Many design agencies claim they do branding.
But is branding the same as design?
And how do you decide what type of agency is right for you?
When talking about branding, we always like to start at the beginning of what a brand actually is: A desired perception.
In creating that perception, a brand must utilize a myriad of tools. Design is one of the tools that play an integral role in your branding.
But great design alone doesn’t make a great brand.
Your logo, fonts, and colors are all design elements that are building blocks of your brand. But they are simply that, building blocks. And one building block, like a logo, doesn’t make a brand. Neither does a specific color or font.
If you want to build a brand, you need to consider every building block; a designer alone is not enough and why having a Brand Strategist is essential.
Building a brand is like building a house. It requires both architects and contractors.
Most people (ourselves included) wouldn’t know how to build a house on our own. Sure, we have ideas of what we want our house’s rooms to look like, but when it comes to how to achieve it, we aren’t aware of every consideration. We aren’t aware of all the structural elements that are required to build a foundation.
This is where an architect, the one who designs the house, comes in.
They create the blueprints upon which everything else is based.
Once the blueprints are finalized, we bring in the contractors —
the ones who actually build the house. Contractors realize the architect’s vision and use their various building blocks to make the actual house.
In this scenario, the Brand Strategist is the architect; the designer is the contractor.
While both vitally important to a house’s success (and a brand), it all begins with creating a successful blueprint and foundation.
A Brand Strategist is responsible for creating the Brand Architecture, the pillars that are the staples of your brand. And these pillars go beyond the expertise of design.
A Branding Agency (as opposed to a pure design agency) will help you create the foundation for every building box of your brand, including your Brand Promise, Brand Message, positioning, photography, hierarchy, colors, fonts, and design elements.
Most importantly, they make sure that all the pieces of your brand are cohesive and work harmoniously together.
Many design agencies say they do branding, but they only do a small part of the puzzle without focusing on the higher-level strategy required for your brand to stand out and resonate with your target market. Some branding agencies incorporate design in-house for synergy and better communication with designers to implement the Brand Vision effectively.
When building your brand, be sure you are working with an agency that’s expertise lies in branding, not just design, so you have a house that has a strong foundation — not just a place that looks pretty but won’t hold up over time.
Remember the difference between branding versus design before to selecting your next agency.