Difference Between Branding, Identity & Logo Design

A lot of people don’t know the differences between branding, identity, and logo. Often, the three are confused, conflated, or misconstrued, usually rolled into one. Although there are many important distinctions among them, it can be quite simple to keep it in mind.

Branding

This is a personal connection, a relationship that your organization or product has with your target audience or market. A brand condenses the most important features of the existence of an entity and translates its uniqueness to consumers. Brands (and the act of helping curate a brand: branding) are for building credibility and trust in the fullness of time with its premeditated target audience. It is a relationship that lives on. In a few words, a brand is a your company’s “personality.” A brand, however, is earned, not made. It is the reward you get for building real and passionate relationships (which is the foundation for creating and delivering value in the marketplace today) with your target market over time.

Kask Creativity takes your brand very seriously. I strive to be the top brand champion your company might ever have, always making sure every decision used reflects the correct approach for how you want your target audience to perceive your organization.

Identity

Identity is a systematic package of illustrative devices that a business entity makes use of to convey information about its brand. These visual devices could be a logo, fonts or even a color system. Visual identity (or ‘visual identity system’ in full) sometimes include (though not at all times)

  • Brochures
  • Flyers or postcards
  • Website
  • Stationery (business card, envelopes, letterheads, etc.)
  • Signage (exterior and interior design)
  • Packaging
  • Customized clothing (worn by employees), etc.

So identity has to do with how your brand looks to your target audience. Being consistent also allows your target market to create or form a memory structure about who you are as well as what value you offer to them to make their lives better or happier. This is all part of the visual identity that showcases your organization to your audience.

This is really the nuts and bolts of a company’s brand— the workhorse that “show and tell” a brand. Often the front line of a company, visually designed pieces are the “leave behinds” that people picture when they think of your brand. At Kask Creativity, no identity piece is too small to get great consideration. If it’s something that touches your audience, it needs to be meticulously designed!

Logo

A logo (or logotype, mark, icon) is the visible means by which your business captures your brand’s message and communicates it to your target market. It is usually a trademark that is created using customized lettered words which form a mark for identifying a business entity. More often than not, when people usually refer to a trademark any time they mention the word ‘logo.’ Trademarks used in identifying a business enterprise could be symbols, monograms, icons, signs or badges. Logotypes are used by companies to help prospective customers to identify them readily and to communicate their origin as well as the quality of their goods to an audience. Succinctly, a logo is a feature that identifies a brand.

Kask Creativity uses logos as the “face” of your organization— the thing most remembered by a member of your target audience. Where as identity pieces are the hands and legs and inner workings, the logo is what acts as the spearhead or springboard for your brand. The Nike swoosh, the Target target, the Apple apple. They are the literal icons of each of those companies. I make sure to consider your entire approach when custom designing a logo, and no stone is left unturned when creating concepts.

Each of these—brand, identity, logo—broadcasts your message to your audience. They work together to project an organization or business entity to the public, codifying your approach to how you do business. Consistency among them is key, as your message and visual promises need to match up to what you deliver. They are essential ingredients that any business entity, whether new or existing, should strive to incorporate into the big picture of the establishment if your plan is to remain relevant in your chosen niche or industry for a long time.

Interested in refreshing your brand’s approach with a new identity system or logo? I can help! Contact me today to create something together!

Trademarks and Copyright

Dealing with the ideas of copyrights and trademarks can be confusing, especially to small businesses. I often hear, “Is my logo trademarked?” We can all get justifiably concerned that our intellectual properties—especially those that define each of us in our respective marketplaces—are possibly under fire.

Hopefully, this information will be helpful, and can help soothe your concerns. It was taken from Volunteer Legal Assistance or Artists.

What is a trademark?
A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol, design, or a combination of those things, that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods. Trademarks last as long as they are being used in commerce.

Do I have to register my trademark?
No. ™ for trademark or ℠ for service mark (the same as a trademark only it indicates a service rather than a product) lets the public know that you claim ownership of the word, phrase or design when the mark is placed next to it. Once an owner registers a trademark, the symbol ® replaces ™. Advantages to registering a trademark include: informing the public that you claim possession of the mark; creating a legal presumption that you own the mark; offering the exclusive right to use the mark nationally and internationally in connection with any goods or services listed in the registration; offering you the opportunity to bring an action in federal court concerning the mark; allowing you to obtain registration of the mark in foreign countries, giving you the ability to file with the U.S. Customs Service to prevent importation of foreign goods that infringe on the mark.

