What’s the difference between a logo and a brand identity?
Question asked by: Kate Toon, copywritingschool.com.au
To answer this question, i am going to break this down into 3 sections: What is a brand?, What is a brand identity? and What is a logo?
What is a brand?
A brand is best defined as the human qualities of a business or organisation. The brand encompasses the personality, values and overall perception of the business or organisation.
Our personalities are the sum of our interests, experiences, the people with whom we associate, morals, ethics and values, our goals and aspirations and the way that we engage and contribute to society. So too is a business or organisation’s brand.
“Brands have three primary functions:
Brands help consumers choose from a bewildering array of choices.
Brands communicate the intrinsic quality of the product or service and reassure customers that they have made the right choice.
Brands use distinctive imagery, language and associations to encourage customers to identify with the brand.“
– David Haigh, CEO, Brand Finance
What is a brand identity?
To explain a brand identity, i will quote the words of Alina Wheeler:
“Brand identity is tangible and appeals to the senses. You can see it, touch it, hold it, wear it, watch it move. Brand identity fuels recognition, amplifies differentiation, and makes big ideas and meaning accessible. Brand identity takes disparate elements and unifies them into whole systems.”
– Alina Wheeler “Designing Brand Identity, Fourth Edition” pg 4
What is a logo?
A logo (which is also called a brandmark) is a is a graphic and/or typographic solution that is used to identify a person, business or product in a quick and effective way.
A brandmark/logo can be broken down into the following categories: Wordmarks, letterform marks, pictorial marks, abstract marks, emblems, characters and signatures. To explain each of these, i will quote directly from Alina Wheeler’s book: Designing Brand Identity: An Essential Guide for the Whole Branding Team, 4th Edition (She explains things super well and why try to re-write a mastermind’s words?)
“A wordmark is a freestanding word or words. It may be a company name or an acronym.”
“The single letter is frequently used by designers as a distinctive graphic focal point for a brandmark. The letter is always a unique and proprietary design that is infused with signicant personality and meaning. The letterform acts as a mnemonic device, and is easy to apply to an app icon.” Think the famous McDonald’s “M”, Facebooks “F” icons
“A pictorial mark uses a literal and recognisable image. The image itself may allude to the name of the company or its mission, or it may be symbolic of a brand attribute.” For example: The WWF panda, Twitter’s bird, Starbuck’s mermaid – you know what the company is by looking at the pictorial mark.
“An abstract mark uses visual form to convey a big idea or a brand attribute. These marks, by their nature, can provide strategic ambiguity and work effectively for large companies with numerous and unrelated divisions. Abstract marks are especially effective for service-based and technology companies; however, they are extremely difficult to design well.” Examples are the Chrome explorer circle, Nike’s famous tick.
“Emblems are trademarks featuring a shape inextricably connected to the name of the organisation. The elements are never isolated. Emblems look terric on a package, as a sign, or as an embroidered patch on a uniform.” Think of your favorite football teams emblem, Harley David motorcycles, Smirnoff, Tobasco Sauce
“A character trademark embodies brand attributes or values. Characters quickly become the stars of advertising campaigns and the best ones become cultural icons cherished by children and customers alike. Along with their distinctive appearance and personality, many characters have recognisable voices and jingles, enabling them to leap off the silent shelf space onto your desktop.” Examples are the Paddplepop lion, Freddo Frog, Ronald McDonnald, Duracell Energizer Bunny
“A signature is the structured relationship between a brandmark and tagline. Some programs accommodate split signatures that allow the mark and the logotype to be separated. Other variations may include a vertical or horizontal signature that allows choices based on application need.”
BRAND – The personality and perception.
IDENTITY – The style and presentation.
LOGO – The visual identification.
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