What is the difference between Corporate Identity (CI) and Corporate Design (CD)?
15 Nov 2016

What is the difference between Corporate Identity (CI) and Corporate Design (CD)?

“Let’s realize that according to our CI.” Is that right?

People often say, “let’s realize that according to our CI.” That’s not right. Correctly is “we realize it according to our CD.” Well. That’s not easy. Time to bring light into the dark.

Let’s think about the definition. So we have identity of the corporation on one side and the design of the appereance on the other.

Let’s get personal: For me as a human my identity is I as a whole. My look is my appearance.

Look: Corpus Design vs. Corporate Design

How do I look? I have two legs, two arms, a body and a head. When you see me, you can identify me easily as a human. If I’m naked, people might think “hot” or “vulnerable”. In a black outfit I appear reserved mythic or I am mourning. Wearing white, I make an innocent-esoteric impression or I’m just wearing wor clothes. Sum ergo sum; I am therefore I am.

Artikel CD/CI: Corporate Design

Identity: Corpus Identity vs. Corporate Identity

Let’s step back and see me in my environment, with my accessories and probably – if you already know me – in combination with your remberings and the stories your heard from others about me. The whole is my identity.

For I’m no puppet my identity is a combination of look, environment and personality. Cogito ergo sum; I think therefore I am.

Let’s convey this insight to a company now.

This is Corporate Design

Logo, logo variations for different business divisions and/or subsidiaries.
Corporate color(s) and color variations for different product or business divisions.
Corporate typefaces, including diverse fonts for different products or business divisions.
The design grid, means placement and weighting of logo, image and/or text. The definition of image sizes, column width, record types and font sizes. In all visual media (on product, in print, online, film) internal and external. The placement of the logo without lettering (on a chimney, above a filling station, on company cars or a smock.)
The creative definition of external presentation: stores, sales and fair stands (architecture).
So we have designed everything. The design is completed. We now take a step back and take a look at the whole.

That’s Corporate Identity

Only the whole is the identity. Not one logo, not one photograph, not one label, not one catalogue. Just the whole image and expression.

The company is the identity. What’s in the design for what the company stands for in content?

The departments as development, production, sales, management. The behavour and the internal and external communication. The brand identity, products, subsidiaries, the company’s history and – last but not least – it’s customers. Everything.

These are some famous German logo types. People don’t just think of a logo, when they get in touch with it.

Artikel CD/CI: Logo-Beispiele

The corporate design is a part of the corporate identity. Its developers have the challenging task to understand this identity, to capture it and to translate it in form and content, a task that includes and affects all business divisions and each publication.

To brand identity and brand image is very demanding. It requires a mature conception, excellent experience and an academic sense of style. This is what we offer, repeatedly awarded.


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In this article we work with images from MERCURY, stocksnap.io and unsplash.com.

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