Branding, logo design, brand strategy, visual identity design; the list goes on and on. There are so many different parts of branding that often get confused with one another and can make it difficult for you to communicate what it is that you and your business need, so I’m here to dispel some myths, untangle some definitions and clarify the differences for you!
Branding is a wholistic term for the way that your business is perceived. Your brand includes everything from your name to your logo, the events you sponsor, your tone of voice, your clients, your products, your customer service and more. Essentially, anything that a client or customer encounters related to your business makes up your brand, and the act of choosing how that happens, is branding.
Read more: What is Branding & Why Does it Really Matter
Brand strategy is putting a plan in place that establishes who you are as a brand and how you are going to convey that to your audience. While brand strategy still includes those things you think about when you hear branding, like the logo, colours, and fonts, it focuses more on the intangible aspects of your business and how they inform those creative decisions. This will include establishing your purpose, values, unique selling proposition, customer profiles, and other aspects that define your brand, and using them to determine how your brand is represented through visuals, content, customer service, partnerships and more.
A logo is probably the first thing that most people think of when they think about branding, and while it is not all that makes up a brand, it is a vital part of your identity. A logo is defined as ‘a symbol or other small design adopted by an organisation to identify its products, uniform, vehicles, etc.’ It’s a mark that can represent your company, what you do, who you are, your product or service, your customers and your values, and works as a recognisable brand element for your audience. Logo design will focus solely on the creation of your mark, but will take into consideration all of the work you have done on your brand strategy and attempt to represent this in a symbol, so the two go hand in hand.
Alongside a logo, there are several other visual elements that make up your brand and together they create your visual identity. Visual identity design will determine what these elements, such as your logo, colours, fonts, imagery, icons, patterns and more look like, and how they are used and applied across all of your touchpoints. This process often results in brand guidelines which explain in detail what your visual identity entails and show examples of it in action. A complete visual identity design ensures that your brand is professional, cohesive and consistent, no matter where it is encountered, creating a better, more engaging and trustworthy experience for your audience!
I once got asked, “where does branding end and design start” and honestly I don’t think such a line exists. Establishing a brand strategy informs the design choices you make, but branding is so much more than just visual design and the whole process is about designing your brand, whether that is visually or otherwise. It’s not always a linear process where one ends and the other begins; in fact I would say that brand strategy and visual design work in tandem, and together they make up branding.
I hope that this clears some things up for you, and will help you better articulate where your brand is at and what you need. Flick me a message to let me know if there are any other aspects of branding that you’re not sure about, or if you’re struggling with any of these right now. My inbox is open and I’m here to help!