What is the difference between branding, logo design, and visual identity? This video answers those questions and explain the purpose of a logo in the greater context of a brand experience and how they work together holistically.
- [Narrator] Logo design is arguably the most well-known aspect of graphic arts. If you asked a non-designer what a graphic design is, more than likely, their response would include a reference to logo design and rightly so. Visual communication is one term used to classify what our industry does and logo design is all about communicating through an image that will represent a company, a product, a service or even an individual. But this idea of relating a visual image to a person, place or thing has been around since the dawn of time. One could easily argue that the ancient culture of Egypt in essence, branded their rulers in god-like manifestations such as the sphinx. Native cultures all around the globe have applied tattoo designs to their bodies in order to communicate positions of power within their sphere of tribal influence. Early Christians used a fish symbol to associate and fellowship with like-minded people during times of persecution. The Roman Empire stamped coinage with the emperors profile to denote the rule and ownership. And heraldry is all about branding of family with the unique code of arms that represents and distinguishes them from others. But the origin of the term branding is derived from American culture specifically, the open range cattle drives in the United States in the late 1800s. Open ranges meant cattle could sometimes wander into other herds. So to help avoid confusion ranchers design their own unique brand marks, logos that they would then sear into the hide of the cattle to claim their ownership of it and thus in the truest historical sense, branding was born. All of these historical attributes have led to our modern analogy and practice of branding. The popularized phrase brand and its association with logo design and commercial oriented art however, was originally coined by advertising legend David Ogilvy in the 1950s. But brand logos aren't anything new. There are commercial oriented brands that have been around for a very long time and predate the modern analogy. Baker's Chocolate is the oldest American brand founded in 1780 and is now owned by Kraft Heinz. Coca Cola established their famous logo type brand in 1886 and advertise their products moving forward using many of the same methodologies put forward by David Ogilvy. The term branding is thrown around a lot when discussing logo design but a logo should never be confused with the brand. A logo puts a face on a brand serving as the chief visual identifier but will never define the totality of what a company, product or service is. Take LinkedIn for example, their audience will judge them based off of their brand experience as it relates to the use of their products or services, website, print collateral, social media, marketing campaigns, customer service or their policies. Their logo represents their brand but it has almost nothing to do with shaping their brand experience. And most of these channels that communication will come after a logo is already designed. A logo exists in the midst of all of it, but it's not the brand, it just represents the company, business or service. It's part of the brand story, but it doesn't tell the full story on its own nor should it. Therefore, a logo is not a brand but a logo is most definitely the capstone in the arch of any brand. Logo design is all about developing and creating an engaging personality through visual identity. When done well, it will effectively represent and help communicate your client's brand to their audience.