I’ll be the first to agree. The terminology can often be confusing.
Depending on where you look, terms like “branding”, “corporate identity” and “logo” can be used to describe very similar things. As a potential partner in the growth of your business, I’d love to clarify things so we’re speaking the same language.
First off, What’s A “Brand”?
In short, your brand is the reputation of your company. It’s the perception people have when they think of you. It’s formed over time by how you answer the phone, how your store smells, what someone told you about the company and (of course), it’s also how you look, including your logo, website, business cards, brochures, packaging and more. It’s everything people encounter when they interact with you. This is your brand.
And an “Identity”?
Your “identity” (aka. Brand Identity, Corporate Identity or Identity System) is a subset of your brand. Your identity identifies you, and not someone else, and it includes all the tangible elements you see when a company communicates with you.
Identities include logos, corporate colours and fonts, taglines, illustrative styles, patterns, icons and messaging. Typically, an identity project will include a style guide that records all the specific items that make up your identity as well as directions for its proper application on stationery, packaging, signage, brochures, and more, depending on the nature of the client.
What’s a “Logo” then?
Your logo is the most recognized part of your identity. It’s a symbol that stands in to represent your company like a tag. It acts as a “visual trigger” for everything you’ve learned about a company up until then. It conveys feelings and attitudes appropriate to the company but not everything the company does. Nike’s logo, for example, doesn’t feature a running shoe.