Join Justin Seeley for an in-depth discussion in this video Branding vs. identity vs. logo, part of Creating Brand Identity Assets.
- In the world of graphic design, there are lots of terms that we use on a daily basis, and three of those terms include logo, identity, and branding. And most people think of all of these sort of as the same thing, but in truth, they're actually three very separate things. So, if they're separate, what exactly is the difference between a logo versus the identity versus the branding of a company? Let's explore that for a minute. Let's first talk about the logo. The logo is the central part of any brand identity system.
The logo is a mark, a symbol, a word, anything that is instantly recognizable as a representation of a company. Think about Apple's logo, Nike's swoosh, the Coca-Cola script. All of those are instantly recognizable, and you know exactly what company they belong to. An identity system is something that builds upon the logo, and incorporates the logo into itself. The identity system could be one of many things. It could be a business card that you hand out.
It could be the header on a website. It could be the envelope that you ship a contract in. Anything that incorporates the logo, the styling, the color choices of the overall brand is part of the identity system. The brand experience is something that's a little bit more abstract, because the brand experience does incorporate the identity system and the logo, but it also takes into account the types of feelings and emotions that are evoked by the brand, whether or not it has trust, or whether or not someone likes that particular brand of soda or food or clothing.
The brand experience is something that's not really tangible, let's say. Let me show you some examples here. This is an example of a logo. This is a logo designed for the Mountain Rain design company, a fictional company that I designed, in order to present this presentation. The Mountain Rain logo in and of itself is representative of the company. It has the color choices, the typography, and also the brand mark, the little water droplet that looks like a mountain, all incorporated into it. However, this is not part of the identity system.
It doesn't actually turn into a part of the identity system until we put it onto something. So, when we actually put this logo onto these business cards, these business cards become part of the identity system of this particular company. The brand experience, like I said, is something a little bit more abstract, and for that I turn to one of the branding experts to give me a little bit more clarity on what that means. If you don't know who Seth Godin is, he's one of the foremost marketing experts in the world, and this is his quote on what a brand actually is.
Seth says that, "A brand is the set of expectations, "memories, stories and relationships that, "taken together, account for a consumer's decision "to choose one product or service over another. "If the consumer, whether it's a business, a buyer, "a voter, or a donor, doesn't pay a premium, "make a selection or spread the word, "then no brand value exists for that customer." So, basically, he's saying that the brand experience overall incorporates these two visual elements of the identity system and the logo, but it also takes into account this psychological connection that people have with it.
So, while we call this brand identity assets, in truth, there are only two parts of the whole brand experience. And while designers help craft the narrative around a brand, through the color and shape and typography and space that they use, ultimately it's the client who is responsible for the overall brand experience, and that's something nobody can really take care of except them.