The logo is not your brand or your identity. Logo design, identity design and branding have different roles that together form the perceived image of a company or product.

There has been some discussion online recently on this topic, namely that your logo is not your brand. While this may be true, I have not seen any explanation of the differences between ‘brand’, ‘identity’ and ‘logo’.

What is a brand?

Many people think that a brand consists of just a few elements – some colours, some fonts, a logo, a slogan and maybe some music. In reality, it is much more complex than that. You could say that a brand is a “corporate image”.

The basic idea and fundamental concept of ‘corporate image’ is that everything a company does, owns and produces should reflect the values and objectives of the company as a whole.

It is the consistency of this fundamental idea that makes up the company, drives it, shows what it stands for, what it believes in and why it exists. It is not just about a few colours, a few fonts, a logo and a slogan.

“Brand is just a perception, and perception will match reality over time”

-Elon Musk

What is identity design?

dentity plays an important role in the “brand” or “corporate image”.

In most cases, identity design is based on the visual assets used in a company and usually consists of a set of guidelines. These guidelines, which make up the identity, usually define how the identity is used in different media, using approved colour palettes, fonts, layouts, measurements, etc. These guidelines ensure the consistency of the company’s identity, which in turn allows the brand as a whole to be recognised.

A company’s identity or ‘image’ is made up of a number of visual assets:

Logo,

office stationery ,

marketing aids ,

products and packaging,

clothing design,

Everything visual that represents the company.

All these things make up the identity and must support the brand as a whole. The logo is the identity of the company and the brand, combined into one recognisable symbol. This logo is the representative and symbol of the company as a whole.

What is a logo?

To understand what a logo is, we first need to understand what it is for.

A logo is designed to… identify.

A logo identifies a company or a product through the use of a sign, flag, symbol or signature. A logo does not directly sell a company, and it rarely describes a company. A logo is derived from the quality of the thing it symbolises, not the other way around – a logo is intended to identify, not to explain. In short, it is more important what a logo stands for than what it looks like.

To illustrate this concept, think of logos as people. They call us by name – James, Dorothy, John – rather than by a confusing and forgettable description such as ‘the guy who always wears pink and has blond hair’. So, too, a logo should not literally describe a company’s activities, but should identify it in a distinctive and memorable way.

Conclusion

It is important to note that a logo only works as intended once it becomes familiar, in the same way that we need to learn people’s names to recognise them. A logo identifies a company or product in its simplest form.

Brand – the perceived emotional image of the company as a whole.

Identity – the visual aspects that are part of the overall brand.

Logo – identifies a company in its simplest form using a sign or icon.

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