I'll venture to guess that you've heard it before: "Your logo is not your brand."
So, you may or may not be happy to hear me reiterate that it's the truth! Although your logo is an undeniably important staple to your visual brand, your small business needs and deserves more than one single mark to represent it. Especially if you want to make an impact and truly stand out online and beyond.
Before I dig into why that's the case, I'd like to back up and define "brand" vs. "visual brand" because those two terms are often confused and it's important to know the difference!
...is the experience people have when they interact with your business. It's what you're known for. It's the emotional connection you make with them and the feeling they get when they have a conversation with you, visit your website, hold a business card in their hand, or receive an email from you. It's what people think of when they hear the name of your business. To quote Jeff Bezos (the CEO and founder of Amazon), "Branding is what people say about you when you are not in the room."
Your VISUAL brand...
...is the design scheme or styling you use to visually represent yourself when you communicate with your audience. It's your color palette, your photography, and yes, your logo design, as well as all other design and illustrative marks and elements you use. Some people call this a "visual identity" or "visual identity system" because it's essentially the set of tools you use to visually identify yourself out in the world.
Think of your brand as the over-arching umbrella for your business. Underneath that umbrella is your visual brand alongside your copywriting, company culture, structure of your client experience, the language you use to describe what you do, etc. You know a business has an impactful brand when their company's values and personality shine through in each of these areas, creating a cohesive message and a strong presence in the lives of their target audience.
If you want to make an impact with your brand, developing a full visual identity that reflects the depth of your business' brand and personality is a must.
A SINGLE LOGO ISN'T ENOUGH!
Now, you may be thinking, "I'm not sure I can afford a full visual brand. Won't just a logo do for now?" And I totally get that. As a small business owner myself, I completely understand feeling hesitant to invest money and time into something you're unsure of. And yes, a logo may hold you over for now.
But here's a secret... it won't hold you over forever.
When you're ready to increase your visibility and brand recognition, reach those clients / customers / members that you've been dreaming of, and grow that amazing business of yours... investing in a beautiful, professionally designed full visual identity should be in your top priorities. Here's why.
1. You will have a beautiful visual brand with intention + strategy behind it.
A professional designer won't just slap a logo on a page and say, "Does this look good?" We want to get to know you and your business, your big picture goals, your values, what success looks like to you, and all about your audience. We want to hear your story. From there, it's our job to translate that into a beautiful visual experience that connects with your target audience and helps your business flourish.
When you invest in a professionally designed visual brand, this pre-design step -- what I call the Brand Discovery + Inspiration phase -- is an invaluable part of the process. It could be in the form of a brand discovery workbook (you can download mine for free here!) and gathering visual inspiration on Pinterest, or otherwise... it depends on the designer! Regardless, it is instrumental in developing a visual brand that is intentional, strategic, and shines a light on the heart of your business.
Because that's what it's all about, isn't it? Establish your BRAND first, then build your VISUAL BRAND from there... not the other way around. Hiring a visual branding designer to collaborate with will ensure this happens.
2. You will finally have the tools you need to be consistent + cohesive in your communications.
When you work with a visual branding designer, you'll most likely be offered a branding package or branding package options. These include not only a logo design, but also accompanying logo variations (i.e. horizontal and stacked or square versions of your logo for social media), submarks and watermarks, a curated color palette and suggested fonts, and even corresponding patterns, textures, web icons, and other design elements to add depth to your visual brand. You may also receive a style guide to help you remain consistent and preserve your visual brand's integrity moving forward.
No more making a font selection on the fly or trying to quick tweak your logo so it fits into your social media profile image. All those decisions will have been made, the files will have been created, and your library of visual branding marks and elements will be there with the tools you need to represent yourself consistently and cohesively.
3. YOU WILL FEEL CONFIDENT + EXCITED ABOUT SHARING YOUR BRAND WITH THE WORLD.
Collaborating with a professional designer on a full new visual brand will revitalize your energy for your business and leave you with this overwhelming feeling of excitement. Not only will you have beautiful visuals that represent your beautiful mission, but you'll also have done a lot of business soul searching in the process, which gives you more focus and passion-filled motivation as you take your next steps.
Gone will be the days of feeling timid about putting yourself out there! Confidence will take over from here.
A VISUAL BRAND CAN CHANGE YOUR BUSINESS.
Design has the ability to connect to people, stir emotions and make people feel something... and when your visual brand can do that for you -and- your audience, the sky is the limit for your business!
But before you hire a graphic designer, I truly believe you must be ready to dive in. Here are a few additional blog posts that may help you decide if now's the right time!