Identity design. What does that mean? How is it different (or the same) as branding? Why does it matter?

Of course we are all familiar with logos and brands. We encounter them all the time, from the McDonald's golden arches to the Nike swoosh to the Starbuck's mermaid, these logos as well as the entire visual systems of these large brands are what makes them recognizable, no matter where we come across them.

As a one-woman show, you probably aren't likely to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in the development of a logo, at least not as you are just beginning. But, developing either a logomark (a shape) and/or a logotype (name in a specific typeface) and also a set of colors that you can use consistently in your business can be super helpful, even in the beginning. This again create clarity and confidence.

Below I walk you through a real project that I completed at the end of 2016. I hope this can give you a better sense of what this might mean for you. This was a total re-design her identity as her business was changing. 

I see this as identity design that is "right-sized" - it is possible to create something that works using interesting stock images and fonts. 


Option 1: Using a shape for the logomark that was existing and 2 different typefaces along with images of nature, this created a soft, natural feel. Here we also see a possible tagline "embody. create. change."

The client felt this was too soft and not right for her.

Option 2: Using two different typefaces to create a distinctive wordmark, coupled with a new tagline "Let's Play" and colorful, fun images creates a much more dynamic and alive sense. 

As some of the client's target audience is more business focused, this design was too childlike to be viable.

Option 3: I called this option "as architect" and felt that this was by far the strongest of the three concepts. As soon as I showed this to the client I knew we were on the right track! 

As you will see this design still evolved, but the strong typeface for the wordmark was a great match for the client's background in engineering and design but wasn't too stiff. 


I asked the client if she had any ideas for a logomark (she is a super cool idea person with lots of skills) and she whipped out a sketch. I took that sketch and rendered into a vector graphic that we could use. Now we were really getting somewhere.