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BRAND GUIDELINE

BRANDING, IDENTITY DESIGN, AND LOGO: WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE?

l often come across terms like branding, brand identity, logo design, corporate identity, and brand strategy in business articles. It can be confusing since these terms may describe the same thing or be used interchangeably for different concepts.

As a brand identity designer, it's important for me to clarify what I do for my clients.

BRAND

IDENTITY

LOGO

WHAT IS A BRAND?

A brand is the perception people have of a company. It's what comes to mind when someone thinks about your company – your reputation. This perception is shaped by your values, products, marketing, and customer service. It includes magazine articles about you, the ambiance of your stores, and even what people say about you in casual conversations. Your logo, website, and business cards also contribute to this perception. Essentially, your brand is the overall impression people have of your company.

WHAT IS AN IDENTITY

A brand identity consists of a company's visual and verbal elements. It’s the tangible aspect of your brand, often called corporate identity or identity system. These elements prove the company’s identity, similar to how an ID verifies a person. The components of identity design include:

  • Logo

  • Colors

  • Fonts

  • Taglines

  • Photography style

  • Illustration style

  • Patterns

  • Icons

  • Messaging

A brand style guide documents these elements, ensuring consistency across all platforms. Applications of this identity include websites, business cards, brochures, signs, packaging, and more.

WHAT IS A LOGO?

A logo is a mark that represents a company. It’s the most visible element of your brand identity and serves as a quick identifier. A logo doesn’t need to explain everything about what you do; it’s a visual trigger for the knowledge and experiences people have with your brand. For instance, the Target bullseye doesn’t detail the products they sell but immediately connects you to the brand’s identity.

WHAT DO BRAND IDENTITY DESIGNERS DO?

Brand identity designers create the elements that make up your brand. They develop a unique logo, color palette, typography, image style, tagline, voice, and tone for your company. While they won’t optimize your manufacturing processes or manage your staff, they ensure that your brand presents a consistent and appropriate image to the public. Their work helps shape and maintain the desired perception of your brand.

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