Why Is It Easy to Confuse a Logo With a Brand?
If someone asked you off the top of your head to explain the difference between a logo and a brand, could you? If you’re in marketing you probably could, but could you explain it to a client without using any of your profession’s jargon? That’s a lot harder, and it is one of the reasons why many entrepreneurs and business managers confuse the two regularly. This leads to misconceptions like the idea that logo design is the be-all end-all of branding. That’s just not how it works, though. Here’s the simple way to conceptualize things: Your brand is your total pitch to customers based on your position and values, and the logo is its calling card. Understanding how they are different involves understanding what defines each and how they intersect.
Building a Brand: What to Do Before Designing a Logo
Your logo is important because eventually, customers will associate many of the brand’s characteristics with it. The important thing to remember is that this happens over time, as a natural part of the proliferation of your brand. There is no killer design for a logo that will automatically bring all the emotional characteristics of your brand together, only tactics that will help you set the logo up to easily gain those meanings and associations as customers learn more about your brand.
Setting up a good brand with a consistent character is the first step in that process, and that starts with research into the customers you want to reach. Learn their needs, their values, and the things that will make your business more attractive to them than the competition, and then build an idea of the character or personality that would deliver on them. That personality is the brand itself. Think of it like a fictional spokesperson, and try to find a way to deliver a consistent “voice.”
The next step is the brand identity, and logo design is part of it. Brand design is all about creating a visual identity, so that means the colours, typography, tone and word choice in textual communications, iconography, and even data visualization techniques should all work together. Start by working out two or three colours that will make up your brand’s main colour scheme, and plan to use them in the logo. Then consider using tints and shades to provide more depth in spaces like web pages and infographics, where you might need more colours to fill out the visual design. Similarly, your typography should be simple, with no more than two fonts and consistent, so it’s easy to associate with your brand.
Approaching Company Logo Design
After you have a firm concept for your brand and some basic visual presentation choices out of the way, it’s time to look at designing that logo. By now, it should be easy to see how it is different from the brand itself. The reason it tends to pick up the emotional associations with the brand’s deeper character features is because of its use in your communications. This is going to be partly determined by the design itself, so there are choices to be made about how your brand character presents to an audience directly in the logo. The key is to remember the logo is an icon. On its own, it can only convey a simple meaning, but once it is understood in the context of the brand’s other communications, it will take on new associations.
Since the logo is such a crucial part of a brand identity package, it’s a good idea to bring in professionals like KKP Printing to help. Creative pros who specialize in brand identity packages know how to construct a logo to do the work of standing out as a symbol of the brand’s character and how to integrate it smoothly into other communication materials in the brand identity package. That includes consulting with your company on how to best present the rules for use of your logo in the brand style guide. The logo needs to work with the other elements of brand identity to support the emotional messaging that makes an appeal to your customers, otherwise it winds up looking out of place. The rest of the brand identity package includes:
- Web design
- Brand style guide choices about colours and typography
- Word choice and tone
- Social media presence
- Marketing Materials
The list above is not comprehensive, but it does cover the basic features of an identity package that every brand should be prepared to address.
The Logo is a piece the Brand, But It Isn’t the entire Brand
The best logos are simple enough to be easy to remember, symbolic of the brand in some easy to understand way, and consistent with the brand’s image in colour choice and typography. Often, it’s some stylized graphic design based on the company’s name or initials. Other times, it’s an icon that is easily understood to represent the company, like the Apple logo. It’s very important that professionals work together to construct a brand carefully compiling the details of its identity and understand how they all come together.
If you’re working to connect your brand to a solid plan for visual representation across all the media you are marketing through, you need to consider asking for help. Building a business necessarily involves learning which functions are core to your concerns and which ones can be delegated or contracted out. When you don’t have a lot of experience with brand design, working with and experienced creative team can give you the tools you need to move forward with a consistent identity and the strategy guide that makes it easy for your employees to implement it in all your company’s customer-facing communications.
Do you need help with your logo design, and brand identity? Contact your local experts at KKP!
Fast. Local. Personal. For over 35 years KKP has been supplying a comprehensive range of high-quality print, design and sign services as well as marketing assistance to Canadian businesses. To learn what KKP Services can do for your brand, contact us today.