Are ‘branding’ and ‘logo design’ different? How?

Yes. Different. Very. A brand is more of a mental image or perception of the company / product / service in the mind of the consumer. It is intangible. A logo is a company emblem or device that represents the brand. It is more tangible. Branding efforts try to reinforce the brand persona on customers / viewers / general public and one of the elements that helps establish a recognition in that process of branding, is the logo. A logo design is a part of the entire branding process.

Your brand is the story behind your product, your company, your idea. You might have a brand name – like “Nike” is a brand name. That name represents what the company stands for – what image it is trying to project to consumers and to the market. The brand name is a part of the brand. The famous Nike check mark logo is also a part of the brand. The logo, in itself, is not the brand. It is one element of the brand. The logo, like the brand name, represents the brand.

A brand can be represented in a multitude of ways. Brand naming, a tagline, brand identity or logo design, brand colors that represent specific ideas from the brand story, billboards and advertising on the television, online advertising, brand ambassadors and even a brand mission statement.

A logo is an identity of the brand. A logo can be a combination of the brand name written in a specified typeface along with an image / graphic / symbol. The typeface or the symbol can be unique separately or their combination can be made unique. Brand colors can be determined from the logo designed for the brand and then those brand colors can be applied across advertising and marketing collateral.

Branding helps establish an emotional side to the product or the company. The logo helps establish the look or visual image of the brand.

The logo supports the brand’s story and helps further propagate the values established for the brand. The logo alone cannot establish a brand but it can be used as a starting point to ask the right questions. The creative brief can be used to ascertain various long and short term goals on the basis of which, the brand’s story and the logo itself can be developed simultaneously.

Ideally, your logo designer should know the difference between branding and logo design. Your logo designer should also have a fair idea of how to extract the creative brief for the logo from your branding story – if you have one. A good logo designer will tell you that they are not a brand consultant but they can help you ask the right questions.

Questions like the following, within the logo design engagement creative brief are branding related questions that help determine the direction that the designer would take while designing a logo :

  • Compared to competitors and their companies, what is your company’s current positioning?
  • What is your and your company’s purpose?
  • Beyond the economics [ more profit and revenues ], why is it worth creating and designing a logo?
  • Does your company have a formulated mission and/or goals?
  • What are your distinctive internal culture / behaviors that best support your purpose and mission?
  • A logo designer can eventually also be a brand consultant. I’m assuming that would happen after a few years of experience of working with brands who didn’t just want a pretty picture in their logo.

    A brand is a lot more than just visual promotional material – it is how business is done. It’s what your employees believe about the company, the product and the organization.

    RESOURCES : Links

    Businessweek : A Practical Guide to Branding
    Ezine Articles : Difference Between Logo Design and Brand Design
    BizHelp : What is Branding? : What is branding and how important is it to your marketing strategy?
    Wikipedia : What is a logo?
    Lea Woodward : What’s the Difference Between a Logo and Your Brand?
    How to brand your company : Trizle

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