You Might Have a Logo, But What About Your Brand?

I'm just going to say it.
A Brand is not the same thing as a Logo.

And there it is.

Instead they work together, holding hands—skipping down the sidewalk even (if that's your thing). It's just that more often than not, the Logo is gently ladled into the same Ball Jelly Jar with the Brand—One in the same. And the importance of what a Brand does gets looked over while the Logo's ego fuels up and implodes due to lack of support. Why not just have a Logo? Why does your business need a Brand? And YES. Put some jam on that toast! Yum.

A Comfortable Pairing

While your business might have a logo, does it have a brand? In order to establish this state of affairs, let's chat about what defines the two... walk with me...

  • LOGO - A recognizably amazing symbol or mark (yes it can be made up of words) that identifies your business. Simple. Easy. Elegant. Comfortable.
  • BRAND - An emotional experience felt when a client comes in contact with your business (and in some cases, just you).


Hello, Gorgeous

At the risk of being repetitive, a Logo is just for looking at. And while that sounds bland (like toast without jam) it's actually a very tricky situation. You want your Logo to be at the point where the viewer recognizes it, identifies with, and remembers it on a subconscious level... Where they don't even realize that they've seen it. Instead they are in the busy airport, walking to the gate—carry-on in one hand, looking straight ahead while talking on their smartphone... getting thirsty and turning to go back to the Starbucks they think they passed 10 minutes ago for an iced coffee. Grande, please.

Your Logo needs to be perfect. Just like you. A Logo that doesn't work is equal to feeling bad. Clunky. Boring. Difficult. Crazy-town Crazy (in a bad way). A Logo that works is a classic—you'll never have to touch it again... Unless it asks for a hug, then well... of course!

It's that easy. Logos are just that. They work really hard for the simpletons that they are, and we need them to be that way. Less is more.


The Great and Powerful Oz

Behind every great Logo stands the Brand that supports it. Building on introspective brainstorming, it answers very basic questions that define you and your business on all levels. The big points that you need to analyze are:

  • Purpose: what am I here to do?
  • Mission: why am I doing this?
  • Position: who do I hope to be?
  • Composition: how do I achieve my purpose?
  • Culture: how will I support my mission?
  • Personality: my chosen style

By researching these areas, the emotional aspects of what you and your business believes and plans to accomplish, will become an established strategy. The Brand is responsible for how the world sees you -- It gives you clout, trust and supports your winning personality. Of course, if handled improperly, this foundation can easily crack allowing your audience to form opinions that could harm perceptions and goals. This is why a balance must be achieved between your Brand and the way it is handled—All pivotal decisions must be within the range of your goals. And while thinking "outside of the box" is typically a creative must, straying too far could harm the Brand you've worked so hard to achieve.

In Ending, Let's Get Started

This marriage of Logo and Brand is essential for any business. Whether the Logo is simple typography, or a swoosh running down the road (hey, wait up!), the Logo does not stand a chance of surviving without the strong guiding support of its Brand. Its partner. Look around at the mega-stars of our culture: McDonald's, FedEx, Coca-Cola, General Electric, Target, Apple, NBC, LEGO, and the aforementioned Ball, Starbucks and Nike (to name a very few). The examples are almost endless when it comes to successful companies that stayed the course with both their Logo and Brand. While all those others... Well, now you know why you've never heard of them.

Let the facts speak for themselves, if you have a Logo but not a Brand, let's talk. I mean REALLY talk—About you and your business, future plans and where you want to be. If you don't have a Logo—PERFECT, I'll be right over. You've worked hard to get to this point and there are great things to come!

Ryan Salinetti

Know, Direct & Balance: Creating a Design that Works

This post was originally written in 2012 for Studio 30+

We live in a world driven by ceaseless development of the mass media, entertainment and consumer distractions—constant visual interruptions. Our brains multitask to the brink of exhaustion with technology that never seems to stop, barrages of daily imageries that, if we’re lucky, educate and inform for the greater good. Resonating are the winning visuals. Conveying ideas and information while creating comfort to the eye—good design is honest, long-lasting and, above all, unobtrusive. Given the amount of competition, you have less than 10 seconds to create that lasting impression—Less is more. Straightforward simplicity allows for certain designs to be a success – burned into our minds where we don’t have time to question basic aesthetics. But there are a few tricks to start a design down the right path.

Creating a strong design is rooted in research. Hints from the environment you are designing for and how it triggers responses. The community at Studio 30+ is intellectual, bold, strong while fun loving and emotional. The font is young, the ‘30’ is bold, the ‘+’ is obvious. The whitespace that is created around the letters is open and a continuous flow exists where the letters find their balance. The logo design has settled in comfortably, feeling positive – it’s working. A simple testament brought to you by descriptive characteristics.

Beyond the research, a great design should control the visual direction of its viewers. From logos to brochures to websites, etc., if the eye movement isn’t being pulled in strategically with well-placed elements, the design will ultimately fail. As nature commands, the human eye defaults to a left-to-right movement, but proper angles within typography, illustration or pictures, can create comfort for the viewer by showing the eyes where to go. Take this promotional design, for example:

The viewer is welcomed at the top left, and drawn downward. The images contain angles that lead your eyes to the center of the design, while never is there a point where you are being led out of the promo.

Another example is this brochure interior design:

This “centering” effect has been created through the use of photography angles and complementary colors, but even more effective is when photographs of people and faces come into play as in this web capture of CBS News:

The main headline image on this news portal is facing outward – therefore leading your eyes away from the content. Had the image been reversed or the page design modified to accommodate the picture, then your eyes would have found more ease in being drawn into the website.  Always point your viewers in the right direction.

(modified example)

It is very important to understand how your viewers eyes will move around the piece you are designing. As the creator, knowing how to direct visually will have the utmost influence over the functionality of your design.

Aside from the more technical aspects of design, and repeating the “less is more” theory, elegance is also an obvious key player. To quote Wikipedia:

Elegance is a synonym for beauty that has come to acquire the additional connotations of unusual effectiveness and simplicity. It is frequently used as a standard of tastefulness particularly in the areas of visual design, decoration, the sciences, and the esthetics of mathematics. Elegant things exhibit refined grace and dignified propriety.”

In the end, before releasing your visual masterpiece to the overly cluttered arena, make sure that there is visual balance. Naturally, our brains love balance. Even if we seem to live cluttered lives that can be filled with tensions—the appearance of stability is something that we recognize and crave on a subconscious level. It is this ‘visual equilibrium’ that keeps the design grounded. There are several theories and considerations when achieving of balance: Symmetrical or Formal, Asymmetrical or Informal, Rhythm, and Proportion. To read more about these principles, check out this website: .