Why your brand is so much more than a logo

How to ensure your brand identity stands the test of time

Authenticity, trust, character and great relationships. Four things that every good brand seeks to build with its customers. Yes, your company’s logo and aesthetic are important visual markers, but a brand is so much more than these alone. So how to ensure your logo is driven by your story?

By drawing the bigger picture

Raise your hand if you ever practised a number of possible signatures in a notebook. Yep! Us, too. Like most of our personal signatures, company logos tend to evolve from a doodle. When we think of iconic brands, we picture the result of a well-vetted sketch: a bitten apple, a signature swoosh, the golden arches.

What all of these logos share is, well, their relative unremarkableness. Don’t get us wrong, they’re brilliant logos! But their success relies on the strength of the brands they represent, and to really understand this, we must dive deeper. Let’s jump in.

Sans serif is nothing sans meaning

As the stamp of your brand, logo is a big opportunity to honour your brand’s story. A few pointers to help you design a logo that inspires your audience to listen up…

Logo type: Your logo might spell out your company name, represent it by acronym or symbol only, or combine text and graphics. We don’t need the word Starbucks to know where the coffee cup featuring a white siren on a green circle comes from. It just calls to us. A bit like the mystical creature itself. Your logo can say who you are, as Bulldog Skincare does with its text-illustration logo. Or it can say what you do, like the little blue bird does for Twitter.

Font: If a strong brand needs a recognisable message (it does!), then it also needs to say it in a recognisable way. Consider your logo font the visual representation of your tone of voice, whether you’re a cursive storytelling brand, a straight-talking sans serif brand or whether zealous and oversized is your signature style. Our excitement nearly always matches Tony’s Chocolonely’s when we spot the super-sized text on its bars.

Colours: Does an assertive Coca-Cola red serve your brand, or would a cheery Lipton yellow reflect a more comforting connection with your customers? Research colour psychology to make sure your logo’s colour palette inspires the same kinds of feelings you strive to deliver with your products or services.

How strong brands bring logos to life

To create a logo, you need a solid brand narrative. But where does this narrative come from? It is the underlying force, or purpose, that drives the cover design, along with authentic content, consistent actions, genuine company culture and valued customer relationships. Your brand is all that you are, and everything you say and do, which means it grows stronger (or weaker) all the time. Like a good book, the cover (logo) may draw you in, but the way you fill the pages is what really defines your story.

Consider the theory of neuroplasticity (hear us out!). It’s the science of making a single thought or action easier through simple repetition of that thought or action. It’s a powerful way to influence your own brain by conveying the same story again and again. You can also employ that power over your customers when you consistently speak and act in alignment with your brand’s mission. Good branding and psychological influence go hand in hand, and you’re already mastering the art of it in the way you show up for your brand every single day.

Tackling change, consistently

The world doesn’t sit still and nor should your brand. But how do you embrace change if consistency is so crucial to your brand recognition? By consistently delivering on your brand promise. Apple does this by continually delivering minimalist design and user-intuitive tech – plus a ‘genius bar’ of customer service execs to correct any wayward experiences. We keep taking a bite from the apple, because we know how the apple tastes.

As your company and its offering expands, continue to revisit the things you swore that you would never change. Your brand’s promise, or mission statement, should be a constant that helps you decide when a change adds or detracts from that promise. Your commitment to this is the equivalent of your brand’s signature, and it should become as natural as your own default scribble when you sign on the dotted line.

Time for a check-up?