There has been an increasing pressure on the need for branding or for one to create a brand. But very few experts take the time to explain what is the difference between branding and brand design (or all other branding elements and touchpoints). Photographers, celebrities and influences, a business or a person… Everyone either needs a brand or IS a brand, in their own right.
So, what is the difference between branding and brand design?
When branding, we are creating a collection of elements that will reflect our brand’s ideals, purpose, story, and message. The goal in branding is to help our target market to easily find, understand and connect with our brand.
A website (or blog) design may or may not be part of our branding needs. To decide what will be part of our branding, we need a brand strategy first. The brand’s methods for achieving the goals and elements used on the brand’s development will ultimately depend on the results of the brand’s strategy plan. What I mean is: not all brands will need a blog, not all brands will need to be on Facebook, not all brands will need iconography…
Here are some questions to help us get clarity on what elements our brand will need or not:
- What are the things I must have to communicate my message to my audience?
- Do I need a mark that will get know no matter what? Do I need a logo? Or a simple text header will do…?
- How will my brand have a web presence? Social media, websites, blog…
- Should my shop be hosted independently from my website?
- What platform holds my ideal audience? How will I use these platforms?
- Blog posts, audio (podcast) or video (Youtube) would be good for my brand? Do I have time to actually invest in these?
Understanding Brand Design
While branding will include everything from feelings, strategy, design, audio, video, photography, plans for achieving goals, and more, the branding design will literally focus on how to translate the brand’s needs in a visual identity and visually communicate the brand’s story, purpose, and message to your audience. It is that simple: your visuals exist to translate and support your brand’s strategy into visual messaging.
When creating a visual identity for the brand, some important questions are:
- What elements will my brand need to achieve my goals (website, blog, newsletter, podcast, videos, custom photography, copywriting, etc)?
- What graphic designer will be able to understand my brand deeply and put it into visuals?
- Will I work with a web designer and web developer? Or I’ll just ask my graphic designer to create branded graphics for my DIY website (like Squarespace)?
- Will I need to work with a photographer or videographer to create unique content for my brand?
- Will I need extra graphic elements for my brand (like social media templates, iconography, etc?)
Design and Development note:
If it is decided that you need or want a website or blog design (who doesn’t, these days?), check with your graphic designer if he/she designs websites, and if so, do they work on the website development as well (coding + implementing the website)? Today, I mostly offer one package for brand identity and website design, so I can create my best branding work for my clients -you can see it on my Design Services page.
A good web designer creates a layout that is easy to navigate and incentives user engagement. A good web developer codes your website in a way that it works well on all browsers, computer systems and different devices.
If you are the DYI type, checkout my mini workbook to help you create a heartfelt brand in 5 easy steps!