Branding made simple [Part 1]

Logo vs Brand: What's the difference?

This is the first in a series of Branding posts drawn from my “Branding Made Simple” presentation at The Society of Graphic Designers of Canada (Manitoba) Design for Business luncheon series.

It can be argued that one cannot have a logo that works well without effective branding and that one cannot have a solid brand without an effective logo. But how do they differ?

A logo (short for logotype) is a graphic “representation” of a brand.  Logos are used by businesses and organizations of all sizes. They are also used by individuals. Logos function as identifiers – your cross-media signage. As a part of a branding strategy however,  logos enhance public recognition or – as I like to put it – brand recall.

Your brand is your logo plus everything else. A simple metaphor might be that of an iceberg. If the logo is the visible 10% of that iceberg, then your brand is the 90% hiding beneath the surface. It might include your name, colours, typography, language – even the clothing your employees wear and the music you play while customers visit your store/workplace. When well executed, the many facets of a brand strategy combine to strengthen the public memory of your business. By branding, we also try to shape the publics perception as well.

For example, the catchy jingle at the close of a McDonald’s commercial is so tightly linked with that brand (through repetition and consistant delivery), that when transferred from an audio source to print (gift cards) our “brand memory” completes the picture. We’re given a brand “hint” and our minds fill in the rest. read

However – those are just the basics. And it’s here I must come clean and admit I’ve deceived you. I’ve led you astray with all this “Branding Made Simple” business. Because it really isn’t that simple. We’ve just recognized a key difference between the two, yet it’s near impossible to have a discussion about branding without a heavy focus on logos. Admittedly, the logo receives more attention than the many other pieces that complete the brand puzzle  and even us “Large-brained” designers tend to use both terms “logo + brand” synonymously. But we shouldn’t.

Over the next few posts, I endeavour to break things down somewhat and help you recognize many of the key facets of brand strategy – visual and beyond – and its an integral role in the success of your business.

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Carson D. Samson

I do stuff. All kinds of stuff. And I really, really like Star Wars.