Introduction

The name of this website – and the book it’s about – is Brand Identity Essentials, but a good portion of it is dedicated to logos. Brands. Identities. Logos. What’s the difference?

The word logo is short for logotype—a graphic representation of a brand. So, essentially, a logo is a picture that represents the collection of experiences that forms a perception in the mind of those who encounter an organization.

The Brand Iceberg

Identity is often (mistakenly) used interchangeably with logo, but an organization’s identity encompasses much more than its logo. The organization’s name is equally as important as the picture used to represent it. Other elements, such as the color of a company’s mailing envelopes or the music customers hear while on hold on the telephone, are elements of the identity. Most of the logos we admire more often than not are part of a well-designed system. In such a system, the application of the logo (as well as these other elements) has been as carefully considered as the logo itself.

An exploration of identities without including logos would be like a tour of France without a stop in Paris. Including a discussion of brands and how they relate to identities is like connecting the trip to the culture of Western Europe. It puts it all in context.

It might help to think of it this way: The logo is a picture; the complementary elements and application decisions form a program; and the perception created by the picture and the program form the visual center of the brand.

The structure of the book logically flows from this evolution. We explore each “Essential” as it relates to graphic identity (in a word, logos). Then, we follow some of the logos we dissect through their applications as part of successful identity programs. Finally, we discuss the ways design (and designers) can influence customer perceptions through brand identity.

100 Principles for Designing Logos and Building Brands