Carroll Design Co.

Logo vs. Visual Branding

Your Brand Identity Is More than a Logo

by Emily Kindl, Assistant Designer & Content Creator

Take a moment to think about what makes your favorite brands or companies your favorite. Consider how you talk about them in conversation, and the specificities you make sure to mention. What is it that keeps you coming back to them? Why do you trust them and continue consuming their products, services, or messages?

What will come to mind or conversation is primarily your experience with them: how their product, services, or messages affect you and make you feel, the excellence in which they conduct their business, and the way they engage with their consumers.

Notice how logos likely aren’t the largest thing your mind considers or your speech mentions when we ponder why we like a particular brand or business. We may logically associate a brand with their logo as its central piece, but the way we think or speak about brands indicates that the logo isn’t the most important element of a brand.

Fast Company Magazine clarifies that we may identify with a brand’s logo because of our experience with them, but our experience is not based on or shaped by the logo itself. This is not to say logos are not important, but rather they serve as one functional element or piece to the purposeful whole of visual branding.

The value of visual branding to your company over operating with just a logo is critical to forming your visual brand identity—and overall forges a remarkable impression on people and creates space for your business in their world.

In essence, visual branding can consist of the coordination of a color palette, fonts and typography, illustrations, photography, videography, tone and voice, and logo design (including variations; i.e. logo suite) to best establish a cohesive brand identity. Ideally, these pieces will not only represent your company, but also embody your mission and values. Let’s talk through the benefits visual branding can provide to your business:

  1. Creates consistency and cohesion. People are drawn to consistency, whether consciously or not. WebFx notes that “90% of consumers expect to have a similar branded experience across your marketing channels.” Consistency displays a heightened level of professionalism and conveys that your business values excellence, even down to the details. Establishing consistent visual branding fosters authenticity, trust, and dependability.

  2. Helps you stay on track. Similarly to the point of consistency and cohesion, having a branding guide set in stone helps your employees stay on track and best represent your business. Additionally, because your visual branding embodies your mission and values, functioning within the brand guidelines will ensure the heart of your company remains intact in every step.

  3. Generates efficiency. Visual branding includes thoughtfully chosen elements as a guide to work within: fonts for specific use, a color palette, a logo suite to choose from, and photos/videos and illustrations. With these pieces and decisions essentially “made ahead of time,” it creates ease and saves the time and trouble of making stylistic decisions over and over again whenever your company needs new materials.

  4. Increases traction and visibility. From your business’ purpose and product to your business’ customer relations and experience, and even to your business’ visual branding…it’s your reputation that precedes you. When a company pours excellence and intention into everything they do, including and especially your visual branding—it’s evident. And people pick up on it. It’s data-proven: WebFx shares that a company’s visibility is 3.5 times higher with a consistent and professional brand presentation than those without.

Investing in thoughtful visual branding is greatly invaluable to your business and is practiced with people in mind. It truthfully enhances confidence and sureness in your brand identity, establishes a relationship and trust with your consumers, and guarantees to set you apart.

In order to execute the visuals of your business well, here are a couple best practices to keep in mind (non-exhaustive, of course):

  1. Have a variety of logos. In the case of logos for your visual branding, more is actually better. Crafting a variety of logos, or “logo suite,” expands the use of your logo across all your materials. It serves as a trademark on your website and social media content, allows for use of your logo on colored backgrounds when necessary, and can help represent different aspects of your mission and values. A single logo design is confining and will limit your use.

  2. Share your brand guide. If you use more than one company or a collection of freelancers to create graphic materials, photos/videos, or manage your website or social media, you should share your brand guide with them as a reference. It provides an assurance that all of your visuals look like they’re coming from your company with your style—rather than from several different places with a directionless style.

Your company’s visuals are the first thing a person encounters—and if done in excellence, it plays a great role in their eventual follow-through and ultimate desire to stay. It’s a personal invitation into your company’s world…and simultaneously demonstrates how you want to be a part of theirs.

And if you want people to be talking about how they experience your business, your business’ visual branding will surely create that space.

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