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Branding, identities and logos...

Design Pit

These three things are often confused and misunderstood by many people.

They all interlink and affect one another but essentially they are all separate things that come together to support and deliver a business’ image. As a business owner, the key thing to remember and retain in your mind is that your logo is not your brand, nor is it your identity.

This is often the first thing people get wrong when talking about their company image or brand. Logos are so often incorrectly referred to as a brand and then confused with an identity, so it is important to remember that a logo is one small part of this equation. Branding is not a light topic.

Most people believe a brand consists of a few elements – colours, fonts, a logo, and a slogan or strapline.

But in reality, a brand is much more than this. In a nutshell, a ‘brand’ as the ‘personality’ of a company, product or service.

A ‘brand’ is that everything a company does; everything from the way the phone is answered to the paper that letterheads are printed on to the staff dress code – a strong brand can affect the way a business recruits, the way it operates in terms of selecting supply chain providers; it is a lot more than some colours and a few fonts.

There is nothing really tangible about a brand, it is shaped in the minds of it’s customers, clients or supporters. A logo exists as an item that can be seen, touched and utilised in a variety of ways but a brand is something that is perceived rather than exists.

It is important to note that a graphic designer or design company cannot simply create a brand for you, a brand is something that is shaped by perceptions in the mind’s of the audience it reaches out to. One major role within the brand of a company, is its identity.

An identity is comprised of the visual devices used within a company, things like a corporate stationery, approved colour palettes, fonts, layouts, styles and so forth.

These visual components ensure that the identity of the company is kept coherent, which in turn, allows the brand as a whole, to be recognisable.

Typically, an identity for a small to medium sized business would be made up of the following items:

• A Logo
• Stationery
• Marketing Collateral
• Products & Packaging
• Signage
• Messages & Actions
• Anything visual that represents the business

These things support the brand as a whole by forming an identity which in turn, begins to form an image of the business.

When executed consistently, these things start to become associated with the perception of the brand.

As we said previously, a graphic designer can’t create a brand for you but they can help to build an identity that will deliver a vision for a brand.

To understand what a logo is, we must first understand what it is for…. Identification.

A logo identifies a company or product via the use of a mark or symbol.

Where a good brand is perceived in the right light with a strong identity, a good logo derives it’s meaning from the quality of the thing it symbolises.

Logos are there to identify not to explain but what a logo means is just as important as what it looks like.

The logo identifies a business or product in its simplest form. A good overall summary of the above would be:

• A logo identifies a brand by acting as a key marker for an identity
• An identity supports a brand by displaying all of the best parts of an image that enhances the perception of the brand
• A brand is built in the minds of an audience and is cultivated and nurtured through a strong logo design and a consistently applied identity