What is a copyright, and what can be copyrighted?
A copyright is a form of protection for authors of original works. A copyright gives the owner(s) the exclusive right to reproduce, adapt, distribute, perform, and display the work.

Any form of original work is copyrighted. It includes: literary works, dramatic or musical works, including any accompanying lyrics, pantomimes and choreographic works, pictorial, graphic and sculptural works, motion pictures or other audiovisual works, sound records, architectural works. The government views the categories broadly. Computer programs and compilations may often be registered as literary works. Maps and architectural plans may be registered as pictorial, graphic and sculptural works. Works that are not written, recorded, or somehow made into a physical work are not eligible for copyright protection. For example, choreography or speeches that have not been written down or recorded are not protected. Unprotected works include: titles; names; short phrases and slogans; familiar symbols or designs; fonts, letters or colors; and recipes. The government does not protect ideas, methods, procedures, systems, processes, concepts, principles, discoveries or designs under copyright. Original authorship is mandatory in order to register a work, so works that are entirely made of information that is common property, like standard calendars and rulers, are not eligible for copyright.

Do I have to register a copyright?
No. A work is protected by copyright the minute it is created. Creation involves putting the work into a physical form that someone can see or perceive through using a machine or device. Copies are objects that can be read or seen, from physical books to digital microfilm while phonorecords are recordings such as cassette tapes and CDs. Although authors don’t have to use the © symbol to secure their work it is a good idea and informs others that the work is copyrighted. Authors of visual material can use © (or the word “Copyright” or the abbreviation Copr.), the year of first publication, and the artist’s name.

What happens to design during difficult economic times?

From The Pro Designer

It is often the case that design is the last thing companies are thinking about during and economic downturn; even though this is something that could really benefit a company in the long-run.  Those companies who fail to see themselves as a brand miss a really chance to bring a lot of benefit to their company.

If a company wants to connect with an audience then it must excite and inspire them. These days the customers are part of a global market and then get their products from practically anywhere in the world. In order to add value to your product or service you must have a brand that educates, builds, drives, informs, grows, and creates demand.

If a company has a good design it can give them a strategic edge over rivals. A design can influence the value you give your customer and determine the position of your brand. It can help you to rise above the competition by adding value and weight to your brand. Design must be an important part of your business strategy no matter what the size of your company.

How does design benefit a company?

Studies have demonstrated that all the most successful companies understand the importance of good design and give it an important role in the continued growth and development of their company. These companies can see how design can benefit every aspect of their company from product design to branding. Other studies have found that as much as two-thirds of companies witnessed a direct link between their increased sales and focus on design.

During difficult economic times, design can work well to create opportunities for businesses by increasing their market share, and opening up new markets. They are able to set themselves apart from other companies and add value to their price. They can even reintroduce outdated products by repackaging them and giving them a new branding.

Developing credibility and gaining loyalty is really imported for the success of a company. It takes a long time to build these qualities but it is these that help a company make it through rough economic times.  When customers are worried about money they are less willing to take a chance and will tend to choose a reputable company that they can trust.  Large companies are able to do this by investing large amounts of money into advertising. The way the small company does this is by telling the customer the story behind their brand, and by building a strong relationship with the customer through communication.

Is your brand strong?

The unfavorable economic climate that we currently live in means that it is vital that your brand remains strong.  When a brand is weak companies will need to offer price reductions and offer promotions in order to create interest; price is the only value where they can compete.  On the other hand, a strong brand is able to weather the storm. The competition may be afraid to invest money in branding so this is a great opportunity to reinforce your brand, and increase its strength and recognition.  You should really seize this opportunity to get ahead of the competition.

The different elements that will distinguish you as a strong brand

Personality of your brand

If your brand is strong it will have its own clearly defined, unique personality. You need to decide how you want your customer to think and feel about the brand and you then need capture this. This personality will determine how your company expresses itself. Your personality will be the thing that causes people to remember your brand and it will be your means of connecting with the customer.

