Looking Beyond The Logo – What Is Branding?
As a freelance designer, it’s highly likely you’ll have clients that come to you for logo design. New clients can get really excited about “branding” their business with a new logo, but some don’t realize the logo is just the first step of the branding process. It is our job as designers to educate our clients on the importance of branding and help them understand that a successful brand is much more than just a logo.
What’s the Difference Between A Logo And Branding?
A logo is a graphic mark or symbol that represents a business or organization. Branding is used to set the tone of your business and make it memorable for your audience. In order to do this, branding should consist of a variety of elements that appeal to the senses. A logo is a visual element used to appeal to your target audience’s visual memory and make your brand memorable, but sounds, smells, terminology and experience also play a role in branding. The catchy, little jingle AT&T uses at the end of every commercial is one that’s hard to forget and the smell of Subway’s fresh baked-bread is a smell we can all recognize instantaneously. We have assimilated “iPhone”, “iPad” and “iMac” into our everyday vocabulary, and even though both companies sell similar products, it’s goes without saying that shopping at Walmart is a completely different experience from shopping at Target.
Having a logo to use on branding collateral like business cards, websites, and packaging definitely contributes to your audience’s visual memory, but it can’t establish your brand on its own. So when you working with a client who “just needs a logo”, the goal is always to design a logo that will serve as a foundational element for a brand that can be recognized through a variety of senses. This is why it is helpful to know your client’s mission statement, regardless of whether your designing them an entire brand or just the logo. A designer that fully understands their client’s purpose can successfully create a logo that correctly reflects the beliefs and goals of the business.
Take a peek at the branding board for Ariana Nicole!
What Makes Branding Successful?
A successful brand is beneficial for any business, especially for businesses and organizations that are just starting out. Branding establishes the voice of a business and gives the audience an idea of what to expect, even before purchasing a product or service. It’s important to keep in mind the type of impression the business wants to make on their audience when choosing colors, fonts, images, patterns and logo variations. When a brand is successful, it is recognizable, with or without the logo, because it is consistent and memorable.
A good way to ensure you are creating successful branding is by coming up with 8-10 adjectives that describe a business’s purpose and use them as inspiration when creating the logo and other visual branding elements. Additionally, knowing the foundational background of a business such as its target audience and business goals has a great influence on the brand’s success. For example, when creating a logo it’s important to consider how the logo will be used and what type of audience will see it. Though these may seem like little, irrelevant details, each plays a part in how the logo is designed. If the client you’re working with appeals to an older audience, it’s probably best to avoid decorative, script fonts and use clear, legible fonts that are easy to read – up close and from afar.
Is Branding Really Necessary?
So we’ve covered what branding is and how to go about creating one that is successful, but why do people brand their business? Does it really make that much of a difference on how successful it is? YES! Branding establishes trust with your audience and helps distinguish your business from its competition. Customer loyalty is one of the biggest contributors to business success, and branding builds a loyalty in customers by establishing an emotional connection that keeps them returning over and over again. Branding can also be used to attract an ideal target audience. Walt Disney does a great job appealing to a younger crowd with its whimsical logotype and iconic magical kingdom. While Nike sets out to attract athletes by stamping their iconic swoosh on everything from sneakers to athletic wear. It’s not just a coincidence that companies with effective branding tend to be most successful. Forbe’s list of The World’s Most Valuable Brands shows the direct correlation between branding and a company’s success.
What are some businesses you’ve seen with great branding?