Are they the same thing? Or does branding = logo + colour palette + typeface?

Edit: Just to highlight that I asked about 'branding' - which I definitely hear used to mean solely visual elements - rather than 'brand' - which I understand to mean the overall perception of a product or company. This may be misuse of the word, though.

4 Answers 4


To me, a logo is a simple graphic 'device' which identifies a brand. A brand will only have a single logo (possibly with a small number of variants for different media or 'sub brands').

A brand to me is a much broader thing, encompassing the feel of a company from a customer's perspective. For example, a company like IBM has a brand which is very 'serious'. Their brand is embodied in everything they do: From the subdued tone of their corporate website, to the well-dressed attire of their employees to the way they answer the phone.

Someone like Apple on the other hand have a very sleek brand. This brand is embodied in the physical design of their products, the way their store fronts look, through to their extensive use of space, in printed & online materials, and even the architecture of their stores.

Ultimately, to me, the brand of a company is the set of 'cues' that the company provides that affects how their customers (and potential customers) feel about the company.

  • Just to note I edited the question slightly to highlight 'branding' rather than 'brand' - if indeed there is a difference.
    – e100
    Commented Jan 6, 2011 at 12:46

The meaning of many terms used in this field - "branding", "corporate identity", "corporate design" - varies wildly between industries and countries.

To me, "Branding" is the overall strategy of building a brand, and goes far beyond graphic design or advertising. Virtually everything a brand does - events, campaigns, the placement of products in markets, pricing - is part of the "branding". The graphic design related part of branding in my opinion is much better (and more modestly) reflected by the terms....

Corporate Design (Wikipedia definition, seems to be especially popular in Germany) or Visual Identity (Wikipedia definition)

meaning a set of visual guidelines reflecting a company's outward appearance in all media. It includes, but is not limited to

  • The Logo
  • The colour palette used
  • Fonts and their use
  • Spacing, proportion and layout guidelines

With the main goal of maintaining a consistent and recognizable appearance. I think this is what you mean when asking about the difference between a logo and a branding.

A design manual will define these guidelines, often in the form of an actual, printed manual, with positive and negative examples.

However, the use of this vocabulary will vary, and this purist view is not shared by large parts of the industry :) As you can see in the examples linked below, "brand" and "visual identity" are used synonymously. If you want to get the term right before, say, giving a presentation, ask somebody familiar with your specific field first!

Good examples of design Manuals to look at - these show well that no matter what you call it, corporate design goes far beyond the logo:


German (worth a peek even if you don't speak the language)

  • Accepted for the info on terminology and great examples.
    – e100
    Commented Jan 9, 2011 at 16:50

Branding is the process of creating an identity that is identifiable.

Logo can be part of the brand, but it is only one thing that represents it, a symbol.


I'm not an english expert so I refered to wikipedia (which is sometimes so don't take this for granted) :

Branding :

Branding may refer to: Brand, a name, logo, slogan, and/or design scheme associated with a product or service

Brand :

A brand is the identity of a specific product, service, or business. A brand can take many forms, including a name, sign, symbol, color combination or slogan.

To me, a logo is part of the brand (or branding) as are (if appropriate) the tag line, the typography and fonts, the colours used, design scheme and grids.

This list is unexhaustive.

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