i was talking to a friend who is thinking of starting a business the other day. we were brainstorming about what she should think about as she builds her brand, logo, identity design, website design, instagram profile, brand tone, etc. i found it helpful to go back to the basics of what all of these things mean so i thought i’d share those with you. this piece from just creative is a great summary of this stuff so i've condensed it, (tweeked it a little) and copied for you the pieces i think are most important when building or re-building a brand.

ok! let's talk brand, identity and logo.

branding explained

A BRAND IS the perceived emotional corporate image as a whole. it is an organization, service or product with a ‘personality’ that is shaped by the perceptions of the audience.

many people believe a brand only consists of a few elements – colors, fonts, a logo, a slogan and maybe music. in reality, it is much more complicated than that. you might say that a brand is a ‘corporate image’.

the fundamental idea and core concept behind having a ‘corporate image’ is that everything a company does, everything it owns and everything it produces should reflect the values and aims of the business as a whole.

it is the consistency of this core idea that makes up the company, driving it, showing what it stands for, what it believes in and why they exist. it is not purely some colors, some typefaces, a logo and a slogan.

THE IDENTITY IS MADE UP OF the visual aspects that form part of the overall brand.

in most cases, identity design is based around the visual devices used within a company, usually assembled within a set of guidelines. these guidelines that make up an identity usually administer how the identity is applied throughout a variety of mediums, using approved color palettes, fonts, layouts, measurements and so forth. these guidelines ensure that the identity of the company is kept coherent, which in turn, allows the brand as a whole, to be recognizable.

the identity can be made up of many visual devices:

  • a logo (the symbol of the entire identity & brand)
  • stationery (letterhead + business card + envelopes, etc.)
  • marketing collateral (flyers, brochures, books, websites, etc.)
  • products & packaging (products sold and the packaging in which they come in)
  • apparel design (tangible clothing items that are worn by employees)
  • signage (interior & exterior design)
  • messages & actions (messages conveyed via indirect or direct modes of communication)
  • other communication (audio, smell, touch, etc.)
  • anything visual that represents the business

all of these things make up an identity and should support the brand as a whole.

THE LOGO identifies a business in its simplest form via the use of a mark or icon. it is the corporate identity and brand all wrapped up into one identifiable mark. this mark is the symbol of the business as a whole.

a logo identifies a company or product via the use of a mark, flag, symbol or signature. a logo does not sell the company directly nor rarely does it describe a business. logo’s derive their meaning from the quality of the thing it symbolizes, not the other way around – logos are there to identity, not to explain. in a nutshell, what a logo means is more important than what it looks like.

so, in summary:

brand: the perceived emotional corporate image as a whole.
identity: the visual aspects that form part of the overall brand.
logo: identifies a business in its simplest form via the use of a mark or icon.

and, as always, if you want to chat branding, identity design, or logos, feel free to shoot me an email!

more on branding from just creative here.