Jordan Ogren

July 7, 2022

Your logo is not your brand.

Sorry, someone had to say it. (referring to the subject line👆🏼) 

It's an easy illusion to fall for. But it's not true. 

Your brand or identity is much more expansive than your logo and colors. The way you talk, your worldview, and the stories you tell also make up your "brand."

"Organizations seeking an identity often think what they want is a logo. They fail to realize brand is more about what you say and how you say it." – Michael Bierut from How To Use Graphic Design.

Why, then, do we so quickly think brand = logos + colors?

It's a simple heuristic we use when making sense of the intangible thing called brand. We want to simplify it to understand it, so we distill it too far, losing the components that make a brand, a brand.

It's like removing enough ingredients from the cake that it no longer is a cake.

Another reason we fall for this fallacy is that we want control. Humans are inherently controlling beings. And we want to feel in control of our brand by making it about the things we own (i.e., logo + colors). But this control is illusionary.

It's impossible to control your brand completely.

It's the perception your customers and audience have of you. Sure, you can influence that, but you can never own it 100%.

So, in our failed attempt to gain control in the brand battle, we collapsed the brand's deep meaning and folded it into a neat box of logo and colors.

The answer is to define how you hope your audience perceives you and what you could say, do, or signal toward to move closer to that perception.

Those "things" do not include making your logo bigger on the ad or always using your primary colors.

Instead, it will include having a recognizable voice or a worldview that compels people to join your movement.

The truth is, it's easier to focus on the logo than do the work to build a captivating brand.

Which are you focusing on?

🧠 + ❤️ // JO