Company Logo or Brand Identity: Which One Is More Important?

Company Logo or Brand Identity: Which One Is More Important?

Who Needs a Great Company Logo?

Companies with a Rich History

A well-designed logo is top priority for companies with a rich history. Our article Top 10 Company Logos of the World's Richest Brands discusses several shining examples: Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Apple, Disney, and more. Their logos have taken root so deep in people’s psyche that they ensure almost 100% brand recognition all over the world.

Apple, for instance, dropped its name from the company logo and, consequently, from packaging and advertising almost immediately after its inception. Instead, the company chose to center their branding around the famous apple-shaped logo. Apple’s brand identity is very minimalistic, and the modern logo design plays a central role in their marketing strategy. It is basically their only identifier. Apple also intentionally uses plain backgrounds with a lot free space around the logo to bring it to the forefront.

B2B Companies

GE and IBM have it easy - their recognizable logos already contain the company name. They have a rich history, and they also belong to our second category companies: business-to-business (B2B). Companies that mostly deal with other businesses and do not communicate with ordinary consumers at all don’t need to pursue temporary fashion trends; instead, they emphasize their long-standing values, stability, and traditions. What a B2B company needs is either an iconic logo with a well-established presence or a quality layout. If you understand that your logo is more important to your business, then contact a professional logo design company to help you send the right message.

B2B companies can go decades before making meaningful changes to their identity. Once the logo is developed, it is destined for a long, fruitful existence. IBM is a company with gravitas, but it also moves forward and grows together with modern trends; this is reflected in its brand identity and company logo developed over 50 years ago.

Small Companies

Let’s say you are a small, niche company that can’t afford to go big on advertising and promotion. In this case, your logo should be your main means of marketing. You need a thoughtful, well-developed logo designed specifically for the communication tools at your disposal. For example, a logo made specifically for online presence can look nothing like one made for print. This is due to large differences in replication techniques on the various mediums.

Who Needs a Great Brand Identity?

Fashion Companies

Companies operating in the fashion industry or in the entertainment sector have to represent both their values ​and the current trends. These companies set the tone and invent fashion trends that get picked up by big brands before long.

Take a look at the branding of Baboon, which was developed by Sagmeister & Walsh. Their logo doesn’t really matter - it is only part of their trendy brand identity. A company with only one product might seem like a lost cause, but not if the rebranding has been placed in the safe hands of a great master. The brand design is bright, noticeable, and colorful, so the product now seems more fashionable and attractive.

Mass Market Retailers

Companies with a large customer base should also focus on branding. The best course of action is to focus on being relevant here and now. All communication should be united by one idea and understood by a wide range of people. That is why building a style for such companies is much more critical than a logo. For them, recognition of the entire style as a whole is vital.

Look how Wolff Olins rebranded the service provider company AOL. The logo itself is not much of a looker, but it illustrates a unique communication principle. What does a service with the widest possible audience need? To be liked by everyone equally. Therefore, what on the surface is a simple logo, on a deeper level is a strong and much more complex concept that can be refashioned in virtually any style.

Large Companies

This category also includes various mass events with the widest possible range of communication options. Television, the Internet, social networks, print media, spatial design, and other elements of branding must have a recognizable, uniform look. And don’t forget about creative logo design!

Take a look at this picture.

If you’re a sports fan, you already know what these pictures represent. Yes, they are the design concepts of the Olympic Games: Vancouver 2010, London 2012, Sochi 2014, and Rio 2016. The Olympic Games are broadcast around the world and encompass the biggest number of communication tools and target audiences. The work on design concepts for an event of such colossal scope begins 6-7 years before the Games begin. The designers must be able to predict the fashion of the future and take into account potential technological changes. To put things into perspective, consider this: when the London 2012 Olympic logo was being developed, the world was blissfully unaware of the existence of the iPhone. By 2012, smartphones had taken over the world and changed our lives forever.

Who Needs Both?

You probably already guessed that some companies fit both categories. For instance, fashion brands with a long, rich history, like Nike, Adidas, or Chanel, all have expensive and recognizable logos; there’s little point changing them. However, just like any other company, these brands need to speak the same language as their customers.

Check out Nike Truck + Field branding.

Now, let’s take a look at the Adidas P.O.D. System design.

These companies don’t have, or need, a defined style. Instead, they stay on top of fashion trends and appeal to the already established traditions in design. They innovate their products but can’t afford to take risks when it comes to design, so they pick time-tested techniques. Does that sound appealing to you? Keep track of trendy companies, their newest design decisions, and people’s reactions to them. Perhaps one of these moves will become mainstream tomorrow.


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