Many design agencies claim they do branding.
But are branding and design the same things? Not necessarily. The ideas can mend together, but they are still very much their own separate concepts. A branding and design agency can exist, so long as there are significant distinguishing traits between the actual branding and design elements.
When talking about branding design, 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. Design for branding, if you will.
But great design alone doesn’t make a great brand.
Perfecting your branding design is one of the key elements to a successful business. It gives you authority and identity, makes you reputable and adds personality to your business.
Your design for branding should be consistent across all assets of your company. Elements of branding you need to succeed include:
- A strong logo
- Color palette
- Shape and form
- Style consistency
All of these design elements are building blocks of your brand. While they are the foundation to your brand identity, they’re not everything. When these elements work together, they set the tone for the visual representation of your brand. But this is where branding and design become two separate entities.
Design sets the tone for your brand’s reputation, and your brand sets the tone for the bottom line of your business goals.
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 their 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 don’t always think about 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, you need both a branding and design agency. 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 of these pillars go beyond the expertise of design.
A brand design 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, brand 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. In both the design for branding and branding in general.
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 and design branding, 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.