A brand is a logo, right?

Well, yes and no, not so much, and not really, but sort of, okay hang on, let’s discuss.

This is a familiar conversation that we frequently have with a new client, or a new client-to-be. It’s a natural question, and it’s a good one. As a matter of fact, many in our own families think we simply create logos for a living. So once again mom… well, yes and no, not so much, and not really, but sort of, okay hang on, let’s continue discussing.


Everyone loves a logo

(And every company loves a bigger logo.) The graphic representation of brands, movements and experiences, aka, logos, are omnipresent. From the swastika to the peace symbol to the outline of a partially eaten piece of fruit, logos are powerful depictions of something more and something deeper. That is to say, the best and most effective logos are intimately connected to an authentic story and core beliefs. For our purposes, we’ll confine our logo examination to company brands, and leave geopolitical matters to another time.


Bestsellers and blockbusters

Think of a logo as the cover to a book. The cover sets you up for the story; it makes you want to turn the page, and buy the book. But there must be a story worthy of your time and investment. Same as a great film. The marquee proclaims a provocative title and the trailer teases an amazing experience. Again, what’s actually behind the title, the cover and the logo?

A good logo is a visual cue that triggers a positive feeling. An effective logo is a call to action. The best logos are sacred promises of excellence, satisfaction, and a favorable outcome. No matter how beautiful, strategically-sophisticated, trend-worthy and/or just plain cool a logo is, without a true brand story at its core—it’s just another smudge on the screen.


Don’t get us wrong…

… we love logos. We’d never dismiss the importance of a smart, attractive logo—we are very much championing the logo. (We’ve designed hundreds of them.) Creating logos is hard. But they are especially hard to create when there is no substance behind the creation. Doing the heavy brand lifting to develop your brand’s reason for being, purpose in business and vibe within will focus everything, including your logo. The logo is your identifier, but not your identity. The logo is your mouthpiece, but not your voice. The logo is your flag, but not the flagpole it flies from.


When to logo

Clearly, a new company requires a new logo, but if you’ve read to this point, you know that a thoughtful, pre-logo exploration has to come first. 

New branding and a new logo can be warranted when brands merge, or markets shift, or a graphic style is so painfully out of date. 

In addition to new brands, and economic changes, we are often tasked with rebranding established brands. In this case, it’s not necessarily true that a logo requires re-design. The logo may be solid and smart, while the issues are with the branding infrastructure. In these situations, we dig into the core and purpose of the brand to make the rebranding a success—without touching the logo.

Or yes, sometimes the established brand’s logo genuinely sucks. It happens. The story is wonderful, but the cover of the book is dreadful. We’ll fix that.


“An amazing logo does not make an amazing brand.*”

— Tucker Larson, Sussner

As a wise man once said (see above).

We love logos. Disclaimer: We love logos that have the weight and depth of purpose and humanity behind them. Those are the logos that can instantly turn browser into buyer and agnostic into advocate. Great logos come out of art, science, heart and soul.

*And, it’s exceptionally rare that an amazing brand is wearing a horrendous logo. Just sayin’.


Wear it well,

Team Sussner


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Brands Made Meaningful

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