Today we are not only going to review the big difference between a brand and a logo, but also a brief introduction to the amazing world of branding and how I see it. 

A lot of people understand a brand just as a simple logo. However, they are only scratching on the surface of it. If we take a deeper look, we’ll be able to discover a whole world behind the creation of a brand. 

The logo is just a part of the brand

In order to understand the difference between a logo and a brand, we’ll first define what each of them is:

  • A logo is a visual representation, symbolic or textual, which identifies a company. The logo is the component that represents the brand
  • A brand is every perception that people have from a company, covering all that can be perceived from it: logo, colors, smell, values, tone of voice… In essence, it’s the identity of the company.

In order to simplify the example, we’ll take the brand of a company as a reference, but any institution or product (even famous people too!) can have a brand identity. 

Soft drink cans
Jonny Caspari – Unsplash

So the logo is just the peak of the iceberg from branding. It’s only the component that we see and it represents the whole identity of a company. All too often businesses settle for just a pretty logo (usually quite literal) to represent them. They ignore the huge potential of working on a solid brand behind it.

A company is a person

Once I was told that I could consider a company as a person. A company, just like people, has its bank account, its ID number, its taxes… Equally, in branding, I like to consider companies as people, like you and like me. 

With its face and body, its principles and values, its character and ideals.

The logo is the face

Our face is what represents us in the society. When a relative or a friend looks at us, it instantly evokes them our identity (our brand). Our face itself already communicates a personality and diverse feelings to people that know us. 

This is the logo of a company.

Starbucks logo
David Hurley – Unsplash

The visual identity is the physical appearance

Going on with the metaphor, the visual identity would be the physical appearance. The way we dress could be the corporate colors and the body could be the typography. 

Our physical appearance affects how we are perceived by others, and we take care of it according to our personality. Even the tone of voice and the way we speak can tell a lot about us, as well as the companies’ do. 

And the brand is the identity

Then, the brand would be everything that can’t be seen but is transmitted. What you perceive from a company when you look at their logo, and what you perceive from a person when you look at his/her face. Our personality and our values.

A brand is much more that a logo, the same way as a person is much more than his/her physical appearance.

Coca Cola people
Coca Cola Beverages Africa – LinkedIn

Of course, as well as a person isn’t perceived the same way by everyone (and is liked by some or disliked others), we like brands depending on what type of person we are. There are more sophisticated brands, naughtier ones, more juvenile ones or more serious ones. That’s the reason why we study our target audience in branding, so we can adapt the brand personality and get the best possible acceptance. 

The ability to adapt physical appearance

We adapt our physical appearance in real life to state how we are. In order to work on a company’s brand, it’s important to analyze what image and values we want to portray so that the logo and the whole visual identity (our appearance) matches them.

When we create a brand, we have the ability to shape the values to adapt them to our audience. The final goal is to create a personality which the potential customers want to be friends with or even fans.

As well as people, logos evolve depending on trends, because times change and values as well. On the other hand, although they do also evolve, brands usually evolve more slowly, since they are built based on much more deep-rooted principles.

Apple logo history
Apple has changed the form of their logo several times, but not the essence

We can observe how it gets to the point where a brand is so well known that we completely forget what we felt in the beginning. That’s because we already know its values and the logo represents the brand, which projects its personality directly. Similarly, no matter how our parents cut their hair, in the end they’ll evoke the same feelings as always.

The designer is the image consultant 

Famous people frequently visit image consultants who give them advice on how to dress for diverse occasions. They choose colors and forms that best suit their customer’s figure, but maintains their essence at the same time.

In the same way, the mission of the graphic designer is to adapt the visual communication to the company’s values. To this end, they have to study the strategic vision of the company in order to know what they want to communicate. 

Small businesses usually ignore those issues and they need designers to guide them in order to define a proper strategy. Thus, a concept of which we build visual elements that communicate these values is built. 

In the case of established companies, their needs are slightly different and a bit more delicate. They frequently have a business and brand strategy, but they sometimes don’t feel that it connects with their audience’s perception. Therefore, they need a rebranding so that customers change their perception upon their brand, but without losing its essence.

Mercedes-Benz logo
Mercedes-Benz didn’t change their logo, but refocused their communication to become a more modern brand

In order to maintain a consistent brand throughout the whole visual communication, big multinational companies usually have a transversal department exclusively for working on these points and check that the brand is respected correctly both internally and externally. 

I hope that this post helps you to understand branding from another perspective. Also, I encourage you to comment if you have any other point of view or anything else that you wanna know!