Identity-Cover

If you’ve found yourself anywhere near the Internet over the past few years you’ve inevitably been made aware of a company rebranding controversy. Everyone seems to have a strong opinion when it comes to these design critiques, and it doesn’t seem to matter whether the critics have any design background or not.

On one hand this is cool because it gets non-designers thinking about an often-misunderstood profession. On the other hand, there are some common misconceptions that have emerged since everyone became an overnight expert in good design. One of the most common things I’ve noticed is the oversimplification of the term “brand.”

Your brand is not just a logo. Let’s repeat it together once more, just for fun. YOUR BRAND IS NOT JUST A LOGO!

Your brand is your image. It’s the sum of all the elements you’ve created and it’s the way people perceive the company. It’s your personality. Yes, it does consist of a logo, but the logo isn’t everything. Here are a few of the key components of a brand:

LOGO:

Everyone knows about the logo, and it’s often considered the face of your brand. It’s a symbol that is meant to represent your company in a simple way and eventually become familiar enough that viewers recognize your brand without other visual clues. This is called brand recognition and successfully achieving it takes time.

IDENTITY:

In the design world, “identity” usually just refers to all the visual elements. A good branding project would never end with just a logo. There are many different ways to enhance a brand using graphics beyond the logo. Setting specific guides for textures, color palettes, typefaces etc. ensures your brand has a consistent and polished look no matter where it is used. These visuals are then carried throughout the rest of your marketing and advertising materials. If a person gets one of your business cards and visits your website, you want to it to be immediately obvious they are in the right place.

VOICE:

Everyone thinks of the design stuff when they think of a branding project, but another crucial part of any brand is the way words are used. Everything from the tagline to what is posted on social media needs to feel like it came from the same place. You want to be able to connect with your specific audience on an emotional level.

For instance, you wouldn’t see the same playful tone and writing style you see on the Oreo website on a real estate company’s page. Establishing the way your brand sounds is just as important as the visual stuff, because it’s how you engage with customers directly, and it’s how you motivate them to take action.

There are hundreds of little things that work together to form a good brand, and it’s important to remember that when discussing your own company. You want each component to be good on it’s own, but when they are used together, that’s when your brand becomes solid, recognizable and reliable.

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Roundpeg is an Indianapolis graphic design firm.