Is There a Difference Between a Logo and an Identity?

Most ministries and churches have some sort of visual element they call their “logo.” Understandably, and for good reason, these elements generate vigorous discussion, and sometimes, even tension among team members.

What I’ve noticed, is that there there is often confusing terminology being used in the conversation that adds a layer of complexity and possible frustration to what’s being discussed.

Very simply, a logo is part of an organization’s identity, but it is only a part. There are actually several components, elements and characteristics that make up an organization’s “identity.”

That’s a simple, yet important distinction.

If you hire us to create a “logo,” “icon,” “word-mark” or “brand-mark,” then that is very different (and limited in its scope) than asking us to help you create an “identity.”

An identity includes a logo, but there is much more to it than that.

The Dictionary of Brand defines brand identity as “the outward expression of a brand, including its name, trademark, communications, and visual appearance.”

So, the point of this post is that we should clarify what we mean by the terminology we use in the communications field to ensure that everyone is on the same page.

Is this a valid distinction in your mind? What terminology do you use/prefer and what do you mean by it?

Comments

comments

You Might Also be Interested in …

7 thoughts on “Is There a Difference Between a Logo and an Identity?

  1. I agree that this ends up being a really tricky point for a lot of people (esp. managers, activists, servants, and all the other people that get out there and actually put their boots on the ground). I think you're right on the money that a visual logo is only one element of your brand identity.

    For what it's worth, I love Seth Godin's definition of a brand – “A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories, and relationships that, taken together, account for a customer’s decision to choose on product or service over another. “

    I think a lot of people decide they need to "reinvent" they brand identity to become more "modern" and "relevant." And the easy way is to hire someone to draw a pretty picture. But the thing is a logo doesn't do much to communicate your brand, and to reach your target audience – at least compared to all the other elements that make up your brand.

    Of course, all those things also take a lot more work.

    • Jeff,

      That’s a great Godin definition. You made a key statement here: “Of course, all those things also take a lot more work.”

      You are spot on with this and not everyone is willing to pay the price.

      Thanks for your comments and thanks for stopping by.

  2. I like your comments, Josh. Especially these: "I believe that a logo is something that shows representation" and "It's the people and beliefs that a church or ministry have that make people want to wear a logo or be proud of their church." I would add that behavior is a key component as well. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Pingback: 10 Short Ministry and Church Branding Tips | ResonateOrDie

  4. Pingback: 10 Short Ministry and Church Branding Tips | ResonateOrDie