Logos And Brand Identity: Reasons Why Good Design Matters To Your Business

Indigenous Peoples Atlas of Canada design process

Indigenous Graphic Design / September 21st, 2020

At Vincent Design, we’re biased towards design. As artists and creators, we believe in good design and the power of visual storytelling. And as professional designers, we see examples every day of the impact and value of thoughtful branding.

It’s perhaps no surprise then that we’re now going to try and persuade you that if you want to increase your customer base and boost business this year, you need to be thinking about your brand. A carefully designed logo and brand identity, as well as an effective brand strategy and visual identity guidelines, are all key tools for building a memorable brand that turns heads and conveys your company’s personality, mission and the quality of your services.

And whether you’re just starting out and need a face for your new business, or you want to refresh and revitalize your brand to better reflect how your established company is growing, focusing on logo and brand design is always a winning strategy.

One of the biggest challenges for any business when it comes to branding is having a solid understanding what matters in good logo design and visual identity. Let’s be honest, the world of graphic design is somewhat of mysterious field, with one foot immersed in the creative arts, and the other firmly planted in marketing and advertising.

So what can a good design firm do for your company, cause or community? What are the main considerations to building a brand that brings people to your door? Where do you begin?

First, let’s break down the difference between a logo and your brand – while the two are interrelated, they each play their own role in your business strategy.

Branding 101

As Paul Rand once said, the graphic designer known for creating many of the world’s most recognizable corporate logos including IBM, UPS and ABC, “Design is the silent ambassador of your brand.”

Indeed, every business, organization and community needs a face. Brand identity is your visual way to interact with the world. An effective brand creates feelings and perceptions in people about your organization, specifically about your image, core values and personality, the quality of your services, your professionalism and trustworthiness. Memorable, iconic brands are about storytelling: reminding customers about a positive experience they’ve had with your company, or the promise of what your company can deliver.

For example, when new start-up business Ind.genuity needed help reaching out to their customer base, we designed a full suite of branding and marketing strategies for their print and digital advertising to introduce who they are, what they do and most importantly, why they do it.

Your logo is a part of your brand, and some (like us) would argue it’s one of the most important tools in your brand identity kit. A logo is a graphic, visual representation of your brand. It tells people about you, your company and your brand in a glance. It’s known by many other names such as mark, symbol or brand icon. It might be stylized text, or a meaningful emblem – or both. And a logo can change over time, evolving as your business grows, but always aligning with your core values and your brand. Your logo is about design, but your brand is about your relationship with your clients.

A good example from our portfolio is the logo we designed for community organization Ndinawe. Simple and distinctive, this new logo artfully represents their values and mission while also unifying their print and digital outreach platforms, making it easier for clients and families to find and recognize them.

So if you’re looking for a new or updated logo, it will be part of an overall brand identity strategy, because the two go hand-in-hand.

Building a brand

Ultimately, you want a brand that lasts, turns heads and can be applied anywhere. The process can start with designing a website, conference or event materials, or even customized templates for your newsletters, stationary or reports. Once you’ve created a strong brand identity through those types of projects, you can carry it over into other campaigns, materials and projects down the road.

Practically speaking, when you work with a graphic design firm on your brand, you will end up with a custom package of tools for your visual identity: you will have a new and carefully designed logo, fonts, colour schemes and a guide for using them all consistently, but that is just part of the service a good firm provides.

And in the case of TE Wealth, when they needed our help with new branding for their Indigenous services department, we were able to use their existing visual identity guidelines as a starting place to ensure our designs fit within the overall brand.

The real foundation of building a brand then is identifying what you deliver to your audience or customers, who you are as an organization, and the experience and memories you want people to have with your services. Your brand identity – and your logo – must reflect those things, and where and how you use your logo is a part of that strategy.

That’s why a good design firm spends a lot of time up front getting to know you and your company, your goals, and what values need to stand out. Inspiration can come from anywhere. In our experience, visiting with clients over coffee, in their offices, or meeting the people they serve, means we’ve found the right visual concept for their brand in places like a handmade quilt or a sacred traditional symbol, or sometimes by resurrecting a classic, recognizable image with a modern twist.

From there, it’s a matter of applying a keen eye for detail to a lot of time spent with the old pencil and paper.

Consistency is key

Once you have your newly designed logo and your overall brand identity, using it consistently is the next step. Repetition is key – the more people see your logo and your brand, the stronger their memory and association will be to your company.

A well-designed logo is therefore highly visible and highly versatile: it can and should be applied anywhere. Signage, digital media, advertising and promotional materials – all these things are opportunities to use your brand to engage with your customers.

And to help you, your employees, printers and partners use your logo and brand consistently, your graphic design firm will create your own Graphic Standards Manual – your go-to design playbook if you will. A good manual will help you ensure that use of your design is always professional, always uniform, and always conveying the right messages about your brand and company.

Your story, your design

You probably don’t have to think too long or too hard to come up with a list of brands you would know anywhere. McDonald’s, Nike, Apple – those iconic logos no longer even need their company name on them to be recognizable brands to their customers. And we think there are a lot of home-grown businesses that have succeeded in getting the right attention in the rights ways with good design too – the CBC, Molson’s and the Winnipeg Jets just to name a few, and of course our own clientele. We have been honoured to be the designers for many meaningful, sacred projects for our clients, including the Indigenous Peoples Atlas of Canada and its ‘fingerprint’ mosaic logo.

Ultimately, what these examples can tell us is that investing in thoughtful, professional design is a critical part of building a loyal customer base and growing your company.

So, what values, what memories and messages are you conveying with your logo design, your brand? Connect with us, and let’s get the conversation started.