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A lot of design agencies claim they do branding. But what is the difference between branding vs. design, and furthermore, how do you decide what type of agency is right for you?

Great branding incorporates great design, but great design doesn’t make a great brand.

Design is an integral part of branding. Your logo, fonts, and colors are all building blocks of a brand. But they are simply that, building blocks. A logo doesn’t make a brand, nor does a specific color or font. A brand is a desired perception, and design elements are the tools we use to create that perception.

But that doesn’t mean a great designer is a great brand strategist.

Let’s look at an analogous situation for more clarity.

You are building your company, much like someone builds a house. Now most people don’t know how to build a house on their own. They really need help on two levels to build their house. They need an architect to design the house, and a contractor to build it.

Designers are the contractors. They take the blueprints from the architect, and build the house according to their plan. They use the tools of design to bring your brand to life.

But they aren’t the creators of the brand, just like a contractor doesn’t design a beautiful skyscraper. A brand strategist is the architect, the mastermind that creates the blueprint that the designers can take and bring to life.

A brand strategist creates the Brands Architecture, the pillars that are the staples of your brand. And these pillars go beyond the expertise of design.

A branding agency will help you create a desired perception, including your brands promise, 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 branding agencies incorporate design in house for synergy and better communication with designers in order to implement the Brand Vision effectively.

A lot of design agencies say they do branding, but they only do a small piece without the higher-level strategy required for your brand to stand out and resonate with your target market.

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 house that just looks pretty.

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