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Is Your Logo Building Your Brand… or Distracting You From What Matters?

It might surprise you to know this, but one of our least favorite questions is: “Can you design a logo for my company?”

As the head of a graphic design firm that works on dozens of logos every year,  what gives? The problem isn’t with logos themselves, or the process of designing logos, but the difference between what they are and what new clients sometimes think they mean.

To see why that’s so problematic, let’s take a look at a couple of important distinctions.

Your Logo is a Visual Component of Your Brand

New clients and inexperienced marketers love logos, and devote a lot of their time to them, because they are easy to understand. A good logo is more than a symbol, it’s a representation of your brand in a nutshell.

As such, it needs to not only have the right colors and graphical elements, but also incorporate fonts, styles, and even emotional elements that stand up for your marketing message on everything from a website to a business card along with the literally dozens of identity pieces that can come between.

Your Brand is Much Bigger Than a Logo

For all the praise and importance heaped onto a logo, however, it really represents the tip of the branding iceberg – something that’s highly visible, but that can actually obscure the more weighty and important pieces below.

For example, companies like Coca-Cola, Amazon, Apple, and Starbucks all have well-known logos; however, their brands aren’t successful because of those logos. Instead, the logos themselves reinforce strong, clear impressions that have been built one interaction at a time. The logo isn’t the company; it’s a reminder of the product, the customer service, and the emotional connection that customers have with their favorite businesses.

Reducing branding to a logo is like equating a whole pizza to a slice of pepperoni. It makes for a nice instant visual, but it only tells a small part of the story. If your brand isn’t bigger than your logo, you don’t have a brand at all – you have a visual identity and a lot of wasted opportunities.

Logos Matter, But They Aren’t All That Matters

By now, it should be clear what the ultimate message is: It’s great to have a logo, and perfectly acceptable to have one designed (or redesigned) for your company. If you make that the focal point of your branding efforts, however, you’re missing the point entirely.

Logos are important, but they aren’t the only things that matter.  The power of a strong brand is much more valuable than a catchy piece of art, no matter how effective you think it is at capturing your position in the market.

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