Problems arise when business owners or designers expect a logo to do the job of an entire brand.
First of all, the dichotomy of logo/brand is an issue posed by the misunderstanding in our current market as per what is a brand exactly. It doesn’t matter that we have brands since the whole “entrepreneurship thing” started- lots still don’t get it. They don’t get that a brand is what the customers feel in their gut about a product or a service or a person.
This happens because, instead of looking at people and their reactions to measure the impact we have, we study books and manuals or courses and video content. That will not do the job.
The brand identity, or the logo, is just one facet of the whole diamond. Other things like strategy, messaging and tone of voice are, simply put, as essential as everything else and need to be thought about and drawn on a whiteboard with black magic markers.
When I say “your logo is not your brand”, I make reference to this idea- there are other things that enter the equation. And not only there are other things (target market, strategy, product, packaging, business goals, vision), but the logo has to fit in.
When we, the designers, interview a client, what we try to do is to establish rapport and get to know the client’s business. Those things frame the context the identity needs to fit in.
By saying “fit in”, I make reference to what older, more senior designers refer to as “being appropriate”. When a logo “is appropriate”, what we refer to is “it fits in the context”. That’s why it’s hard to judge the success of a logo without knowing the context behind it- what the company does, what industry it operates in and so forth.
To make an analogy, when the logo comes in as the face of your business, it has to feel like a natural face of the business, not a mask it wears to deceive the customers. This whole context thing is not really complicated, but one has to get to know the business he creates a face for.
Most times, the difference between a good logo design job and a bad design job is just that- did the designer get to know the business deeply? Or did he not?
When you, as a business owner, jump on websites that offer design services on cheap, expect to get exactly what you paid for- the unwillingness to get to know your business.
When you, as a designer, get excited by the work at hand and jump straight on the paper to sketch things out without taking the time to understand what you are dealing with, then you are doing both to you and to your client a disservice.
The face of a person is not the person itself (if you’ve watched Game of Thrones, you know what am I talking about). Similarly, a logo is not the brand, but the face it presents proudly to the marketplace.