What’s the difference between a logo, an identity, a brand and brand design?

This is the question I am always asked a lot.

This weekend I have been writing a quote for a book being published around the subject of Brand Design and I stumbled upon this diagram this evening by Stone Soup Creative which I felt explained the first 3 things elements really well, except that today, we also need to add sensory aspects to the logo mix – sound, smell, touch…


Image Stone Soup Creative.

Being a Professor at l’Ecole de Design Nantes Atlantique in Brand Design alongside Olivier Pigasse, Product and Brand Designer, I would like to explain what Brand Design  means and how it relates back to the brand identity.

Brand Designers need to understand a company’s core values, semantic codes (in product or transport design) and what a company quintessentially stands for before they can develop a new brand identity (mix of logo and identity above).

This is then used as a base to develop new generations of products, services, spaces… and the communications thereof, in order to create a brand image in the mind of the target audience – ultimately, this is the lens through which your customers view you visually and the emotions/feelings/memories evoked when the customer thinks about your brand (the brand part above).

Once a brand is established and the customer knows what it stands for, it’s then easy to develop brand extensions – taking the brand into other product categories, as long as they are again meaningful in terms of values, usage and communication.

One project that Olivier cited recently as a good example of this was for Jack Daniels.

After their range of flavoured (infused) coffee…download

Jack Daniel’s launched their Wood Smoking Chips. A great way to reuse their barrels (transformed into chips or pellets). Smoke your meat, vegetables or whatever you want to keep and share the Jack Daniel’s taste in moments with family or friends. A very smart deployment of a brand, rich in meaning and sense for this heritage brand and a great re-use of their old barrels.


And so, you see, it all starts from having a great understanding of the company you are working for and what they want to stand for, now, and in the future. This also means that you have to understand the context in which they are operating in – their industry, competition (regionally, nationally and internationally). Their fears, their biggest problems and their biggest opportunities. Unless you understand all of this, you cannot create something that is meaningful and differentiating in the market in which they operate. You cannot create a brand strategy that is memorable and evokes strong emotions or experiences in the mind of the consumer.

All of this is being a brand designer.

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