Creating desire for your product

Connecting with your audience is what a strong brand is all about. If you want to increase the demand for your product then you need to connect with the customer’s hopes and aspirations. The way that companies do this is through their branding.

Differentiating yourself from the competition

If your brand is strong it will stand out from the competition. You will add value to your brand if you can demonstrate what makes your product special or unique.

Authentic brands

A strong brand represents itself honestly. Your brand should never promise things that it can’t deliver and that it sounds believable. If you are honest you will gain trust from the customer.

Consistency within your brand

For your brand to be strong it needs to consistently be represented in the same manner. This means not swapping and changing styles, so that people fail to recognize your company’s personality; things like tone, typefaces, and colors. You can still be creative, but you need to do this within the company’s framework.

Repetition of the brand

Your brand should be seen constantly by any customer or potential customer.  You must continually reinforce your brand through whatever means possible using things like newsletters, brochures and questionnaires.  You need to ensure that any communication from your company to the world is branded.

What should you do next?

In order to build the strength of your brand you should use the information provided above and examine which areas you can improve upon. If your brand is strong then it will mean that you will not only compete well now, but also in the years to come. Your brand needs to transform and grow along with your company as it transforms and grows. This is something that needs to be evaluated regularly.

5 Essential Tips for Promoting Your Charity Using Social Media

As a brand professional, I find it important to approach your market in all the intelligent ways. Getting more and more traction is social media, especially Facebook and Twitter. For non-profits and charities, emotion is always key, so connecting to your audience on a more personal level is extremely important. The following article was found on Mashable and sums up a nice dip into the pool of social media. If interested in more, please comment!

Article by Josh Catone | Originally found here

For non-profit organizations and other charities, social media is potentially an incredibly powerful tool to get the word out, connect with constituents, rally support, and even raise money.

But, like for any business, social media will only pay dividends for charities if they utilize it properly. You can’t just sign up for a Twitter account, create a Facebook Fan Page and then watch the donations roll in. It unfortunately just doesn’t happen that way.

Getting the most out of social media is hard work and requires patient diligence. But the eventual rewards are potentially enormous. Here are five essential tips for charities to get the most out of social media when promoting their cause.

1. Remember: Social Media is a Conversation

No matter what social media sites or tools you utilize to promote your charity — Twitter, Facebook, Change.org, Care2, 12seconds, etc. — you won’t get very far until you realize that social media is a conversation. Whatever you’re trying to achieve, and wherever you’re trying to reach those goals, the road there is a two-way street.

You’ll get a much better return on your investment in social media if you take the time to actually engage your followers, friends, and constituents. Don’t just broadcast information, consume it as well. That means doing things like asking your followers for feedback and ideas, and involving them in the decision-making process at your charity. Engaging your social media fans and creating a more involved constituency is a long-term positive for your organization.

By creating that personal connection with your followers, you’ll be more likely to turn those followers into die-hard fans — i.e., people who will evangelize your cause, spread the word, and participate in future campaigns.

2. Be Active and Responsive

On the web, activity is paramount. No one wants to follow a dead Twitter account or inactive Facebook Fan Page, for example. In order to keep the conversation going and keep your constituents engaged (see tip #1), you have to constantly keep your social media presences up-to-date and respond to your followers.

Ideally, this means that you have the resources necessary to hire a social media or community manager whose sole job it is to think about how to keep activity levels on social media high and keep people engaged. But at the very least (and perhaps more realistically for many charities), it means creating a routine where you hit your social media accounts at least a few times each week. Set up a schedule that assures you get new blog content out a few times during the week, that you send out a handful of tweets every day, that you respond to Twitter @replies, blog comments, and Facebook messages within 24 hours, etc.

Also, pare down your social media presence to only the essential sites. It’s better to really kick butt on two or three sites than to have inactive accounts on twenty. Inactivity only hurts your brand and turns users away, so be careful not to bite off more than you can chew. Focus instead on the sites where the people you are trying to reach are the most active.

