What is the difference between a logo and a brand?

What is a brand?, What is a brand identity? and What is a logo?

Question asked by: Kate Toon, copywritingschool.com.au

BRAND – Personality and perception.
IDENTITY – The style and presentation.
LOGO – Visual identification.
logo sketches on a desk


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:

1. Navigation

Brands help consumers choose from a bewildering array of choices.

2. Reassurance

Brands communicate the intrinsic quality of the product or service and reassure customers that they have made the right choice.

3. Engagement

Brands use distinctive imagery, language and associations to encourage customers to identify with the brand”.

– David Haigh, CEO, Brand Finance


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


A logo (which is also called a brandmark) 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, emblems,  characters and signatures.

A wordmark is a freestanding word or words, without the use of images or design details.

A letterform mark is a unique designed, single letter used to represent the brand. The letterform is usually infused with personality defining design elements which are full of meaning to the brand in which it represents. Examples of these are the famous McDonald’s “M”, Facebooks “F” icons

A pictorial mark is a recognisable image which is used as a part of a brand’s identity – often used in place of the brand’s name. For example The WWF panda, Twitter’s bird, Starbuck’s mermaid.

Emblems feature a shape and design which is connected to the name of the brand. The elements within the emblem design are never isolated. Emblems are usually found on packaging, signage and uniforms. Think of your favourite football teams emblem, Harley David motorcycles, Smirnoff, Tobasco Sauce

Many brands develop a character to portray and represent their brand attributes and values. “Characters can quickly become the stars of advertising campaigns, becoming 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.” – Alina Wheeler

Examples are the Paddle pop lion, Freddo Frog, Ronald McDonald, Duracell Energizer Bunny

A signature is the structured placing of a brandmark and tagline together in a functional way. Examples of use are on your email signature, advertising campaigns, social media and website.

© Studio: tiffany gouge