The Difference Between Your Company’s Logo, Identity, and Brand

So, you’ve started a small business and you are ready to brand your company.

But do you even know what branding means?
Though intertwined when brought together as a whole, there are some distinct differences between your company’s logo, identity, and brand.

However, many business owners regularly confuse their logo for their brand, which simply isn’t accurate.  And then, when they throw in the idea of identity, things get really confusing.

That’s why I am here today to set the record straight, before you make any major brand, identity, or logo design decisions.

What is a Company’s Logo?

In short, a logo is a graphic symbol that represents your company as a whole.  It typically consists of a symbol, mark, or icon that identifies your business without even having to name the company.

Logos usually:

  • Do not describe your business in any way
  • Do not sell the company to potential customers
  • Do not define what your company does or sells

However, some logos may contain your business’ name, tagline, symbolic representation, or any combination of those.  For example, Gmail has a widely recognized logo.  By seeing this logo you may identify with Gmail, but very little else.

In the end, your logo should be designed in such a way that when people see it they recognize your company.  However, there should be no further expectations attached to the logo design, as it simply serves as an alternative “name” for your business.

What is a Company’s Identity?

The next step in creating an entire brand for your company is to develop its identity.  This is done by using the logo you have created for your company, as well as consistent visual representations (such as fonts and color palettes), and applying it to many things.

These “things” then become a part of the bigger picture (and thus your company’s identity) so much so that a person will recognize your business without having to see the logo.

Here are some examples where a logo and other visual representations are used to create a business’ identity:

  • Letterhead
  • Flyers or brochures
  • Product packaging
  • Website design
  • Social Media
  • Business Cards
  • Apparel design
  • Signage

Anything visual that represents your business is what makes up your company’s identity.  For instance, Gmail’s icon is just one representation of the company’s identity:

What is Company’s Branding?

In its most basic form, a company’s branding is the overall perceived corporate image of your company.  And, by corporate image I mean anything and everything that is your business – the vision, mission, and core of what your business is and what it stands for.

In fact, your brand is going to far surpass that of a simple icon that allows people to recognize your company on a billboard or in a magazine.

Your company’s brand is not only how you define and promote your business, but also how others define and see your business. 

In all, how you and others see your company, as well as your company’s logo and identity, are going to define your brand.

Altogether, there are some key differences between your new business’ logo, identity, and brand.  And, if you want them to work well together as a whole, you must pay special attention to them as individual elements as well.