Your Brand is a Home
Something I’ve noticed in my experience working with clients over the years is that many are familiar with logos, but not so much brands or brand identities. But even as logos are concerned, many want one without knowing the real purpose behind them. The logos desired are not to meet a specific need but rather to look cool and fit in with trendy styles of the day. This is where an experienced designer has difficulty expressing ideas and meeting that need. And until today, I haven’t had a simple explanation of brands and logos to give my clients newly aboard the logo-motive. So, here it goes.

A logo is a graphic mark, emblem, or symbol commonly used by commercial enterprises, organizations and even individuals to aid and promote instant public recognition. (Wikipedia)
A brand is a set of marketing and communication methods that help to distinguish a company from competitors and create a lasting impression in the minds of customers. (Wikipedia)

A brand identity is the overall look of its communications. Effective visual brand identity is achieved by the consistent use of particular visual elements to create distinction, such as specific fonts, colors, and graphic elements. At the core of every brand identity is a brand mark, or logo. (Wikipedia)

What a brand identity should really do is establish a comprehensive environment where your logo can feel at home, your clients can feel assured and confident in your work or product, and where potential customers can see where their story fits with your brand. The brand identity is the packaging for your message and your work.
I can see the brand working like a home. Your home is “where the heart is”- it’s where you are raised, where you are comfortable enough to try new things, and where your foundation is established. Your personality develops at home. You learn what you should say and not say, what to do and not do, and how to treat others. Your value system is instilled at home. 
Just like your home, there’s a distinct style, voice, comfort and mood your brand will have. Some homes have many rooms, some homes have few. These rooms are extensions of the same home. They may be painted a different color or the layout may look different, but they all reflect the intrinsic value system of the home. And just like you live in your home, your logo lives within the brand. It influences all that lives in the brand: the “decor”, the “language”, the “mood”, etc. The colors you choose for your brand identity should speak something about your brand’s personality. If your brand identity requires photographs, you choose photographs that reflect the personality of your brand. If someone brought you a large 16th century painting and asked you to hang it on your living room wall, you would first determine if that painting would match the decor of your home. And most of the time, it will not. Same goes with brands and your brand identity. The brand identity is that visual communication from you to your client/ customer. It expresses and frames your personality in the context of your value system. It must be consistent with all other communications. Not all homes can display a Renaissance painting effortlessly. And your brand cannot display every trend, every cool font, every word that comes out of your mouth. Use your brand’s value system as a checklist. Should I use that font just because I saw it on Pinterest? Does that photograph reflect the quality of life my brand promotes? Does that word alienate a certain group of my clients? If you don’t have a value system for your  brand, I would encourage you to do some thinking. Like a home, brands have value systems attached to them. And those values arrive from the type of brand you want to have. Serious brands that cater to a wide variety of people will more likely have a broader value system than a more focused brand that appeals solely to a younger crowd.
When I start a logo project, most often I try to create the environment in which the logo will live before I start with the logo itself. Sure, anyone can design a logo and slap it on anything, but understanding that your logo needs a home brings a little more clarity and direction to this endeavor. Establish the value system, learn the rules, and work within that freedom.
Fun bunny trail: What’s the difference between you writing the letter B and me writing the letter B? I can choose to use a custom font or hand write it in a red color no one else can replicate. And I can do it repeatedly over and over until everyone knows my B just by looking at the top half. And I’ve decided to only place it on black and white photographs. So when you see a red B on a black and white photograph, you’ll know it’s mine. And because you’ve seen my B in places you highly admire, you’ll start to lean towards mine. That’s how brand identities work.
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