Last week I got a chance to attend an event for small businesses put on by Meta (the company that owns Instagram and Facebook). I'm glad I was able to take some time off from my design projects to go get my learning on… just one of the perks of being your own boss. 😉 I was also lucky that it was within driving distance of my new place in San Antonio!
Throughout the day, there were different workshops you could attend and one of the workshops was about Marketing with Instagram. Of course, I was super interested! One of the very first things the speaker said was “Your brand is not just your logo."
I was so excited to hear this because it’s something I'm always trying to educate people about.
In fact, the entire presentation validated everything I know to be true from my own personal experience as a freelance designer, which is that most people don’t need a logo: they need a cohesive brand design that includes a logo. Your brand might START with a logo, but a logo, on its own, cannot carry the weight of everything your visual branding needs to do.
Let me break it down a little bit:
WHAT A LOGO CAN DO FOR YOUR BRAND:
✔️ Create a strong visual memory. A good logo will instantly conjure a memory of your company. The more people see your logo, the more it sticks in their brain.
✔️ Make a good first impression. A professionally designed logo shows you’re a trustworthy brand. You’re investing in your visual identity and you aren’t some fly-by-night operation.
✔️ Attract the right audience. A good logo is very strategic in communicating — without words — to your target audience. It works to signal that what you do is for them.
WHAT A LOGO CANNOT DO FOR YOUR BRAND:
✖️ Tell a story. Your logo is one part of it, but you need a full brand identity to tell the complete story. Think about the Apple logo. It doesn’t tell a story about tech, but it’s still not a bad logo.
✖️ Communicate your values. This will come across in your website copy, tagline, mission, core values, and your consistent actions. One little graphic cannot possibly do all that.
Maybe you’re reading this and wondering if you have been guilty of this. There’s no shame at all if you have only invested in a logo for your brand up until now. In fact, it might be a good thing that you now know where to focus your energy as you move forward and grow your business!
If you feel like you do have a full brand identity, it’s important to check in each year and see if that brand identity is still still working for you. You can ask yourself these three questions:
👉🏼 Is this brand identity embodying the highest vision for my business?
👉🏼 Will your brand identity be sustainable for years to come?
👉🏼 Does your brand identity position you as thought leader in your industry?
If you can’t answer “yes” to all of them, it might be time to consider working on a rebrand with a professional designer. I work with people on brand identity refreshes all the time if you have outgrown the overall design or your target audience has shifted.
Do you have questions about logo design or do you want me to take a look at your logo and share my honest thoughts? I would be happy to do that for you! Sending me a DM on Instagram is the best way to reach me these days, or you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Karla is an award-winning designer, branding expert and mentor. She has designed for brands including BRIT+CO, Discovery, HGTV, Food Network, Facebook, and more.