What’s in a Logo?
Internally, we actually use the language “Visual Identity” to describe the logo and brand color palette. Eventually, your visual identity will also become other key aspects of your brand design, such as certain elements or strokes within your brand guidelines to supplement your logo and continue to build out your brand expression. We just said logo in the title because we thought you’d be more likely to click it. ;-) Were we right?
A lot of people equate the terms “brand” and “logo” but a “logo” is just one small (though, important) part of a brand.
The Components of a Visual Identity
A visual identity can be comprised of two different parts: a symbol and a wordmark. There are four different combinations to combine those two elements.
- Wordmarks only (just typeface, aka font, though sometimes really custom typography allows some semblance of a symbol to come through)
- Example: Harvard Business Review
- Symbol only: this is rare, because often a brand wants its name typed out next to it as well with a font. In these cases, a brand name still should have a set font that is used on the website and other brand assets when the name is typed out. But, with symbol only brands, the visual alone says it all.
- Example: Nike
- Symbol within wordmark: where the symbol fits within the lettering
- Example: Clockify
- Symbol + wordmark: this is a common and versatile approach where the visual identity has both a symbol and wordmark, and the symbol sits outside the wordmark. The elements can be used together or separately depending on usage.
- Example: National Geographic
- Note: a lot of organizations combine the 4 elements above. For example, an organization may have a symbol + wordmark as their primary logo, but then they can pull out just the symbol or just the wordmark. They may use the symbol on internal smaller assets or internal assets and then symbol + wordmark on larger and external facing assets. Another thought is brand equity in the market. So Nike can just use a symbol and everyone recognizes it, but a smaller ministry likely cannot unless they build very intentionally with their audience towards that level of brand recognition.
What to Expect from your Visual Identity
A common problem we face is clients expecting too much from their logos. That is not to say you can’t expect greatness from your logo. You can and should expect extremely high quality visual identity design that is deeply rooted in your brand DNA and conveys who you are to the people you want to reach. These things are possible!
But, do not expect your logo to communicate, for example, all seven services your company offers, or the three sub-ministries under your church, or twelve different concepts all at once. It will become unnecessarily complicated at best, and nonsensical at worst.
A Visual Identity that Connects
There is one key to a visual identity that is deeply rooted in who you are: do the hard work on the front end and actually discovering, in a single sentence, when it’s all boiled down, who is your brand and why are you here? Part of our Clarity process is actually designed to help you with this if you are stuck.
Before we embark on a visual identity development project, we start by drilling into that foundational work with you, to distill your brand DNA into a root concept. One important nuance is that this “root concept” should not yet attempt to ideate around a symbol or design yet. It is not attempting to discover what your brand should look like yet.
After that distillation work, the volume of ideation around the symbol or the style or the design may begin!
I won’t bore you with the details of our process from there … but, if your brand is currently without a visual identity, we would love to help you discover what visual identity awaits!
You can contact us here with any questions.
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MEET YOUR HOSTs
The Resonate Team
We help ministries, non profits, and for-purpose businesses cut through the noise so you can reach the right people with the right message and change the world as a result.
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