What is a brand or logo?
There's a difference between a brand and a logo. Most people think they are the same thing... in a sense, yes they could be considered that. But really, a brand and a logo are quite different.
This is the design mark that totally sums up and comprises your business in one hit. Text and/or a symbol design make up a logo. Think the Nike swoosh, the Apple logo, or the old fashioned text logo for Whittakers on their chocolate blocks.
Once you have a logo, then you can have a brand. A brand is all the extra things and it's not just graphic elements. A brand displays your business and evokes what you do and who you are targeting. A Nike swoosh isn't much when it's not on a piece of sports clothing or running shoes right? But- it is also the packaging, the photography, the look of the stores and the customer experience in them. The same goes for Whittakers Chocolate. The gorgeous packaging that their chocolate blocks come in, the timely feel in their video advertising, and even their website look and feel.
That's all branding and it's something you can't get with "just a logo"
Creating a brand for your business
When it comes to thinking about your brand experience, the first things to take into consideration are what a graphic designer can help you with. This will be things like stationery, vehicle signwriting, store signage, your website and any promotional pieces of advertising material online and offline!
Other things to think about for branding; is how can your business sell itself, when you're not there? Do you have a tagline or phrase that you can use?
People stick to brands they know and trust, so a great idea is to work on building a trustworthy brand. Give them reason to come back and shop with you. Even something as little as a handwritten note in an online order, or an email newsletter sharing facts about your business could have more impact than you think!
Getting a logo and brand established
When you've decided to make the leap to get a logo designed, ensure that you are using an experienced graphic designer. Not only do they bring a wealth of experience that is priceless, they have done the process many times before for other clients. Sometimes they will have suggestions that you haven't even thought of, or simply have the skill to bring your dream idea to life.
A good designer will be able to supply you with logo files in formats that can be used for many uses - big signs for printers to print, or little logos on shirts to embroider. Theres a file format for everything.
For example, for printed items like signs, vehicle graphics or large format anything, you need a high quality vector graphic - usually a PDF or EPS file. This is a filetype that can be scaled up or down to any size without losing quality.
For Word docs, general website use, social media and that sort of thing, a JPG or PNG (usually has a transparent background) are types of files that are easy to use across all these platforms.
Lastly, a good designer will spend hours on a logo - ensuring that it's a design that will last for years to come, and work hard for your business when you aren't! A logo design is an investment for your business - treat it as you would hiring an accountant or a mentor etc. It will usually pay itself off within the first few months of being in business and you will reap the benefits for a long time after too! And remember, just because Aunt Sally's son who started going to Art School is doing well in his first semester and he can do you a logo for free; doesn't mean it will necessarily be a benefit to your business!