June 8, 2017 Category:

Brand: Beyond the Logo

“I need a logo.” A common opening statement when I kindly get introduced to a new client who is starting a new business or an overhaul for an old, dated logo. But what they unknowingly need is someone to assist them in developing their Brand.

This conversation is to enlighten that Brand goes beyond the logo. The term Brand is often misunderstood. By understanding the brand components, we can understand how these building blocks unify and individualize your Brand. And, strategically, why defining these brand ingredients establishes the essential foundation to mobilize your service or product with distinction; setting you apart from “the other guy.”

What makes up a Brand Identity System?

Every element employed in the system should support your Brand story, your Company Essence.

Your Company Essence
At the inner nucleus is your Company Essence. This essence is defined with your company values, your credo. This intangible force is the base philosophy of your company voice where it defines your Brand position, your principles, and your personality.  Many people use a mission statement to define this, but this inner essence is much more than a mission statement. In a past DesignTalk post, Refresh Your Brand!, we speak of how this essence needs to be approached by thinking of your Brand as a live entity, and include the clearly defined perspective of why you do what you do, who you are, and who you want to be. Harnessing this company essence into visual form is how Brand is shaped.

The Logo
The mark, be it a symbol or a wordmark, is the first building block of your physical embodiment of your brand. Time spent on this tightly-packed element of your identity should not be skimped on. It is worth spending the time and budget to personify the characteristics you want your brand to embody. Once the logo is complete we move beyond the logo into developing the other brand components.

While creating the logo, many of the nuances of the brand are already being formed. For example, a typeface selected for the mark will first augment your personality, and then continue to influence typographic choices within your brand identity. Color choices within the mark will sway primary and secondary pallets. Choices of these brand elements have a domino effect, for the best of brand elements not only play well together but silently amplify each other when being employed within the brand.

Brand Building Elements
So as we go beyond the logo, we start to establish and define the other building blocks of your Brand.

1. Typography
– Typeface(s)
– Format
– Grid

2. Visual Components
– Color: primary, secondary, and accent palettes
– Images: photography, illustration, icons
– Texture

3. Language
– Editorial Style
– Slogan
– Voice: casual or formal

Expression: Deployment of the Brand Elements
How we then deploy these brand elements further defines your company essence and reflects your company values.

Some examples:
– Is your packaging a highly recycled sustainable material option, or is it printed on virgin paper with foil emboss?

– Are your visuals made up of photography or illustration?

– Is your brand language “casual” or “formal” to attract and relate to a certain audience?

No answers to the examples above are right or wrong, but the actions chosen in the brand implementation attract different consumers with a different set of values. By employing Brand Values that match your Company Essence, you will find that product positioning for your target audience will come with greater ease.

Consistent, repetitive use of brand communication is key. At no time does Cross Design work on a single project in isolation, but striving for all elements of the brand to become a chorus ensemble, singing your essence to set you apart from “the other guy.”