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Logo vs. Branding — What’s the difference?

“I just need a logo, I don’t need a full branding package” is something I’m sure you’ve heard or thought of before. Or “I’m just starting out and I need something to get started” is another good one. Well I’m here to tell you thats not how it works and theres an issue with thinking like this.

The problem is that all impressions, especially first impressions are fundamental in how you relate and communicate with customers.

People these days make snap decisions consciously or unconsciously and they won’t necessarily judge you based on just your logo. With social media it will be about your photos, posts or the way you write your captions and even with your website it will be about your colours, content and layout. The logo is not always the most important part of first impressions and can often get looked over.

So what does this mean — a logo is a small, singular puzzle piece in a larger network of elements. It can’t share everything about your business, it can’t tell your customers what you stand for or sometimes may not even say what you do. A logo is a small representation of your brand expression and it should be treated as such.

Branding is everything, your logo and its variations, colours, typography, the way you speak or write, patterns, layout etc. The list is basically never ending. It is a consistent representation of who you are and what you do. Your colours mean something and spark specific emotions, your typography brings out feelings and aesthetics based on the type, the way you write gives insight into the your personality, the structure and design of a webpage flows in a way that means something to the experience.

Brand is an experience that elicits feelings and sensations to customers, but without the full package there are holes where you are unable to say…

1. Who are you?
2. What can you do to make my life easier?
3. Why should I trust you?
4. What makes you unique?

Maybe a logo can answer some of these but a brand can answer all of them.

Here are the biggest differences:

1. Adaptability
One logo doesn’t adapt to different circumstances. What happens when you have a colour change, or an image background — then you lose your colour and mood. Then what happens when the size of a vertical logo doesn’t fit into a small horizontal space — then you need a horizontal logo variation. You have your variation so that you can account for every circumstance but they are not so different that you lose uniformity. This means you will always be recognizable no matter what the medium

2. Aesthetic or Mood
Colours and fonts have the potential to completely change how you view a design. As an example look below at how the typeface and colours completely change the feeling you get from each design. One is a much more feminine or soft type and another one more modern and “technological”. When you add the colour change on top of it the similarities are almost entirely lost. They both are still the exact same sentence but can be used in such unique and polarizing circumstances.

Welcome to my website in two different fonts

3. Strategy
The strategy is the foundation for every step or action you take in creating a design. Without it your logo or design is arbitrary. You can have a logo but if it has no reason or meaning behind it, how you can you expect your potential clients to understand you and what you do if theres nothing behind it. It’s just an empty design that contains nothing. On top of that you are able to target a specific audience so you know what aesthetic or mood to choose like I mention in step 2. This puts you at an advantage because now you are acting intentionally. Like I said in the beginning — every impression is important and when you can have every impression be strategic and valued you have the best likely hood of getting new clients.

So logo vs branding is — actively trying vs passively hoping. 

Pick your brand elements with care, strategy and attention to detail and people will choose your business with the same intention in mind.

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