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Brand Logo & Identification: The importance of differentiation | Brand Logo and Identity

What is the first thing you notice about the bottom part of the image on the left?

I'll let you think about it until we get further down.

Nationwide has recently changed its logo, which is something that many other established companies do. If you've been around for decades, it's natural to update your design to appeal to a new audience (e.g. new generation).

Nationwide is a well-established, traditional bank, but it seems to be moving towards a more digital and modern approach to banking.

This seems to be reflected in their new logo.

Now, to help you answer my question, let's tap into some basics first.


What is a brand logo and identity, are they the same?

A brand logo is a visual representation of a brand, while brand identity is the overall collection of tangible and intangible elements that create a brand's unique image.

Brand logo

A brand logo is a symbol, mark, or icon that represents a company or organisation. It is the most recognisable visual element of a brand and is used on all of the company's marketing materials, including its website, social media, and packaging.

Brand identity

Brand identity is the overall look and feel of a brand. It includes the brand's logo, colours, typography, imagery, and tone of voice. Brand identity is designed to create a consistent and memorable experience for customers across all touchpoints.

The difference between brand logo and identity

The brand identity is a more comprehensive concept that includes all of the visual and non-visual elements that contribute to the brand's overall image.

For example, the McDonald's golden arches are the company's logo. However, the McDonald's brand identity is much more than just the logo. It also includes the company's red and yellow colour scheme, its distinctive typography, and its fun and family-friendly tone of voice.

Why is brand identity important?

Brand identity is important because it helps to create a strong and memorable impression on customers. It also helps to differentiate a brand from its competitors. A well-designed brand identity can also help to build trust and loyalty with customers.

Here are some examples of how brand identity is used:

  • A company's website and social media pages are designed to reflect the brand's identity.

  • A company's product packaging is designed to be visually appealing and consistent with the brand's identity.

  • A company's customer service representatives are trained to speak and behave in a way that is consistent with the brand's identity.

Overall, brand identity is essential for any company that wants to build a strong and successful brand.


Now let's go back to my question earlier: What is the first thing that stands out to you as you look at the bottom part of the image? (I have cropped it for better visibility)

Three similarities that stand out to me are

  • Colour scheme: Both logos use a blue and white colour scheme, with Nationwide's logo being a slightly darker shade of blue.

  • Shapes and layout: Both logos have a similar shape and layout, with the company name on the left and a symbol on the right. Nationwide's symbol is a stylized house and sun, while NatWest's symbol is three interlocking chevrons.

  • Naming: This is not a change, but both company names start with the same 3 letters "Nat". Which should have been taken into consideration when changing the logo.

While it is not uncommon for companies to have similar logos, the fact that Nationwide and NatWest have both a similar colour scheme, shape and layout, and naming convention could potentially lead to confusion for consumers.

As a designer, you can probably tell the difference right away, but I am putting myself in the shoes of a customer.

At its heart, a logo is more than just a pretty doodle for your brand. It's a bit like your brand's own unique fingerprint. Picture this: you're in the hustle and bustle of a high street, squinting your eyes to spot 'Nationwide'. But hang on, as you draw closer, you're actually standing in front of 'NatWest'. Bit of a bother, isn't it? After faffing about for ages looking for a parking spot and navigating the usual traffic madness, the last thing you need is a wild goose chase to the wrong bank.

Now, let's move this scene online. You're having a quick search for your bank, say "Nationwide", and due to some clever online jiggery-pokery with SEO and Google Ads, another bank – maybe our friend "NatWest" again – pops up first. It's a right kerfuffle. And this gets trickier for people with neurodiversity, who might find it a tad more challenging to spot the difference straight off the bat.

So, in a nutshell, a clear and top-notch logo makes sure your brand stands out from the crowd. Especially in the B2C space.

It's a beacon in a sea of look-alikes, making life just a bit easier and less muddled for everyone.


What do you think about the new Nationwide Logo vs the NatWest logo?

  • I don't see a problem, I can definitely tell the difference.

  • It looks neat, but I can see where you are coming from.

  • The logos look too similar

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