Brand or identity?

By Alex
January 23, 2023
3 min read

Something that seems to come up often in conversations is, “what's the difference between a brand and an identity?” or, “we need a new brand, can you just make us a new logo”.

I'm still shocked every time a branding request comes in and we start asking questions, only to find the usual answer is that someones looking to quickly generate greater turnover, and they feel a logo will achieve that for them.

I think it's hugely beneficial for all business owners, brand and marketing teams to know what the differences are between a brand and an identity, so that they can work more effectively with their brand design partners.

A brand

We've covered in a previous post what goes into a set of brand guidelines, and those opening pages truly are key to understanding what your brand is. Before we see anything visual, your brand starts with your businesses beliefs, motivations, aspirations and traits. Your brand influences your clients or customers perception of your business based on what they know of you.

Your brand tells us who you are and why you are here. It tells us where you want to be through your mission statement. It tells us the type of personality you have, through your traits and values. And finally, it tells us how you want to be remembere, through your big idea, your brand vision.

So in essence your brand is your personality, it's what's on the inside, it's your reason for being.

An identity

Your brand identity is the tangible part of your busines, manifested through sound and vision. It's how your look and sound to the world, it's the way your business presents itself. Much like the way you yourself look, and the clothes your wear.

Your identity is formed of many parts and consists of, your logo, marketing materials, advertising, website, social media, packaging, stationery, livery, and merchandising.

These parts of your visual identity are created from a cohesive suite of visual elements such as colour palettes, typography, photography, illustrations, iconography, user interface elements, grids, templates and tone of voice.

Your brand identity

So we usually discuss brand and identity together as one, as they are of course linked. A successful brand needs a successful identity, and similarly, a great identity will only stand the test of time with a great brand. If either of them is lacking, then they cannot be supported by the other. Great visuals or language can sometimes be used to trick or deceive prospective customers or clients, but truth is impossible to hide and will hinder potential.

Understanding the differences between brand and identity will hopefully help you work with your branding studio. Hopefully it will also give a little insight to the reasons why branding studios run discovery workshops and research sessions... We need to know all those intricacies of a business if we're to create a successful brand identity, that will actually deliver a platform for your business to grow.


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