Logo Design Northampton

Logo design, branding and corporate identity. All pretty much the same thing, right? Wrong!

I’m glad you asked. While these three essentials for any organisation are related, they are certainly not the same. On one end of the spectrum, logos identify a company while, at the other end, branding works on the unconscious mind to trigger particular associations with a company, with many marketers drawing on disciplines such as social psychology and evolutionary consumerism.

Service Image
Service Image

Let us tell you the difference between; Logo design, branding and corporate identity.

Whoa, Slow down. Let’s start with logos.

Your logo is an immediate visual representation and signifies your company or product with a symbol or icon. Logo design is usually simple and it may or may not include your company name. It doesn’t sell or elaborate the description of your company.

To be effective, a logo should be instantly recognisable and preferably, memorable. McDonald’s has the golden arches, Apple has the apple logo, Starbuck’s has their trademark symbol. On their own, they don’t tell you anything about the company but yet they are all effective in that we can immediately identify the big business names behind them.

OK, got it. But if my logo represents my company, why do I need a corporate identity?

Corporate identity is an extension of a logo. It widens your visual identity of your company. Creating a corporate identity involves drawing up a setup identity guidelines to deliver visual consistency in your company. This consistency creates a professional image and makes you immediately recognisable. Corporate identity guidelines lay out the visual devices to be used across your marketing and communications, including:

  • Stationery – business cards, envelopes, letterheads, notepads
  • Promotional materials – flyers, brochures, catalogues, t-shirts, mugs, posters
  • Digital media – website and social media
  • Signage and banners
  • Products and packaging
  • Staff uniforms
  • Interior and exterior design

Take Richard Branson’s company, Virgin, as a good example. Across all his businesses, the same shade of red and V logo is used as a symbolic corporate identity which we can immediately identify as Virgin.

Brilliant. But in that case, what is branding?

Branding builds into another, much deeper, level of engagement between a company and a consumer. Brands move beyond the visual to elicit an emotional response, often working on the subconscious mind, provoking feelings and associations which convince a consumer to buy into a product or service.

A good way of looking at branding is to consider it as the personality of a company. It’s the ethics and values which a company embodies, how you perceive it and the emotional response which it triggers. According to research, marketing uses the language and visual codes of cool, caring, reassuring, sociable, respect or status to create brand desire. Apple’s branding as an innovative and cutting-edge tech firm focuses on putting out new models for its products – if you don’t have the latest model, you don’t have the status.

Branding creates certain associations. They might be that a product/service/company is:

  • Youthful
  • Energetic
  • Responsible
  • Healthy
  • Exciting
  • Sexy
  • Competitive
  • Trustworthy
  • Fun
  • Inspiring
  • Quirky
  • Creative

Right, I’m with you now, branding communicates the core values of a company. I can see how global companies work their brands. But I’m an SME.

Do I really need a brand identity?

It doesn’t matter whether your company is global or community-based, by developing a brand which effectively communicates your ethics and values will provide instant recognition and awareness from your targeted audiences. Take the heartwarming example of Innocent Drinks, which grew from three friends selling drinks at a British music festival to a European success story, simply by focusing on communicating its core values of simplicity, creativity and responsibility.

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