3. Be Personal and Authentic

Since social media is about conversation, you should keep in mind that most people would rather converse with a person than a faceless brand, so make sure your social media profiles have personality and authenticity. You’re a real person, so you should tweet, post, and email like one. Always interact with your followers on social networks as you. You’re representing your charity in everything you do, of course, but you’ll have more success in getting people involved if you aren’t afraid to share your personality.

Remember, you’re talking with people, not to them, so it helps if they can relate to you as a person. For charities, the social web is less about marketing and sales than it is about establishing relationships and connecting with people on a personal level.

4. Encourage Sharing

One of the great things about social media is its power to spread information quickly. By encouraging your followers and friends on social media channels to share information about your cause or calls to action, they will have a greater potential to spread virally and reach new audiences. The best way to encourage your followers to share your tweets, links, posts, and other messages, is to create an environment where sharing is valued.

That means two things: 1. consistently put out quality content, and 2. lead by example. The former point is obvious — the higher the quality of the content you share with your followers, the more likely they will be to spread it to their friends. The latter, though, is just as important. Your constituents will be far more likely to share if they can simply follow your lead. In other words, if you want your friends to share what you put out, you should share out the relevant, quality content that they publish. You should also use your social media accounts to publish or link to content from around the web in addition to your own content (e.g., share links to articles from outside sources about the topic with which your charity deals).

5. Make Social Media an Organization-wide Activity

If you really want to get the most out of social media, then you should put as much into it as you can — and that means everyone at your organization should make social media a part of their daily routine. Make social media participation an organizational policy, because if everyone at your charity is connecting with people on Twitter and Facebook, you’ll be able to engage many times as many people than if just a couple of people are tasked with using social media tools.

Of course, if you go this route, you should also strongly consider creating a social media policy to make sure everyone is on the same page. A social media policy doesn’t have to be big and complicated, it simply needs to outline your charity’s goals and expectations and how people in the organization are expected to conduct themselves when dealing with constituents over social media channels.

BONUS: Love What You Do

If you love what you do, your passion for your charity or cause will show through in your interactions on social media. People will be more apt to engage with you if they can feel the passion you have for your organization. As soon as social media becomes “just a job,” you’re in trouble. If you have fun with it, though, the results will follow.

Kask Creativity unveils new logo

Kask Creativity unveiled a new logo today to go along with its sixth anniversary.

The new logo retains the current “griffon” icon implemented a few years ago, but severely alters the wordmark portion of the logo.

A logo typically can be made up of two elements— the icon and the wordmark. Some times it’s just one or the other, but most often, especially in “Corporate America,” a company’s logo is a marriage of the two. Kask Creativity is no different.

logo

The new wordmark (the words “Kask Creativity”) has undergone a drastic change from previous incarnations. First off, color. I chose to move from the orange to the blue because, frankly, blue suits me better. Beyond that, it is more soothing, more corporate and more engaging. However, I decided to pick a blue nearer the “electric” side of things to still harness the energy and excitement that goes into what I do. A complimentary grey neutral helps make the blue pop even more.

The logo is designed to work on a dark or white background, seen below:

logocompare

The word “Kask” is in a new font style never seen before from Kask Creativity. It’s a youthful approach to the word, with all lowercase, while still retaining some unknown level of gravitas. At the same time, the closeness of the letters creates a sense of stability and thoughtfulness that goes into the identities I create and foster.

“Creativity” in the mark is there to support the word “Kask,” again redefining what it is I do— use my unique approach to design (“Kask”), supported by my “eye” and my training (“Creativity”).

Beyond that, I just wanted a change, and like the new direction. Change in design can be nice. And when your company is small, and especially when it is in the creative field, I feel it important to make slight alterations that will give new importance and new edge to your brand.

And there you have! Hope you like the new logo. What are your thoughts?

Principles of Branding

Branding is, above all and foremost, a discipline. It is a thought process, an idea, a personality. It is a concept that transcends the physical, visual and emotional.

Branding is a relationship, and a foundation stating who you are, what your business is, what you offer, and how you are and should be perceived.

When beginning, growing or modifying a brand, your goal is to increase or create conceptual ownership and mindshare. Mindshare is like owning a piece of the pie; of course, you want to have as much of the pie as you can.

