What’s the difference between a logo and a brand?

I get this question surprisingly more than you would think…

Forget the branding stuff… I just need a simple logo!

Why should I pay for branding? All I really need is a logo.

What’s the difference between a logo and a brand anyway?

I get that this can all be confusing, and the whole conversation surrounding brand experience, brand positioning, and brand identity can be complicated and disconcerting. But what it really comes down to is this: a logo is a very small component of an overall brand. A very, very important part, but a small part nonetheless. The term “branding” can be a very generic way to describe the look that a business gives off, including it’s logo, but branding in general is really so much more than that.

The terms “branding” and “logo” get thrown around interchangeably quite a bit, and that’s because people tend to associate the idea of a “brand” with the logo. And while it is true, that a large chunk of a brand is presented visually, there’s so much more to a brand than a graphical mark, some colors, and text. Below I’ve attempted to explain and clarify the differences between some of these terms and how a logo fits into a larger brand experience.

A brand in a simple definition is the emotions and experience that surround and define a business. A logo on the other hand, is the visual representation of your brand through one cohesive mark, symbol or typeface.

A logo is the tip of the spear when it comes to a brand. It showcases and establishes a visual identity in the minds of potential clients and customers. A logo can be as simple as a letter, a typeface, a symbol or icon, or some combination of all of them. Some of the goals of a logo should be:

  • Immediately establish the business as credible and professional
  • Present insight into the purpose of the company
  • Create confidence in the consumer
  • Develop an emotional connection between potential customers and the brand

So, when potential customers call me up and say: I need a brand or I’m in need of branding, they’re in essence asking for so much more than a logo. Really, designing a logo and visual identity are only a part of establishing a true brand. And part of that is up to the business itself.

What is Brand Identity?

Brand Identity is the collection of all elements that a company creates to portray themselves to their customers. The term “branding” itself is truly the practice of creating distinct, creative and professional brand identity to shape and impact the overall brand of a company. Some common brand tools would include:

  • The logo
  • Color Palette
  • Style Guide
  • Mission Statement
  • Copywriting
  • Customer Service
  • Photography
  • Website
  • Marketing Collateral

So, in a nutshell: a logo drives the brand identity, brand identity shapes and determines brand experience. And the brand experience is essentially the brand. That’s truly the difference between a logo and a brand.