What’s the Difference Between Business Brands and Logo Design

Logo design is one part of the brandWhoa, I say when a new client wants to know the difference between a brand and logo design. The question usually comes after I provide a quote on a brand book and a quote on just the logo design.

Many people who are new to the business arena don’t understand the difference, but they understand the difference in what they have to pay for the design service.

Most everyone knows what a logo is. It’s a graphic element, isn’t it? Part of the job of a logo is establishing the visual in a way that the target market identifies with what they see.

Logo design is one element of branding, albeit an important part. It’s not level with branding. That would be like comparing a orange section to the whole orange. The whole orange being the brand.

According to Wikipedia, a business brand is the “name, term, design, symbol or any other feature that identifies one seller’s goods or services as distinct from those of other sellers.” This is a good definition. Although, it’s basic.

Start by understanding what branding is not. Branding is not about selling or persuading someone to choose one product over another.

What a Brand Is

Branding is about “establishing the best choice” or solution. This can be any solution. Coca Cola’s brand focuses on being the best choice to quench thirst with a taste-good drink. The logo on the can of coke visually reminds the consumer that this is the one that satisfies thirst.

Five of the primary objectives when establishing a brand in the marketplace are:

1. Relate visually with the target market
2. Establish an instant connection with the brand
3. Cause the target market to want the brand
4. Make a believer out of the target market
5. Close the mind to any other possible choice

It takes constant effort, reach and repetition to establish a brand that instantly communicates a certain message. Once established, the brand must be maintained in order to hold the trademark’s exclusivity. These goals require a big budget.

How to Establish a Brand

A brand is a brand in name only until it’s firmly embedded in the marketplace, and that takes time, money and a strategy. You see. It’s quite a bit more involved than designing a logo, even a complex logo.

1. A brand strategy starts by writing a brand definition. What is the message? What do you want to communicate about your brand?

2. Write a tagline. Make it memorable, even meaningful, but above all, be concise. Capture the essence of the brand you want to establish.

3. Develop the graphics, including the logo design.

4. Establish a brand book. In big companies, this could be a 500-page binder. In smaller firms, it could be a binder with 25 or 30 or so pages. The brand book outlines the exact way visuals and tag lines, colors and styles, other instructions detailing how the brand’s graphics must be applied — and not applied.

5. With your look and tag line, you establish a “voice” for your brand. A voice that communicates a message. Apply this voice to everything that touches the brand. Every written communication, print media, electronic materials, sales, public relations, advertising. Include the brand’s voice when you answer the phone, send an email, on clothing and transportation.

6. Incorporate the brand’s visual identify into all materials.

7. Be diligent and consistent.

Brands are not just for products like “Apple” or “Microsoft.” Branding also works very effectively for services, stores such as Amazon or eBay, even bloggers can build their blog brand.

Naturally, marketing and public relations play big roles in establishing the business brand, but first, there is the logo design component.

Start with an amazing logo. Place it everywhere.

The Brand and Logo Design Investment

The fee for a brand versus a logo design should be obvious at this point. To create a design, various design applications, a complete branding package and branding style guide and brand book with instructions — is extremely time consuming. Time equals hours equals money.

Many branding companies charge in excess of $10,000 for their branding service. The bill could easily top $100,000 for a big brand, which likely includes focus groups, testing and more testing.

A logo design, on the other hand, can be a simple design event. A logo for a home business startup on a limited budget, for example, could run between $200 and $700. It just depends on how complex you want your design to be and how many comps and drafts you want. For most home business budgets, it seems prudent to start with an inexpensive logo design rather than forego a logo altogether.

Why do you suppose that one of the most needed identification tools is often skipped by the home business as a needless expense. In fact, that’s far from true. Logo design along with a brand strategy is one of the important first-steps that any business should have at the top of their to-do list.

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Category: Design

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Dan Marx

About the Author

Award-winning creative professional. Highly skilled at graphic design, art and photo direction, concept and copy editing, print production, quality control and cost containment. Specializes in design marketing.

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