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Branding is an Iceberg

The number 1 thing business owners approach a designer like myself, is to design a new logo for their business.

What’s interesting, is that the design of a logo is just one part of what makes a logo and visual identity stand out, be recognised and become part of a memorable brand.

It’s like the neon green paint on a Lamborghini. It’s what turns heads but couldn’t carry its overt owner from A to B in 3 seconds without the power of a V12 engine. Which makes your logo just the tip of the iceberg that forms part of your brand.

So what makes a customer recognise it’s an iceberg; is your logo, colours, type, signage, packaging, etc. Everything that makes up your ‘Visual identity’.

Just like Ernest Hemingway’s ‘Theory of omission’, what’s below the water isn’t evident, but should shine through implicitly. Because, just like an iceberg, what lies below the water is a whole lot bigger than the sum of what is above.

What is below the water informs the creation of what is seen and noticed, to help build a better brand.

  • ‘Customer perception’ is what your customer feels and says about your brand: through referrals, testimonials, reviews, word of mouth, social media posts, etc.

  • ‘Messaging’ is the words you communicate: your tagline, website and social media copy, marketing/advertising copy, etc

  • ‘Tone of Voice’ is the personality you communicate: are you a serious brand, inspiring brand, playful brand, competitive brand, etc.

  • ‘Positioning’ is the market and audience you are targeting: are they 29 year old new mums from Sydney? Are they 51 year old men going through a mid-life crisis, looking to take up Golf?

  • 'Story’ is the history and purpose of your brand.

As a branding consultant, I’m considering what lies below the water wayyyy before I even consider the tip of the iceberg. So branding is a much bigger beast than what your customer can simply see.


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