People in and out of the business misunderstand and abuse the term “brand.” Some individuals believe it refers to a new logo. Others, a commercial. And, as a business with the term “Brand” in its name, we spend a lot of time explaining what it means.
Today, we will look at a crucial distinction: the contrast between graphic design and branding. You can study graphic design and become a leader in the branding world. This may sound obvious, yet you would be shocked how often initiatives are stalled by a lack of clarity. Understanding this difference is a critical first step in developing a visually stunning and strategically informed visual identity.
When considering what constitutes a brand, it is easy, to begin with, visual signals such as logos, headers, business cards, and websites. In reality, these components are just the skeleton of what constitutes a successful brand.
Great designers protect your visual identity, taking special care to ensure that each piece – colors, shapes, typography, and, yes, the logo – is appealing and consistent across all contexts. Graphic design, when done correctly, guarantees that everything is coherent and in its appropriate position, much like a good functioning skeleton.
Branding Is Both the Body and the Soul
Of course, a company cannot function only on its bones. To continue the metaphor, branding is the whole fleshed-out body. Not just one’s physique and clothing, but also one’s beliefs, actions, and personality, must be considered. It includes everything from how your customer service representatives answer the phone to the stock imagery in your sales presentation. Branding is any action taken by a corporate entity, and the art of branding is to make that movement as intentional and harmonic as possible.
Branding and graphic design are closely connected. Aesthetics are meaningless without a strong plan, and a solid strategy is meaningless if it cannot be conveyed. As an agency, we must continuously balance these two pressures. That may sometimes entail deciding between something lovely and something useful. In an ideal world, you could have the best of both worlds, but at the end of the day, every choice must serve the purpose of adding depth to the brand.
Function vs. Aesthetic
So, how do you handle tough conversations? It may be difficult, particularly since up to 80% of businesses think graphic design and branding are the same things. While creative choices will always seem subjective, keep in mind that branding extends well beyond the aesthetic. It is in charge of the whole client experience at all levels, senses, and dimensions. No element, no matter how technical or detailed, is ever “just a mark” or “just a logo.” It is a complex, linked system that is engaged in an active dialogue with your audience.
Simply stated, graphic design nourishes your brand, and your brand nourishes your company. You will never win the competition for your customer’s attention if your visual components compete with one another.