For some people, the words ‘brand, ‘identity’ and ‘logo’ seem to be interchangeable. Although they all relate to how your company is viewed, these terms represent different parts of this.
Using my compilation of research and ‘Apple’ as an example, I wanted to see if I could find a way to clearly outline the differences.
Brand: What people say about you when you’re not in the room
A brand cannot be directly created by the company or a designer. The brand is consumer driven and represents the relationship between the consumer and company. This relationship is built up over time using promises, experiences and memories. Another way to describe a brand is a company’s ‘personality’, which is created by the perceptions of the audience. A quote from Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, which I think explains the term ‘brand’ really well is, “Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room”.
Apple’s ‘Brand’: How consumers may describe their view on Apple is with words such as:
‘Trust’, ‘Lifestyle’, ‘Simplicity’, ‘Beautiful Design’ and ‘Loyalty’.
Identity: Sensory and visual consistency
The identity of a company is its sensory devices, which the audience comes into contact with. This includes consistency with business stationery, marketing materials, emails, signage, office/shop space, uniforms, etc.
Apple’s ‘Identity’: Apple’s identity could be seen as their visual consistency with things such as the recognisable blue t-shirts worn by staff, store designs (glass, light wood, bright), and product shape and colours (curves, silver, white, black). Examples of these can be seen here (click image to view larger):
Logo: Brand and identity simplified to an identifiable mark
The logo is the identity and brand all symbolized with an identifiable mark. A logo doesn’t necessarily have to describe what a company does and tends to work best after becoming more familiar over time. For example, once a name has been used to identify someone over time, this becomes memorable even though their name doesn’t exactly describe their personality.
- Identifies company in its simplest form
Apple’s ‘Logo’: Although an apple doesn’t directly describe what the company does, it has over time become a recognisable icon for the company. The apple logo does, however, have some hidden aspects such as the ‘bite’ in the apple relating to the computer term ‘byte’. The main thing is that even though there have been slight changes, the logo has remained the same shape for nearly 40 years and it is this consistency that has created a recognisable symbol: