Monday, 10 September 2012


What's the difference between a logo, an identity and a brand?

In response to lots of fabulous online feedback, over the next few months we will be running a series of blogs to help with all things to do with 'branding'. From name generation to logo design, from knowing your target market to the 'mystery of pantone swatches', we will be looking at logo design and brand development from all angles.

Our aim?
It's simply to help you start to build an effective, solid identity for your business.
So, to kick off our focus on branding we are beginning by looking at one question that we get asked a great deal, here at Design Engine.... 'What's the difference between a logo, an identity and a brand?'. 
To help illustrate these points we've used a firm favourite of mine, the good old VW Beetle.

What is a logo?

The best way that I can describe a logo would be 'a symbol, an icon or a font based design that represents a business'. Think of it as the face of your company, much like your friends Facebook avatar, it's often how people recognise your company from the outset. A well designed logo should be easy to recognise firstly, but it should also evoke a positive feeling, reaction or memory associated with your business, product or service.
VW are known worldwide for their strikingly simple and slightly retro logo. 

What is an identity?
A business identity is all about how a business looks overall. Basically the identity is anything visual that represents a business and includes: the logo, the product, the website, stationery, colour styles, the font palette, photography style, staff uniforms, signage and advertising. 
At Design Engine, we work with a lot of businesses to develop Business Identity Guidelines that help to keep all visual aspects of the business consistent.  

What is a brand?

Now this one is slightly trickier to explain as a brand is much less tangible. But the simplest way that I can explain it is to say that your brand is 'the experience that people have when they come into contact with you or your business'.  
Quite often a brand is not something that can be designed. A brand is often created by the client with every interaction with a business, service or product. Obviously, a good logo, a professional looking identity and strong brand message can help, but ultimately, its down to how your clients 'feel' about the business, service or product in question.

The VW beetle started as an affordable mass produced car but it has grown into a modern style icon associated with fun, style and unique design. 

For me, whenever I see a VW Beetle, I think back to being 18 and driving my first car, summer time, university days, friends and fun. I liked how my Beetle made me feel when I drove it. I loved the fact it looked a little eccentric. It didn't really matter that the engine was in the boot and that it didn't go much over 60mph without something falling off. My experience of the VW Beetle brand was all positive and happy. And if the truth be known even now I still get a happy glow (and a faint smell of leaking oil and petrol fumes) whenever I see one passing by. 

We welcome any feedback on this or any other posts, so please do post comments below. 
Alternatively, if you would like to know how Design Engine can help develop your logo, identity or brand, please get in touch