You might already know the difference between a logo and a brand. You might also be surprised at how many of our clients and potential clients don’t.
That’s why, at least once a week, a business will tell us, “We need to design a brand,” or just use the two terms interchangeably.
Your business might truly need a brand. But as talented as we are at Chalkbox, we can’t give you one — and neither can any other graphic designer.
We can design a logo for you. We can even help develop your brand identity. (That’s all of the visual pieces that reinforce your brand.) But your brand itself? That’s up to you.
Why should you care about the difference? Because both your logo and your brand play a very big role in the success of your business.
What is a logo?
Simply put, a logo is a mark or an icon that identifies your business visually. Some examples of iconic logo design are Apple, Nike and Volkswagen. They’re so iconic we don’t even have to show images of them here.
A good logo is important — the best ones are easy to recognize and tie in naturally to your company name or purpose. (They make for good business card design, too.) Think of Apple’s apple, or Volkswagen’s “VW.” But even a solid logo doesn’t guarantee success; the quality of a logo simply implies the quality of the products or services offered by your company. Enron’s “E” logo was fairly well-regarded, and we all know how that whole thing turned out.
That being said, a bad logo, or even one just not quite as good as your competitors’ logos, can work against your company without you even realizing it. People aren’t going to get in touch to say they’re turned off by your logo, after all. They’re just going to ignore you.
A brand, though, is a little trickier than a logo — and it’s a lot harder to build a good one. Your brand is about the promise your business makes to customers (and potential customers), and the expectations they have. It’s about how people perceive your business, the feeling they have when they use your service, buy your product or even just hear your name.
Just like the old saying about reputation, a brand can take years to build but mere moments to destroy. To use an example from earlier, Volkswagen had a very strong brand for a long time, one that created a lot of goodwill among car owners and even non-owners. Then, the company was caught systematically cheating on emissions tests, causing widespread outrage (and legal issues to boot). The brand hasn’t been “destroyed,” so to speak, but it took an immediate and significant hit. When late-night TV hosts are joking about your company’s scandal, it’s probably going to impact your image among consumers.
Here’s an example on the brighter side: Have you ever heard the story about a customer who went to Nordstrom looking to return a used tire? Nordstrom doesn’t sell tires, of course. But the company is known for its insanely generous return policy, and according to lore, the store took the tire back. (No word on if the guy used his newfound money on a nice pair of shoes.)
Now, whether you believe the story or not, the simple fact that it’s been told for years is a testament to the strength of the Nordstrom brand — what people expect from the company, and how they feel about it.
How do logos and brands work together?
A well-designed, professional logo should reinforce a company’s brand. That’s why we learn about your business, your goals, the customers you have and the customers you want to have before we even start developing your logo.
Just as your brand is more than your logo, your logo is more than just artwork or a wordmark. Both are key to your company’s larger story — and at Chalkbox, we can help you tell it effectively.