What is brand identity, branding, logo, and their differences?

Fabricio Rivera
August 20, 2021

When we search the query "what is brand identity" in various search engines, it's common to find words like logo and branding, or even results with the same title as this one. But these similarities are not a coincidence; it happens because of the close relationship between these three concepts, a relationship that's so close, it may cause  confusion. Therefore, in this blog, we'll discuss the differences between branding,  brand identity and logo. 

Origin of the word "brand."

To understand the difference between these three concepts and why they are often confused, we must start with understanding the word "brand." The etymologic origin of the word "brand" comes from the old Nordic language from the word "brandr," which meant "burn," and it refers to the practice of livestock branding to indicate property. This practice is also a precursor of the modern logo.

Nowadays, the word "brand" means a lot more! As commerce and the interaction between the buyer and the seller became more diverse, the definition of the concept has evolved.

 What is brand or branding?

But what is brand or branding? If you search in your favorite search engine, you'll find thousands of results. For instance, Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, defines it like this "the brand is what people say about you when you're not in the room." Another great definition is "…your brand is what people think about when they think about your company. It's your reputation…" expressed Jessica Jones, an independent graphic designer. Your brand includes the logo, website, and presentation cards. Everything people interact with when they're searching for your company, and that sums up to the perception they have of you, that's your brand. 

Defining brand and branding 

Both definitions converge on one point: reputation, but it's not just the reputation; it's the entire experience. Are the logo, website, or company cards part of my brand as well? The answer is that they are part of the brand, but they're not what defines your brand ultimately. These are elements that help build reputation and perspective. Therefore, a more precise definition of "brand" or "branding" is "the sum of all expressions by which an entity (person, organization, company, business unit, city, nation, etc.) intends to be recognized," as defined by consultants Calin Hertioga and Johannes Christensen. 

Every one of those actions and expressions that generate value, recognition, reputation define the brand itself. Creating an identity system, a website, or the strategies for social media positioning are actions that create an idea and represent your brand in the minds of the audience that interact with these elements. 

What is Brand Identity?

What is brand identity if we define the brand as the sum of all expressions by which an entity intends to be recognized? 

Brand identity is the set of graphic elements that allows the audience to recognize your brand immediately. It represents the way your brand wants to be perceived in the market, its personality, voice, how it communicates with its clients, its mission, values; it's what makes a company unique. 

Common graphic elements in the identity system

Some of the most common graphic elements that are represented in the identity systems are:

  • Logo
  • Typographic fonts
  • Presentation cards
  • Envelopes
  • Color palette
  • Photography
  • Textures

All these elements make up the identity manual of each brand or brand guidelines, which is created to make sure everyone is aligned with the established corporate identity. An identity that the company intends to be perceived as in every communication space or interaction with its audience. 

What is the logo?

Finally, but not least important, let's talk about the logo. The logo is a fundamental part of the brand's identity system since it is the company's face to the world. It is the graphic element or symbol representing your product or service, and thanks to the logo, your audience will be able to create a clear mental image of your brand, product, or service. 

In conclusion, it's essential to define branding, brand identity, and logo from a macro to a micro perspective. Understanding that branding is the sum of expressions by which an entity intends to be recognized, expressions referring to all the actions the company has developed and executed to generate recognition and reputation with the audience interacting with the brand.  

The Brand identity is the set of graphic elements that define the brand, personality, and tone. And finally, the logo is the most important visual element that will allow the audience to create a clearer mental picture of your product or service.


Graphic Designer with a Bachelors Degree in Advertising, skilled in editorial design, social media graphics, brand identity design, among others. Practices illustration and photography as hobbies on his free time and is currently learning skills in motion graphics.

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