Branding vs. Brand Identity

Branding vs. Brand Identity | Spruce Rd.

Branding vs. Brand Identity | Spruce Rd.

I am SO excited to introduce a new series to the blog! I have such a passion for branding + brand identities, so I thought it might be helpful to create a blog series where I focus on various ways to strengthen your brand. Through this series, I will walk you through a few ways to build your brand in an intentional + strategic way.

I think that the term “branding” gets tossed around where it doesn’t belong, especially by designers (myself included!). It is important to cover the definition to understand the various aspects of branding. Majority of people think that the term “branding”, “brand identity" and “logo” are synonymous. While they work well together, they all serve different purposes.


There is a lot of depth to branding beyond the visual brand identity, which is what I offer to clients. I think this definition of branding, by Seth Godin, sums it up nicely: "A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.” It isn’t a tangible element, it goes beyond design. Within the branding, you will find the brand identity, which is the visual representation of all of the elements that aren’t tangible.

Branding consists of a visual language and should exude the goals and mission of your business. This includes how you describe your business, handle customer service, your niche market, how you function as a business and much more. Knowing how you want to be portrayed to your audience is key to creating a consistent message + look for your business.

Brand Identity

The brand identity of a company is a set of visual attributes that create the look + feel of your business. This includes typography, colors, logo usage, patterns and other graphic elements.

One of the requests that I receive often from potential clients is to create a logo for their company. When first out of school and starting out in my career, I would take on these requests (and hardly charge a thing!), not thinking much about the strategy + thought process behind this symbol. While the logo is at the core of the brand identity, there needs to be a shift to focus on the brand identity as a whole, and not solely a logo.

I really enjoy crafting thoughtful, conceptual + creative logos, however I understand that a strong brand identity looks far more professional and consistent than a company that only has a logo, with no other supporting elements. A simple + minimal typeset logo, accompanied by beautiful photographs, emphasis on typography and a consistent visual language can go a long way. Think:

Kinfolk Magazine




Kate Spade

. All of these companies have minimal logos, yet have such a strong visual brand identity that is easily recognizable.

While I believe design is essential, it is not the only component of branding.

I hope this post helps clarify the breadth that branding entails, and the diverse attributes of it. I am excited for the next few posts in this series, discussing how you can strengthen your brand.