Chapter 12 - Logo vs Branding - What's the difference?
The difference between a logo vs branding is one of the most talked about topics in the design industry. We often hear, “I just need a logo, I don’t need a full brand package.” “I’m too small of a business, I don’t need anything that in-depth”. There’s definitely a gap in understanding the difference between the two, which I’m hoping this blog post will help shed some light on.
With the rise of social media, people are more visually inclined than ever before, and first impressions are HUGE. Online shopping has spiked to an unparalleled level and people are not afraid to go elsewhere if they don’t see what they need within a very short amount of time.
So, what is a logo?
A singular logo is one very, very small piece of the big puzzle that is your business. It’s a single graphic that identifies you – nothing more. It’s like showing up for a date, handing the person a card with your name on it and walking away. Sure, that person knows who you are now, but you’re leaving them with A LOT of unanswered questions. It’s expecting customers to understand everything there is to know about your business, trust in your services and purchase your goods with very little information.
Just having a logo doesn’t tell your whole story and what’s more, it’s representing your business 24/7, online, in person, on social media, everywhere. A logo can’t effectively do its job without help. That’s where branding comes in.
Branding is everything from your logos, fonts, branded patterns, colors, keywords, all the pieces of a complex puzzle that is your business and brings it all together in a consistent and cohesive way sparking emotion and creating an experience for your customers. It tells your story; Who are you? What do you have to offer? How do you stand out from your competitors? And most importantly, it evokes and builds trust which simply put, a business will not succeed without.
Here’s an example of a logo we created for one of our pre-made brand packages. It’s starting to tell a story, but it’s lacking all the other puzzle pieces it needs for us to see the whole picture.
Now, here’s the entire brand with color options, logo variations, fonts, buzzwords and imagery. We get a real sense of what this business offers, the level of professionalism and quality in their services (which instills trust) and the experience you could expect as a customer doing business with them.
Let’s breakdown 3 key differences between a logo vs branding:
When starting the process of working with a designer, it’s incredibly important to first consider where your brand is going to live. Most businesses have their logo on their business cards, website, social media, various printed materials, potentially packaging and labeling, etc. A logo doesn’t come “one-size-fits-all” so having different layouts that can be applied in various scenarios is essential. These usually come in the form of a primary and secondary logo as well as a few branded marks (icon versions of your logo that can be used in places like social media, on printed material, etc.) The idea is to have variations but not completely different designs to create consistency within your brand, you want your customers to still know it’s you whether they see a brand mark or your primary logo. This way your brand can live in various platforms simultaneously, creating brand recognition which is HUGE for new businesses.
There’s SO much psychology involved when choosing colors and fonts, more than most people realize but subconsciously are affected by every single day. What colors and fonts are chosen when designing your brand can make or break how successful your business will be. Here’s an example. Below is the same song lyrics represented 2 different ways (am I the only one who’s always thought Sting’s “Every Move You Make” is uber creepy??) On the left is a script with soft feminine colors while the one on the right is in a much more aggressive script with red tones. At first glance, the example on the left evokes a cute and comforting mood while the one on the right definitely does not. Same exact words, just presented in 2 very different ways. What’s really interesting here is that we’re also using the same 2 colors, but how they’re presented creates an entirely different mood.
Mood also plays a role in visual pieces like photography, mockups, and social media. How do you want your customers to feel when they see your brand? Are you selling a lifestyle? Do you want your customers to feel safe? Excited? Loved? Supportive? Proud? Motivated? Encouraged? Productive? Think of the emotion you feel when you look at one of your favourite brands. And then look at all the pieces that come into play to create that feeling.
Strategy in design is the data the designer is collecting in order to determine the why behind the design, which is incredibly powerful and necessary for creating a brand that will not only attract your ideal client, but last. Strategy isn’t usually included in logo designs because it’s a completely separate service, typically seen and implemented when clients are ready to brand their business. So, when strategy is brought into the design process, key factors that will dictate the outcome of the design are determined like who the ideal customer is and what special skills the business owner brings to the table. This puts the brand in a strategic place amongst its competitors. It also speaks specifically to the brands ideal clients which will drive profits. And as you saw above, knowing that information before the design development stage begins can have lasting impact on your business.
The logo is an incredibly important part to any business, but the key thing to understand is that it’s just the beginning, the stepping stone to all the other parts of your brand that are equally as important. When every element is brought together, it creates a voice for your business, an experience for your customers and sets your business up for success.