Is Branding Design Just About Your Logo?
Find out how your branding design differs from your logo, and which is more important for your brand’s recognition and success.
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Wondering how logo design and branding identity are different? Learn which elements of your branding apart from the logo are considered to be essential visual items, and how to use them to promote your products and services.
What is a logo?
A logo is a distinctive graphic symbol that represents a business, a commercial product, or any other public or private organization. It's one of the methods to set a company apart in a crowded environment full of graphic elements vying for the target audience's attention.
It is most often made up of a graphic element or symbol, typefaces, and colors. It's a graphic element that's part of a company's visual identity and serves as a basis for the rest of that visual system.
Of course, depending on the market, industry and needs of a given company, you can also develop many other branding assets, such as:
Source: Arek Dvornechuk
What is a branding design?
The concepts branding, visual or brand identity, and corporate identity are frequently used interchangeably in marketing. And various experts define them in different ways.
The best approach to comprehend them is to think of the brand as a combination of the corporate and visual identities, which together gives a company competitive advantages in both market perception and success.
From your brand promise to your logo and the color palette you employ in marketing, branding is how you want your customers to view you and what emotional connection they have with it.
The actions inside your business that influence both internal and external views of your brand are more focused on corporate identity.
The visual identity design or branding design, however, is all the branding assets you use in positioning your brand on the market. Your brand’s logo design, colors, fonts, backgrounds, icons, mascots, product packaging and imagery are all part of it.
The logo is just a basis
The logo is the foundation of a brand identity, and it is the first element you should create.
Its colors will serve as the foundation for the remainder of your color scheme, and from there you may choose a suitable secondary font (assuming the primary font would be used on the logo), patterns, and the remaining elements.
Creating a logo is a delicate and essential task: it must be closely connected to your brand, timeless and adaptable, and convey the message fast.
It is important to know that a logo redesign can be hurtful for the company image if it happens often, so make sure that your original logo encapsulates the story and spirit well. Small tweaks can be done every so often, but a complete redesign can have your audiences confused.
Other branding design elements
Once you establish a company and start realizing that you’ll have to have a clear marketing and promotions strategy, you’ll realize that none of this can be done without plenty of visual elements that complete your branding.
Whether it’s dealing out business cards at a conference, customizing a brand stand on an expo, picking out uniforms for employees, or choosing a theme for social media, everything is “on brand”, and part of a visual language.
Other basic elements that a branding design agency of designer should create for your company:
- Typography: Presumably, your logo will be in the primary font you use, and you should have up to two other fonts (for body text and headings). More than three different fonts can be deemed inconsistent and oversaturated.
- Colors: Once again, the colors used in the logo design will determine the rest of the colors used in your branding, as they will be taken as a base for a wider color palette.
- Symbols and imagery: Through repetitive use of images that have a symbolic meaning, you can achieve the goal of your audience easily remembering your brand and its messages. That is why you should decide on which symbols to use in your assets, and make them unified in style so as not to seem inconsistent and confusing.
- Brand marks: Brand marks are a smaller version of the logo, or a graphic symbol representing the brand. A famous example is Twitter’s bird, which is not the official logo, but it’s well known and instantly recognizable.
- Backgrounds and patterns: You can use custom backgrounds and patterns in marketing materials and campaigns, even in web and app design in some cases.
- Illustrations: Custom illustrations that are created for your brand’s purposes can enrich your visual assets, such as social media marketing graphics, content and web design too.
- Mascots: Depending on your industry, a persona or character that is the “representative” of your brand can help with recognition. Think of Colonel Sanders or Tony the Tiger, for example.
- Packaging: Packaging design is a ballpark of its own since some packaging designs are so creative that they offer a really unique brand experience. Still, branded packaging, or even just bags and labels can help your brand awareness greatly.
- Merchandise: If you have a recognizable brand, why not sell branded merchandise to your fans and customers? Of course, this is something that comes at a later stage, but many brands sell or simply hand out merchandise (such as stickers, shirts and tote bags) to promote their brand and help their identity stay recognizable.
- Print marketing materials: It might seem like a different era, but business cards, flyers, posters, stationery and other hardcopy assets are still in use.
These are just some of the key branding assets, but of course, there are many others you can use to create a beloved brand with your employees and customers.
Non-visual brand elements that build your identity and image
Of course, how a brand is perceived and how the audience feels about it isn’t only influenced by the visual design. Good branding is a well-oiled machine, and it functions only as long as all elements of it are well-designed and regularly optimized.
Here are some other things that have nothing to do with logos or visual identities, but a brand should have to improve its image:
- Brand mission and statement: Your mission and values can help you find audiences that relate to your brand, and serve as an anchor for your brand to keep close to its idea and mission when it is evolving.
- Brand voice: A tone of voice and main sales propositions can help your brand repeatedly use keywords and phrases that will resonate with the audience, as well as sound consistent and related to the visual part of the identity.
- Branding strategy: A branding strategy is a long-term vision that encompasses every branding effort, marketing strategy or visual element, which needs to correspond with each other.
- In-store (or online) experience: The experience a customer has when visiting a brick-and-mortar store or the website of an online business can hugely influence brand perception. Good words travel fast, but bad ones even faster.
- Community involvement: Does your brand care about the community it wants to impress? How can you give back to your customers and make a difference with your product or service? A socially responsible strategy or campaign can help you with recognition, but also to enforce and promote your values.
Journalist turned content writer. Based in North Macedonia, aiming to be a digital nomad. Always loved to write, and found my perfect job writing about graphic design, art and creativity. A self-proclaimed film connoisseur, cook and nerd in disguise.