BY SHAILEY SIEVERS
When I began my path as graphic designer, I thought a business’s logo was its brand — basically, different terminology for the same thing.
Somewhere along the six years I’ve been in the industry, I learned that a logo and a brand go hand in hand. They’re both important, but they’re not the same.
I don’t think I’m the only one who was confused on this point, so I’m here to help define the differences.
First of all, let’s define what a logo is. A logo (also known as a mark, brand mark, trademark, wordmark, logotype, symbol, or brand icon) is a graphic and/or typographic mark that identifies your organization.
At Carew Co., we like to start the logo process with a discovery, or planning, session that helps us get to know your company on a deeper level. We have a conversation about your company, its purpose, your vision and goals, and how you want to position your company. This is important! We ask a lot of questions because a logo must have beauty AND brains. A great design is not enough — it must be backed by a concept, strategy, and story.
After hours researching and sketching, we come up with a mark, or symbol, that properly represents your product or service. Here’s an example of a logo suite we did for local bottle shop Hops & Bottles.
In our discovery phase, we listened while our client explained that he didn’t think Boiseans understood the concept of a bottle shop. The idea was fairly new to this market at the time, so the logo had to both educate and entice.
After doing market research, we designed a logo that immediately and memorably conveys what the business offers. We incorporated the shape of a beer bottle and beer caps while using splashes of gold (just like beer) to differentiate Hops & Bottles from other businesses in this sector. The final design is fun and eclectic and references the environment the client wanted to create.
As with every client, we developed a full suite of logos that can be used in different formats: horizontally or vertically, or against a light or dark background.
Once a logo is established we move on to business cards, letterhead, marketing collateral, packaging, website, signage, and other imagery. These vehicles for your logo are known as the “identity” pieces of your visual branding.
Here are some more visual components of the Hops & Bottle brand in action.
Your logo is a big part of your brand, but as you noticed in the graphic above, language and personality play equal roles. In The Brand Gap, Marty Neumeier writes “a brand is a person’s gut feeling about a product, service, or organization.” This encapsulates everything that goes with interacting with a brand — mission/vision, advertising, other customers, customer service, facilities, core values and personality as a company.
Like a living organism, your brand isn’t permanent. It must be supported and constantly nurtured by genuinely living the brand values every day. For instance, how does Hops & Bottles interact with people on social media? Do they support organizations their customers support? What type of events are they hosting? Is the facility in an accessible area? Are the bartenders nice? Is the space clean? All the above questions evoke emotions and feelings that contribute to whether a consumer will continue to interact with the business.
Are you relying on your logo to do the heavy lifting for your brand, or is your logo the weak spot? We can help you create or refresh your brand platform so it works for your business, not against it. Contact us — we’d love to start exploring with you!