Logo vs Branding Iceberg Graphic

Your Logo Is Not Your Cannabis Brand

“I already have a logo, so I’m all set with branding.”

As a marketing agency in the up-and-coming cannabis industry, we hear this a lot. Most business owners think of their logo as their brand, when really it’s just one small part. This leaves a lot of startups struggling to build a small inkling of brand awareness, even though there’s an easier way to help people recognize your company. That solution is branding.

KindTyme Logo vs Brand Guidelines

The difference between a logo and branding is massive, but it isn’t obvious to most. So, really, what is the difference? And how does branding support a business better than a logo?

First, let’s define the two:

What is a Logo?

This may seem like a simple question— everyone knows what a logo is, right?

If you want to get technical, Wikipedia defines a logo as, “… a graphic mark, emblem, or symbol commonly used by commercial enterprises, organizations and even individuals to aid and promote instant public recognition. Logos are either purely graphic (symbols/icons) or are composed of the name of the organization (a logotype or wordmark).

There are several great examples of logos out there- from the Nike swoosh to the Leafly rectangles- and it’s apparent that a logo is the most important part of any business’s identity.

Yet while these designs are spectacular, none of them gained instant public recognition overnight. In fact, each one of those logos would be nothing more than a picture if it weren’t for the brands they represent.

Your logo is only the tip of the branding iceberg. It’s what people see and recognize about your company, but it’s pretty meaningless without the bulk that’s hiding under the surface!

Logo Vs Branding Iceberg Graphic


What is a Brand?

In summary, your brand is how people feel about your company. It’s the combination of a variety of factors, including:

  • color scheme
  • typography (fonts)
  • image choices
  • brand values
  • brand voice
  • customer service
  • content & information
  • actual product or service


Your logo represents all of these factors. But you have (almost) complete control over your cannabis brand, because every single one of them is a decision you get to make.

Once a customer has experienced your brand, they will have a very different reaction to your logo.

If that’s a good experience, they’ll be more likely to buy from you the next time.

If it’s a bad experience, you might not ever get a second chance.

But as long as it was created using logo design best practices, they will remember it.


Branding In Action

Drip Ice Cream Logo on PackageWe cover some great examples of cannabis branding in another post, but one that has been catching our eye lately is Drip Ice Cream.

Drip’s brand is filled with quirky and adventurous photographs, sprinkled with bold, colorful geometric shapes. This gives them a fun and zany vibe that’s very reminiscent of summertime; a perfect choice for an ice cream brand!

They’ve managed to make a frozen infused treat feel exciting, welcoming and fun, which (combined with their delicious products) keeps consumers feeling an emotional connection to their logo.


How to Build a Cannabis Brand from a Logo

If you have a logo but haven’t sat down to plan out your entire brand, never fear! It’s not too late to decide who your business should speak to, and how.

Apollo Grown Portfolio Tile

When we first met Apollo Grown, a cannabis grower & processor based out of Central Oregon, their whole brand was a logo, color scheme, and an idea of what they wanted their company to become. Our team had the opportunity to work closely with them to piece together the rest of their brand, based around Greek mythology and a sense of community. The result was a beautiful, design-driven brand that really stood out in the cannabis marketplace.

So how can you do it?

Step one is deciding how you want consumers to view your business. It can be friendly, upbeat, knowledgeable, classy, playful, mysterious, or any other variety of things, but it needs to create some kind of emotional response.

Step two: pinpoint what is going to set you apart from competitors. Is your top competition using purple & green in their brand? Are they using a pot leaf as their logo? Better find something different!

Step three: look at your logo. Does it fit in with the criteria you just set for your brand? If not, create a new logo that will.

Step four: design your visual brand. Define consistent fonts, color schemes, design/image aesthetics, and other visual cues that cannabis consumers will use to recognize you.

Step five: define your verbal brand. Decide how to phrase content in a way that will evoke the right emotions on your website, in social media, and through one-on-one interactions.

Of course, there’s help

If picking color schemes, font types, brand voice, etc. feels pretty daunting to you, you’re not alone!

Branding agencies like KindTyme are here to assist you by asking the right questions and providing expertise in design, marketing, and strategy throughout the entire process.

So if you don’t have the time/energy/direction to build a brand from the ground-up, please feel free to contact us. We’re more than happy to help!


Bonnie Leigh
[email protected]

As a designer at KindTyme, I work closely with our Lead Designer on both internal and external design projects. I love working to find new, innovative ways to design for cannabusinesses, and I can’t wait to see how the industry evolves!


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