Branding 101: Why there is more to branding than logo design

If you’ve been looking into logo design recently, you’ve probably heard that your brand is more than a logo. What’s the difference and why does it even matter?

We regularly have this conversation with businesses, so we’ve put together a no-fluff explanation that’s easy to follow.

Let’s start by saying that your logo is really important. It is the most recognisable part of your business and it the centrepiece of your brand (yep, branding… that elusive thing that isn’t a logo but can’t exist without a logo). Confused? We get it.

So, to make it clearer for you, here is a checklist of all the things your brand is and isn’t.

Your brand is not the stuff that happens behind closed doors, such as…

  • An untidy desk or stockroom
  • Late nights spent working
  • Conversations with the accountant

Instead, your brand is the stuff your customers can see and experience, including…

  • How you speak on your website, on the phone, and on social media
  • How you and your team present to customers and clients
  • Any documents you send to customers and suppliers
  • The backstory you share and the values you communicate
  • The way your shop, office or showroom is designed and looked after
  • How well your customers are looked after when they have a problem

All of these experiences add up to the bigger picture of how your brand is perceived. While your logo will be present during many of these interactions (in an email signature, on your website or on your uniforms), it is one part of the entire experience.

Let’s say you have a professional website but your proposals are a mess. When that happens, potential customers will start to question whether you can follow through on the information on your website.

In order to get your branding right, you need a framework to work off. This should include:

  • Design guidelines so everything from your website to stationery is consistent
  • A set of values you can refer to when making decisions about your brand
  • A clear understanding of who your ideal customer is and why your brand matters to them

Let’s recap: your logo is the most recognisable element of your brand, but there is more at play.

That is why our logo design process establishes the framework of your brand as a whole. This is where we work out your values and audience, as well as which supporting elements you need, such as photography, signagebusiness stationery and professionally written copy.

Not every business will need all these things. You may DIY some elements, and that’s where the right framework at the start will help you do this professionally – because we’ve all seen Pinterest fails memes and we don’t want that for your brand!

Here are the three stages of the branding process and why each one is important.

Peony & Silk - Before rebrand

Step 1

Develop your logo and brand guidelines

This step involves thinking what your logo will stand for. A graphic designer will chat with you about why you started your business, what is important to you, why you are different from your competitors and what kind of personality you want your business to have.

Using this information, your designer is then able to create a logo for you, as well as a set of brand guidelines.

Your brand guidelines include an overview of:

  • The brand colours and how to use them together
  • Your brand fonts and how to format different elements of text, such as headings and body copy
  • How to apply your logo so it always appears consistent

We then supply all your files via a secure online link that you can pass along to printers, signwriters and uniform manufacturers. This allows them to select the right format for their needs, without you have to stress about the different between a .jpg, .tif and .eps file.

Why this step matters…

It’s important that you invest your time into this process. Even though we take the reins creatively, you will get the best results if you reflect on what you want your business to achieve.

Before you see a graphic designer, think about where you fit in the market, the top three things you want your brand to stand for and the key messages your customers need to know about you.

The more information you can give your designer, the more impactful and authentic your brand will be. This means you will continue to love your logo as your business grows.

Peony & Silk - Branding Elements

Step 2

Apply your brand consistently 

Once you have your logo, its time ask – ‘what’s next’? There are so many small moving parts to a business. Bringing your business to life may require menus, signage, service guides, proposals, flyers, a website or social media imagery.

By having brand guidelines and values in place, you won’t need to waste time choosing which fonts look great, what colours you should be using and how to format the logo.

Your graphic designer will help you with the roll out of your branding or create templates for you in Word, Canva or Photoshop. You can use these for documents, proposals, social media tiles and other elements that need updating regularly.

Why this step matters…

Being consistent is not only professional, it’s also an important part of customer trust. If you are always changing up the colours on your website and using different fonts in your documents and social media designs, it’s hard for people to know whether they have landed on the right website, opened the right proposal or parked in front of the right store.

Just imagine if some McDonalds outlets had green arches, others had upside down yellow arches and some just had the brand name on the sign without any arches at all. It would be confusing! Your brand guidelines are designed to help you get it right by showing you what to do and what not to do with your logo, colours, and fonts.

Peony & Silk - Branding Material

Step 3

Keep your brand relevant

Growth and change is inevitable. You may branch out into new services or product lines, have a change in management or pivot to attract better-paying customers.

Whatever the case, your brand will need to grow with you. Sometimes that may entail renaming the business, other times it is a simple process of tweaking your logo and marketing materials to keep them feeling fresh and modern.

How do you know if you need to think about a refresh? Often, we meet with clients who feel that their website and brochures aren’t right but aren’t sure why. Generally, it is because their business has grown, and they need to make a few tweaks to their messaging and branding to better reflect where they’re at.

Why this step matters…

Paying attention to your brand is what will set you apart from those competitors who are a little stale.

Your brand is your first point of contact for a lot of customers, so keeping things fresh and contemporary is the fastest way to get their attention. Then you can support the impact of your logo with great messaging and service.

So, what’s in a brand? Short answer: a lot!

But don’t let that overwhelm you.

As we always say, take things at your own pace and embrace change. Launch with only the elements you need and grow from there as your time and budget permits.

In addition to logo design packages, we also offer custom branding packages that let you pick and choose which elements you need. That means you can ask us to set up templates that you can update yourself or work with us on a regular basis to produce flyers, ads and other materials you need to support your business.