Sam Caron

Sam Caron

The difference between branding and design

What actually is design? 

In business terms, many are guilty of mixing up the idea of design with branding.

And while you can be forgiven for thinking just that – design is not branding. It is, in fact, just one part of the branding process.

Businesses that look for branding need a creative to know how to translate a branding strategy into a visual. That’s where a designer comes in.

They must know how the brand is perceived with the public and what emotions you want to evoke.

Its importance cannot be overstated, as all great branding incorporates great design. It determines the look of your business so will of course be a huge factor in deciding how many consumers are attracted to you.

But great design doesn’t always make a great brand.

Designers are responsible for so many key aspects of your brand. They are of course the ones who create your own unique logo, slick color scheme and iconic fonts. However, simply put, these are all merely building blocks for a great brand. While these are clearly extremely important, this doesn’t automatically qualify them as a good brand designer.

Granted, a designer’s work could be truly amazing, but if this isn’t paired with a good brand strategy then it’s just an almighty waste of time and money.

Just imagine you’re putting in the foundations for your website, which will be used as an educational tool for kindergarteners. A well-established designer has just finished working on your logo and it’s some of the best artwork you’ve ever seen – a beautiful portrait of an elderly 18th century farm-worker. All great, except how does this relate to a kids’ site?

This is of course a complete exaggeration as no sane designer would do anything like that, but it shows how you must always keep your target audience in mind.  

This is why it’s so important for a designer and brand strategist to work in tandem.

Remember, design without strategy is just art.

So, what does an effective brand designer do then?

What they do is weaponize design. They know just how to utilize it in a way that will make sure all the pieces of your branding are cohesive, making the look of your company match its promise, message, and ultimate aims.

They are the ones who will lay out the foundations from which a designer can flourish, communicating to them clearly the nature of the design they want completing.

Points To Think About:

  • How your brand is perceived by people. What do you want potential consumers to think and feel when they see things such as your logo and color scheme?
  • Whether your values are conveyed. Does the design do a good enough job of relaying your brand’s messages and promises in a visual way?
  • Make your design stand out. Any effort put into the brand’s perception and message is futile if the design doesn’t stick out from the crowd. Just think, how does my design resonate with the public and more specifically, the target audience?


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