Brand vs Brand Identity

I need a logo



“I need a logo.”


When a new client contacts me about a logo for their new business, I send them a brand identity packet with details about working together and pricing information.


“Is a brand identity the same thing as a logo? Are you just trying to confuse me?”


No and no.


The logo is just one piece of your brand identity.


A logo is never seen in isolation. It’s at the top of your website, stamped on your product, or lit up on your billboards. Color, type, patterns, photographs, and textures surround and support your logo. They work together to help clients and consumers know what you’re all about.


Your logo and all of the visual elements that support it: that’s your brand identity.


Here’s a great example that was featured over on underconsideration from designers Rodrigo Aguade and Manuel Astorga. They were tasked with creating an American-style brand identity with vintage and hand drawn influences… and lots of banana leaves.


Here’s the logo on it’s own.


holly burger logo



Now, here’s the logo applied to the brand identity.







Big difference, huh?


A great brand identity is so much more than a cool logo. It has a well-planned strategy and style guidelines backing it up. There’s a market analysis and there are brand questionnaires to be answered before concepts are ever sketched.


Really stellar brand identities never emerge from trends. There’s no competitive advantage in doing what everyone else is doing. Copying someone else’s success won’t bring any more value to your brand. The research and the process are what set you apart and move you forward.


To put it simply, good design adds real value to your business. A business person dresses professionally to meet with prospective clients because they want to make a good first impression. Brand identity design does the same thing for your brand.


brand vs brand identity


So what about your brand?


What’s the difference between your brand and your brand identity? Remember, your brand identity is only the visual representation of your brand.


Think about your favorite restaurant. What makes you go back time after time? Is it the atmosphere, service, consistency, quality, or years of memories? The combination of all of these things make up a brand. The brand is the client’s perceived image and emotional response toward a company.


What are people saying about your business after they leave? That’s your brand.


If you haven’t heard of Johnny Cupcakes, you  have to check out this guy and his stores. He sells t-shirts from retail locations that look like bakeries. He packages them in pastry boxes and plants vanilla air fresheners around his stores to make them smell like frosting. He sells the experience so well that people who buy his shirts aren’t just customers, they’re fans. These people travel from all over the world to camp on the street the night before a new shop opens. I’m pretty sure when people start tattooing your logo on their body, you’ve made it.



It’s impossible to build a brand people love without a brand identity. And a brand identity without a solid brand is useless.


Brand identity was my first design love. I have a solid creative process that gives awesome brands the tools and identity to thrive. If you want to learn more about my process or how we can work together drop me a line.


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