Graphic Design, Logo & Branding

Can we judge a book by its cover?


(Do you know) What’s the difference between a brand, identity and logo? Is there a difference? Why is the Adobe logo red and black why do Domino’s Pizza use blue and red? Can different colours influence consumers’ emotions and perceptions of goods and services and how different shapes elicit different traits?

Over this and coming posts we will answer these questions and discussing a variety of insights into the design process, and all the elements that piece together to form a memorable and charismatic brand.

But before we delve into why the Apple logo is black, or the reasons there’s no spacing between the letters in the FedEx logo, let’s get on the same page and start with a brief overview of what we mean by brand, identity and logo.

Brand

“Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.”
– Jeff Bezos, CEO & founder Amazon

Perfectly put Jeff. A brand is your instinctive feeling about a product, service or organisation. Being a feeling, a brand is very much like, if not, a relationship.

Think about your partner, your best friend or even pet and why you love them. The chances are you’ll find it hard to pinpoint why you love them, you just do. There often won’t be a single moment when you fell in love, but consistent and valued behaviours (e.g. they make you laugh, they’re always there for you, they make you feel safe etc.) repeated over time that led to the day you realised you loved them.

The same is true of a consumer and its relationship with an organisation or product. Consistently exceeding consumers’ expectations leads to a strong brand, and loyalty to that brand. There’s a reason(s) you keep going back to your preferred supermarket or favourite café – they consistently exceed your expectation on something you value (e.g. price, customer service, product quality).

So, how do we control a brand?

Well, just like a healthy relationship, the truth and beauty of it, is you cannot control a brand. However, like a relationship, you have the ability to influence and strengthen it.

This is where identity comes in.

Identity

Thinking about your someone or something you love again, what is it that makes them, well, them?

More than likely it’s a myriad of traits, characteristics, talents, presence, behaviours, physical appearance, how they make you feel etc. all of which add to give them their own unique identity.

The same principle is true for organisations. An organisation’s identity is comprised of a number of elements including:

Name
Logo
Graphics
Product
Customer experience
Staff
Messaging
Tone
Signage
Packaging
Decor

 
These elements are often referred to as artifacts, of which a logo is one.

Logo

There are a number of different types of logos, although that number seems to vary between 4, 5 and even 7 defined logo types. For the sake of simplicity, we’ll cover three types of logos here: logomark, logotype, and combination mark.

Logomark

A logomark is an image or symbol that represents an organisation’s identity. Some of the best, and most iconic logomarks include Apple, Nike and the World Wildlife Foundation.

Apple logo
Nike logo
World Wildlife Foundation logo

Logotype

A logotype, or wordmark, is a styled name – the most famous company logotypes include Coca-Cola, eBay and FedEx:

Coca-Cola logo
eBay logo
FedEx logo

Combination mark

What happens when we combine a logotype and logomark? This is called a combination mark and can either be a combination of the stand alone logotype and logomark, such as Adobe, Domino’s and PayPal:

Adobe logo
Domino's logo
PayPal logo

Or an integrated single combination mark like Burger King and these old McDonald’s and Pizza Hut logos:

Burger King logo
Old McDonald's logo
Old Pizza Hut logo

Interestingly, Apple, Nike and the World Wildlife Foundation have become such instantly recognisable logos, that their logomarks are now used more prevalently than their original combination marks. The same is true of the Golden Arches for McDonald’s.

Whilst a logo forms just one part of a identity, it is often the most recognisable and iconic artifact. It’s difficult to imagine Nike existing without the swoosh. Conversely, for a company like 20th Century Fox its most recognisable and iconic artifact is not its logo, but its fanfare.

Artifacts combine to create an identity. An identity influences a brand.

Next time…

In future posts we’ll cover the topics covered here more deeply starting with Building a brand by building trust.

References and further reading:

Marty Newmeier – ‘The Brand Gap’

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