Lately I have been interested in what branding means and how it relates to identity and logo.
Many books have been written about branding and in my opinion the best way to describe it in a few words would be “the emotional perception that a company is able to transmit”.
There are many ways to deliver an emotional impact. Part of the game is for sure the color scheme, fonts choice, logo and so on…but is that really all that brand identity is?
I like how Brian Hoff defines a brand in this interview at Lucidry:
“A brand is the emotional response your company receives. The emotion behind what someone feels, sees, tastes, etc when they come across your brand. A memorable logo is just the beginning – yet an extremely important beginning – that sets the overall tone for your new or existing brand.”
A brand for sure can be noticeable at first by its logo, colors, fonts etc. but it’s primarily the services, believes and core values of the company that define a brand, every aspect of the company must live, do and be it’s own brand.
I worked at Zappos.com, so I’m pretty familiar to the this idea that the company values are his own brand in fact Zappos.com has 10 core values that guide the behavior of the company that lead the company to have a really defined brand, in fact if you mention the word “Zappos” to anyone that has been a customer would most likely say: “I love Zappos!”
So whats the rule of the designer in the branding process? A designer needs to catch the essence of the brand, the character of the company services and put them into an emotional visual approach understandable an identifiable for people.
Let’s consider, for example, Toms Shoes. The company has a strong humanistic corporate culture and is characterized by voluntarism, donations of shoes and support of good causes. People that have Toms shoes feel part of the brand, align with the corporate believes and feel part of a tribe, if you wish.
Identity as Jacob Cass say is:
The visual aspects that form part of the overall brand.” That means it’s just part of the game, the values of the company come fist, then the aesthetics that identify the brand follow into place with a good designer.
A logo is a representation of the overall brand and identity in a visual icon or typography. The logo does not need to represent what exactly a company does (consider the Apple logo for instance) but needs to plant a “feeling seed” into peoples eyes so that they might decide to explore more about the brand and it’s products.
I would graphically represent the hierarchy of brand, identity and logo as a tree.
Where the eye-catching juicy peach can be considered the logo of the tree, the crown represents the corporate identity and the brand is the solid truck and deep roots that allow everything to grow.
Please let me know any thought you might have in the comments below!