The Difference Between "Just a Logo" & a Full Brand Suite

 

AKA BRANDING

I see it...

Every. Dang. Day. 

I, like many others, am in HEAPS of Facebook groups for collaboration, networking, and business prospecting. Many of my clients have come via Facebook groups, they are a wonderful tool. Something I see every single day in these groups is a lack of education on this thing called "branding." 

Here's the deal ya'll... BRANDING is so much more than JUST A LOGO. 

Your logo is important, of course. But your logo is just a small piece of your branding. 

Think about Nike... You would recognize that something is from the Nike brand in any of these situations:

 
Nike Type Logo
Nike Just Do It
Nike Swoosh
Nike Dri-Fit
 

I think we can agree these are all highly recognizable by just about anyone worldwide... but which one is their LOGO? All of them? No. The Nike Logo as we know it today is just the "Swoosh"... the "Just Do It" slogan can be added to it, as can the Nike name, both seen in the same font. You have seen this logo used in many different colors, with the most iconic being the bright orange, although black on white, and the reverse, seems to be the favorite/classic choice.

Are we following now?

A full brand suite will give you and your business CHOICES, now and later, room to grow. You must think about your business in the long run, so that you can keep a consistent brand identity throughout any growth phases. Nike has slightly changed since 1971, but it hasn't changed so much that we wouldn't recognize the brand it was then. 

When shopping around for a designer to create a logo, you will receive a range of quotes, package sizes, etc. You can even get a logo for $20 on sites like Fiverr [cringe], but what about after that?

I recently took on a project, where a client had a "brand style board" and a range of professional photos, and thus asked me to create a PDF for their brand. I took that style board, with the typography names and color codes, as well as the images shared along with it all, and got to work. Come to find out, the client was no longer using one of the colors on the board... and had slightly changed the vibe of the business from what was represented there. Why? Because the business outgrew it. It wasn't consistent, at all. So even though what I produced was "on brand" it didn't work for the current brand. It seems this client wasn't satisfied with the branding package she received, but probably assumed she could just pick what worked and roll with it. Sure, that is possible, but it definitely made my job as an outsider a bit confusing! 

So, now hopefully we understand the difference, but what about all these words that we don't know the meaning of? I've got you.

Main (Primary) Logo:

We all know what this one is! This is definitely important, don't get me wrong... but let's check out the back-up singers of the band.

 
 

This is a Primary Logo for a brand I designed.

Primary Logo
 
 

Alternate Logo:

Think about your Facebook cover photos, invoice headers, social media posts. etc. Are they always the same shape and size? Do you always want your logo to be all *BAM* or maybe a bit more subtle... The alternate logo can simply be a color variation, a rearranged shape, a logo with a tagline, or without one instead. The alternate logo gives you options. It's still recognizably part of your branding, but it gives you a range to work with. Going back to the Nike example, each of those items would be considered "alternates" to the Swoosh logo. 

 
 
Alternate Logo

This is the alternate logo for the same brand. Similar, but different.

 
 

Favicon:

What? :) The Favicon is the name for the little tiny icon that is on the tab you have open in your browser window. I'm going to bet you didn't even think about that one! You can see mine is a little coffee mug! In most cases, you can't simply use your logo because the size is so small, it wouldn't be readable. It needs to be clear enough to be recognized and relate to your brand, without being "too much"... if you don't upload one, chances are you end up with a grey cube, ew. 

 
 

This is the Favicon for this brand.

Favicon
 
 

Submark:

The submark and Favicon can often be the same thing. If you have a really intricate brand, there's definitely the possibility that you have one of each. This can be used on images you share as a sort of watermark if needed, or anywhere else that a smaller logo would work better. 

 
 
Submark

We chose this as the submark for this brand, because it can be used as a signature in emails or on sales pages, without repeating the logo over and over again.

 
 

Graphic Elements + Textures:

These are great options for use around your website, on social media, and in email templates. They are also useful if you have packaging of any kind. Depending on your brand, it could simply be a repeating pattern of one of your logo elements, or something more intricate. Graphic Elements will include anything you may use on your website, such as custom buttons or icons representing your services/products. 

 
 

These are a few of the textures that go along with this brand. To get the look we wanted, we actually purchased a floral watercolor pack on Creative Market (the proper license for our purposes). Some designers have the means to do this themselves, but that often comes with an added price tag - as you can tell it is very intricate! Going to Creative Market is a great option, and you're still supporting another creative.

Textures
 
 

Fonts: 

Ahhh typography. I could spend literal hours looking at font combos for clients, it's like a black hole. Different fonts give off different vibes. Luxe, grunge, playful, classic, corporate.. the options are endless. Generally, you will have 1-2 fonts, and occasionally a third. You don't want to use too many fonts in your branding, because it will begin to look messy and distracting. As a general rule in my own branding projects, I choose one "decorative" font and one for general use such as website copy. I tend to prefer fonts that are "Sans Serif" meaning they don't have the "tails" on each letter. That said, some brands need that more classic look. Decorative fonts should be used sparingly, oftentimes in the logo, and one header option. It's important when choosing a decorative font that you check its readability, not just for your business name. It is possible that the letter combinations of your name look great, but when you use that font in a heading it is hardly readable at all! You can get away with two fonts, and turn it into three by simply using the "All Caps" option.

 
 
Typography

With this brand, two fonts was plenty, as the Quicksand font gave two different looks when using all caps versus lowercase.

 
 

Colors:

It is important when choosing colors for your brand that you -

1. Don't choose too many, but also don't choose too few. Too many colors can seem entirely too busy. It is fine to use shades of colors to get a bit more variation in your options. If you have too few color options, you run into issues when designing collateral items. Imagine if your colors are red, yellow, and green. Together, they are bright and cheery, but if you JUST use red and green on a social media post, people may think you're posting about Christmas! 

2. Don't just choose colors that YOU like. You need to think about brand psychology a bit here. What does your brand mean? Who is your ideal client? What do they like? What do you want your brand to make people FEEL? Color psychology can be super interesting, and extremely helpful when selecting colors. 

 
 

The colors here are a mix of Bold, Luxe, and Feminine. This is the vibe we were aiming for in the whole brand. With the use of flowers, contrasting with the boho elements and bold colors. The brand evokes Feminine Strength. 

Color Palette
 
 

Okay, so you all are pros now, right? I'm going to throw you for a loop... 

The elements I have shared here are part of your VISUAL Identity. Your BRAND Identity is the feeling, emotions, and impression all of these visual elements evoke in your audience. WOAH!

If you're completely blown away and intrigued by all of this, I suggest the book "Brand Against the Machine" (I am not affiliated, I just heard him speak at my University and this book has stuck with me since!)

Do you have any more questions about your branding I can answer? Feel free to drop a comment, or shoot me an email/contact form, happy to chat!

 
 
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