There are times when a client will come to us seeking a designer to brand their company, believing that this will basically entail designing them a logo and that it is all. Unfortunately there are also some designers who operate under this same impression. But designing a brand goes beyond that, requiring a much more involved and comprehensive approach. So today we are going to look at branding and what all tends to separate it from the logo, this way we can hope to get everyone on the same page, both clients and designers.
Just take a look around the interwebs and you will find numerous articles, social media entries, and venting little blurbs relating to this misunderstanding. This is an easy mistake to make for those outside the industry, after all, unless you have studied or worked in the branding arena then this underestimation of what all is involved is easy to fall subject to. When really the process has so much more depth that most do not even consider, and to learn to make the distinction is really quite simple. Though the undertaking it clarifies is anything but.
As I said, this concept can be fairly simple to get a handle on, all we need to do is to come at it from a slightly different perspective. In fact, you neednt even understand the complex nature of the design fields and the specifics that relate, you need only to understand people. Imagine if you will that the company being represented was a person. In this context, the logo would be like the face of the company, whereas the brand would be not just their overall appearance, but also their personality.
Now if the logo is the face, then the brand would be the laughter, the aura, and just the overall way that the person carries and presents themselves.
So in a nutshell, that is the major distinction between a logo and a brand. While a brand incorporates the logo, and the logo reflects elements of the brand, the two are not interchangeable in language or in practice. The relationship between these two can also be looked on as somewhat unbalanced, for in order to create a brand you have to have a logo in the mix. However, in contrast, you can have a logo for your company without having taken the time and effort to develop a full fledged brand. So that is the basic look as we scratch the surface, but let us press on.
Now that we have a handle on the essence of what separates these two arenas of design, let us dive a little bit deeper into brand design. Through this further examination of the scope of the approach necessary to tackle this client request fully we hope to clear up this common misunderstanding even more. So below are a few important points that we should always keep in mind, that mark some major differences between a logo and a brand.
Counting on Consistency
The first thing that we are going to discuss about branding is the element that truly establishes and helps connect all of the dots necessary to bring a brand together, and that is consistency. This is a key to branding. Throughout the lifetime of a company, logos change, and this does grab our attention but it is somewhat expected. In contrast however, brands rely on consistency throughout the span of the company to solidify and built trust within it. And that trust, is one of the main draws to establishing a brand presence for your company within your market.
For consistent brand growth, you need a steady and consistent reach, like roots extending through all of the mediums available to your company.
Now let us look a little harder at the consistency demanded by branding, because design-wise there are some necessary concessions that have to be made, and understood to successfully pull this off. Generally speaking, branding design extends through the various methods of visual presentations, tying them all together through a consistent voice speaking to the various audiences. No matter the medium the company is being presented through, there is a consistent message, one that is immediately recognizable. By keeping consistent typefaces, color schemes, and overall design, the brand gets developed.
The Marketing Share
Now where branding design tends to take a far leap ahead in differentiating itself from logo design is in part, the marketing. For here the marketing approach is also part of the branding equation. With logo design, we tend to make light considerations with regards to the marketing, but generally only so far as to design a logo that can transferred to various marketing mediums successfully. With branding, you have to go much deeper and conceptualize an entire marketing approach to devise a way to help steer each interaction with the audience to help ensure that they are left with the proper takeaways.
The more that your brand sets your company apart, the more opportunity you have to establish yourself and capture more of your market.
With a brand, you have to differentiate this one company from all others sharing their market, and it takes much more than a logo to do this. For a brand is a much more emotional connection that accompanies the visuals than it is just a logo. It carries the company reputation and mission on its back, and relies on a unique corporate identity to help sell it with the audiences experiencing the brand. Designing an approach like this requires a deep understanding of the various user interactions, so much more so than when designing a logo. Without this understanding the brand you are designing will not be as effective as it needs to capture a viable share of the market it is dropped into.
Its About the Experience
Overall, the difference between logo design and branding can essentially come down to the focus on the experience. While logo design is more about the aesthetics and visuals, branding places a higher focus on the individual interactions and experiences each user has with the company. This is why marketing figures so highly into the equation, because it is through the companys marketing that they initially connect with and establish themselves with their audience. Laying the foundation necessary to build trust upon for your company.
There is a lot being built upon this foundation, so you want to ensure that you have the most solid approach you can as you move forward with your brand.
Now what the client needs to understand, is that when it comes to branding, a lot of the work gets left up to them. The branding experts will design a route that should lead the company successfully through the waters, but the brand design can only take the brand itself so far. After that it is up to the business itself, to sustain the proper course for their brand. As we have pointed out, each experience the user has with the company goes into establishing the brand trust and reputation. That goes beyond what we can design.
In the End
In the end, a brand is a much more complicated and complex construct than a logo. These are just a few of the differences that separate these two design artforms. Feel free to use the comment section as a sounding board to continue this discussion and expand on any of the points raised, or raise your own. We would love to hear from you on this topic.