There is a not that uncommon misconception amongst certain small business owners that your brand is basically your logo design. However, your logo is not a synonym for your brand and it’s useful to know the distinction and how they interact. Because while they aren’t the same thing, they do have a very close working relationship and they have to work together to give you a successful professional company identity.
Your brand – who you are, what differentiates you from competitors
Your brand encompasses the name, term, design, symbol or any other feature that identifies your company as opposed to your competitors.
The term branding was originally used to differentiate one person’s livestock from another, by burning a distinctive symbol into the animal’s skin. This has obviously developed over time to encompass a much wider set of what makes you different from the competition; your values, your personality, your style, your reputation, your history.
All of your artwork and all of your products are expressing your brand identity. This does include your logo (which forms an important part of your company identity), but it is not exclusive to your logo. Your website, your products, your stationery, your premises all form part of your brand. In fact everything you do as a company forms a small part of the whole which is your brand.
Your logo – a graphic representation of your brand identity
Your logo design is a visual way to express and communicate your brand (i.e. who you are). It is the single-most important piece of representation because it will form the underpinning of every other piece of branding from labels to stationery to your website.
What you can’t do is create a logo and think that that is all you need to have a brand identity. Your logo design has to come out of your brand values, encompassing and encapsulating them. If instead you are trying to create a brand that matches your logo you’ll find that your efforts are very quickly seen through.
7 questions to help you develop your brand
So if your logo design needs to come from your brand, then you need to make sure that you’ve spent time developing your brand before thinking about your logo design. The easiest way to do this is to sit down with all the key members of your organisation and brainstorm the answers to the following questions:
- Who are you?
- What do you like?
- What don’t you like?
- What do you stand for?
- What are your values?
- What are your principles?
- What are your unique selling points?
Developing your brand actually doesn’t just help your design work and marketing – it also helps you to succeed as a company. By defining who you are, your entire team will be able to act with more certainty and conviction in everything that they do.
5 tips for designing your logo
Once you have a firm handle on your brand then you are ready to design your logo. This is all about creatively taking the facts of your brand and turning that in to a visual representation. This is a real skill, and is one of many reasons that you need to make sure you employ a professional logo designer to do the job for you.
- Get creative looking for inspiration and ideas
- Write a strong tagline that defines you as a company
- Think about colours that encompass your brand values
- Think about which font styles encompass your brand values
- Think practically about where you will be using your logo and what kind of layout you need.
It’s never too late to rejuvenate and redefine your brand identity, but as countless big brand examples have shown us you can risk customer loyalty by doing this, so unless you have a really good reason it’s a good idea to make sure that you’re getting your brand and your logo right the first time around.