and key points to communicate it clearly.
Branding is the identity and personality of your business and your brand guidelines make sure everything about your business is consistent with that personality. This creates dependability and trust with your clients. Brand Guidelines are the go-to reference for the visuals, language and all other aspects of your branding.
This is where the logo comes in. It is only part of your branding, albeit a very important part.
This is where your brand lives online. It should be visually appealing, easy to use, and most importantly continue your brand messaging in a consistent way.
Other branding assets will depend on your business, but some examples are:
- social media
- advertising materials
- copywriting, product names, words and phrases used
- stationery – business cards, letterheads etc
- signage + more
As you can see the difference between branding and a logo is significant – and important to remember. Branding your business might seem like a lot, and be overwhelming, but that’s where a professional designer – like me – comes in. I LOVE working with clients to flesh out their ideas and bring them to life through unique design that makes an impact for their business!