It is important to recognize your mindshare as your audience, and to discover exactly to whom you are marketing. Then, with your brand strategies, you’ll want to positively increase your marketshare by increasing awareness of your brand.

How? First, keep in mind that everyone has a brand, even individuals, governments, retail stores, etc. But what makes up a brand?

There are several key components:

BRANDING COMPONENTS

IDENTITY

Comprised of your basic visual elements (such as your logo, colors, fonts, etc.) the identity is a pictorial or iconic representation of your brand. It is the vanguard of your brand, often the first thing your audience recognizes and often how they remember you. Examples are Target’s Bullseye, McDonald’s’ arch, etc.

PERSONALITY

After your initial contact visually with your audience, you begin to develop your brand personality. This is the “feel” of your organization. This is the environment in which you want your audience to participate. This is the emotional aspect of your brand that causes an experience-based relationship. One way to figure the personality of your organization’s brand is to ask, “If my company was a person, how would I describe them?”

VALUES

Once you have established your personality, you have to explore your brand values. These are stated (and sometimes unstated) distillation of how you offer your services. Think of it as a sort of mission statement for your brand.

PROMISE

It’s probably the most important component of your brand— your promise. It’s your desired intent on which you must deliver. As an example, Burger King promises you can “have it your way.” Hardee’s promises that theirs are the best burgers around. A brand promise is a guarantee of what you offer. It’s most important because you have to constantly deliver on your promise. If you do not, the rest of your brand integrity will crumble.

CONCEPT

With your brand concept, you have the boiled-down ideal of your brand. Some times, your slogan acts as your concept, some times just what the public identifies as “you.” Volvo is “safety.” Maytag is “dependable.”

PUBLIC OPINION & YOUR BRAND

The important thing is to have the public opinion of your brand to be in line with your efforts. For instance, a few years ago, Hardee’s had a poor brand image. They then introduced their Six Dollar Burger and began to positively change their image.

IMAGE & PUBLIC RELATIONS

Speaking of image, that’s a good way to think of branding— as your public image. And that’s also why in this day and age, public relations is much more important than pure advertising. There are many companies who do not advertise, but who spend great efforts on their PR. And that is key to keeping a positive image.

BRAND DIRECTION & GROWTH

Once you have all of your branding elements in place and are solidified in your brand direction, you can implement these things in your marketing and advertising, utilizing stationery, ads, brochures, radio commercials, web sites and more. And never forget that a brand must grow, change and expand, always being sure to alter your visual brand to match your goals and your environment.

Again, branding is a discipline that is all-encompassing and has to be reinforced at every moment—even down to what your employees wear to how you answer your telephone. It’s EVERYTHING that the public touches and interacts with. It is your brand. It is you.

Benefits to Hiring an Experienced Designer

  1. Time to focus on your day-to-day business, instead of managing your project and Designer. An experienced Designer works without supervision, manages the Design process, and keeps the Client updated and involved when necessary.
  2. Knowledge of what Marketing strategies will work for your business. By recommending tried-and-true Marketing strategies that have proven successful for other Clients, an experienced Designer can save you from wasting time and money on creating pieces that do not produce results.
  3. A strong strategic vision for your business. These Designers are trained to solve complex visual communication problems, and together with a Marketing Strategist, can present you with a long-term plan for marketing your business.
  4. The ability of doing more with less. Everyone is trying to get the most for their money these days. And, a Designer who has been in the industry for awhile knows the “tricks” to stretching your dollar. An experienced Designer can recommend design, web and printing methods that will save your business time and money.
  5. Creativity. Duh.
  6. Innovation. Experienced Designers keep up with the latest technology and marketing trends. That way, you can be confident your piece will not become quickly outdated and difficult to update. And, you don’t have to do any research yourself.
  7. Adaptability. Marketing goals and project requirements change. An experienced Designer expects this, will roll with the punches, and keep the project going with an enthusiastic smile.
  8. Integrity. In a recent study conducted by Graphic Design USA (Aug.12, 2008 ENewsletter), integrity ranked higher than creativity, as the single most essential quality that people seek in a Creative Leader. An experienced Designer will always have the Clients interests in the forefront of their minds.

By Danielle Mai