What's the difference between a brand and a logo?

This is by far one of the questions I get asked most often and the difference isn't always taken into consideration when shopping around, comparing investments and creating your business strategy. No matter whether you are just stepping into the business world or you've been around a while and are just looking to step things up, you'll need a face for your business and you'll need a logo. You may ask for recommendations on your social media or in networking groups, you might head straight to Google, you might even be lucky enough to have a friend with some design experience who can whip something up for you OR you might have your eye on a package with a freelancer or a design studio. In this post, I want to compare the pros and cons of each of these, talk through what you'll get from them, what impact that will have on your business and clear some of the overwhelm that can come from choosing.

Premade & Templated logos - Etsy, Creative Market etc

Logging into something like Etsy and finding an array of logo designs you can purchase for less than the price of a meal out can be really exciting! The possibilities are endless and everything looks so cute! I do actually think this platform has some merit if you're on a super tight budget, are in the very early stages of business when something is better than nothing or if you know things are going to evolve over time. You can pick up a logo that will be tailored to your business and have a variety of files delivered for online and offline use. Pros: Lots of choice, low outlay, a typically quick turnaround

Cons: The original designer created something they felt looked nice. They don't know your business, your audience, what function you need the logo to provide and so there is little strategy to the design. It's essential a piece of art rather than a tool to help you grow your business.

Crowdsourcing sites like Fiverr, PeoplePerHour, Upwork etc...

Platforms like this do vary - on some you'll find freelancers etc in your local area, and some you'll find designers working from all over the world. Often the price is low because the designers you are using are located elsewhere in the world where they can afford to work for a lot less money (you can literally pick up a logo for a fiver). There's nothing wrong at all with using international designers, but please keep in mind on platforms like this it can come with language barriers, meaning specifying your needs can be tricky - and when you have a limit on revisions this can mean you don't get what you wanted. I've also seen cases where fonts that should be licensed are used in a design and haven't been - meaning the final design is actually a copyright infringement. Pros: Super cheap. If it's not right you can start the process again with another designer and not waste much money doing so. You're supporting freelancers, potentially in poorer countries. Cons: Language barriers can be a problem. You don't know who you're working with past a username on the screen. How much time can be devoted to something that's only going to sell for £5 or so? You likely wont get the option to talk about your business in depth and so your logo will only take into account things like colour and font choices rather than the audience you're trying to attract.

Your designer friend who's happy to do you a favour

This sounds like a brilliant option - and to be honest, whether this is worthwhile or not can depend on the friend. If he or she has the time and is willing to devote it to your business that's awesome - but be careful that they are actually a designer (and not just someone who knows HOW to use design software). Understanding design is very different to learning how to use the programs required. Secondly, how much time are they available to give you? You may find that they have the time to help you out initially, but as your business grows and moves forward you need to hire a designer to do all the other bits and pieces for you rather than feel guilty for calling on a friend each time. Pros: Depending on the deal, you could potentially get a professional for little to no money!

Cons: If they aren't a professional designer, but like to mess about with design software, you could end up with something that's simply not right at all - and feel awkward about using or not using their design. You may also but put to the back of the pile while they handle the paying clients first, meaning your project could take much longer than expected.

Freelancer or studio designed logos

This is a good option if you need to keep your investment lower. You can shop around for a designer who works with business' like yours, view their past work, and then chat things through with them. They will build a clear picture of your business, and your needs and work with your ideal client in mind.

Pros: A great way to grab a logo that is personal to you and your business, free from potential copyright infringements, and that has been created to attract your specific target audience.

Cons: It's still only a logo. It'll form the face of your business but won't go as far as it could to helping you attract and close new clients and communicate your messaging. It's also the most expensive option.

Freelancer, or studio designed branding packages

Branding packages often begin with a logo design, but they also include an in depth look at your business, your values, your messaging, your ideal clients and your products and services. They take into account what makes you unique and all this information is built into your visual branding.

Pros: FAR more time and research goes into mapping out and creating a brand than when you're creating just a logo on it's own. You'll usually receive a variety of logo files, and brand guidelines outlining things like your colours, fonts, and any applicable icons. The package will often include things like business cards, flyers or marketing material, your social media accounts, your website, email marketing and more to ensure everything is coherent and giving your clients the same message.

In summary, choosing which option suits you best really depends on where your business is and the level of investment you are looking to make. Grabbing a design from somewhere like Etsy will help you get going at a low price tag, but when you're ready to take the next step I highly recommend you invest in a professional branding package. Investing with the right designer will help your business grow, land more clients and build your audience. A branding package should pay for itself in the long run.
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