You often hear the phrase ‘branding is more than just your logo’. But frustratingly, there seems to be a lack of clear information showing exactly what branding is.
To understand branding, we first need to understand what brands are.
Brands are amorphous. They exist purely in the minds of your customers and your potential customers, whether they are your severest critics or your biggest fans. Your brand is what they think of you.
We can liken brands to people. We all form opinions about the people we meet, and we do it at incredible speed. Occasionally, for whatever reason, we end up with a negative impression of a person. That can be unfortunate, particularly if we share our thoughts with other people. Brands, like people, have reputations that they want to protect.
And we can continue the person analogy. The way someone presents themselves to the world achieves two things: it broadcasts who they are and what they stand for, influencing what others think of them. That is branding.
Essentially, branding is everything you do that might affect or influence a customer’s or potential customer’s opinion of your business.
Most new businesses establish basic visual identities: often a logo and possibly a typeface and some colours. But the segment of the model labelled ‘logo’ is just a fragment of the whole – albeit an important one! And there is a huge jump from having a logo to considering almost every aspect of your business as a potential form of branding.
All of this raises the question: should you allocate more time and money to broader branding activities?
I set out to develop this model to demonstrate the breadth of activities that fall under the banner of ‘branding’. There is a staggering breadth of scope, but space constraints mean that the model is by no means exhaustive.
A large portion of branding falls well outside the remit of a typographic designer, and it simply would not have been possible to complete this without the expert input of tone of voice expert, Barnaby Benson and brand consultant, Cara Bendon.
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Hello! I’m Sarah, an independent typographic designer, helping businesses to communicate their unique selling points through printed marketing and communications.
I’ve been sharing my knowledge about design, typography, marketing, branding and printing since 2014. I hope you enjoy reading my blog.