Spotting the difference between logo, identity and branding

Spotting the difference between branding, identity and logo design


The Brisbane creative team at iFactory get asked this question a lot: What is the difference between a brand, corporate identity and logo design?

Many people see them as interchangeable synonyms to represent all digital and visual elements. It’s completely understandable, especially for those who don’t work in digital marketing. Let’s break down the fundamentals of logo, branding and corporate identity by looking at the definitions of each.

Logo: a corporate identifier

A logo, short for logotype, is often referred to as the face of your company. Think of the times you’ve met a new person: When you see them again, it’s often the face that helps you recognise who they are. Your logo serves the same purpose; it allows a consumer to identify your company or product via the use of an emblem, wordmark, monogram, signature or pictorial.  A great logo is unique, meaningful, reproducible, and ultimately reflect the values and purpose of the company through thoughtful, deliberate design.

Most iconic logos of all time

  • Coca Cola – a classic, rarely changing word mark logo
  • Apple – an iconic pictorial
  • McDonalds – the famous golden arches
  • Adidas – an abstract stripy flower
  • Starbucks Coffee – a modern emblem

Branding: Capturing the overall emotion

Every company has human-like traits that set them apart. For example, an outdoor gear company might come across as adventurous, energetic and daring through its staff members, marketing collateral and communication platforms. An insurance company, on the other hand, would appear trustworthy, compassionate and confident.

Marty Neumeier, author of The Brand Gap, defines a brand as “a person’s gut feeling about a product, service or company” He goes on to say that “it’s not what you say it (your brand) is. It’s what they say it is”.

People connect with to different brands with different emotions, so ultimately a brand is the relationship between the audience and the business. So make sure it’s a good one.  This accumulation of “gut feelings” described by Neumeier can be based on a range of experiences an audience has had with your company, from the way a staff member communicates over the phone or via email to the user journey of your website.

It’s important to note that a designer cannot make a brand; only the audience can do this for you. However a logo and graphic designer can lay the foundation of a great brand.

Corporate identity: Your consistent visual features

Your corporate identity is the overall look and feel of your company, across all media channels. You may have just started with the logo, but once you pair it other design traits such as colour palettes, lines and imagery, you begin to create the visual identity.

The visual identity of your company must be consistent as it used in many places including the website, marketing collateral (flyers, in-store posters, TV spots), social media, product packaging and store or office décor.

A graphic designer will usually create a visual branding and style guide to ensure consistency across the entire company. The guide will include what colour schemes and codes to use, font styles for different communications, logo design guidelines and usage.

Does your company need a brand and identity refresh? Our Brisbane creative design team at iFactory can work with you to identify a brand strategy unique to your business needs. Get in contact with iFactory today. 

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