Branding vs. Design

We recently had a prospective client ask why he should use us to create a logo when he could hire a designer online for less money. It’s a question we have heard more frequently over the past couple of years as our society shifts toward project work. Our response? There’s a big difference between graphic design and branding.

A graphic designer will start by asking you what you like, what colors you want to use and gather some additional basic information about your company and preferred style. They will then come up with a few designs for you to choose from and call it done.

Branding takes the design to the next level and flows it out through your entire organization. Your brand should represent who you truly are. It takes some research to get to this level, and works best when you have input from outside stakeholders. We don’t always see ourselves the way others do, and that disconnect can sabotage your brand.

Consistency is also very important. Have you seen an ad where you knew of the company but the look and “feel” were wrong? It can make viewers question whether it’s the same company at all. This is especially true when you receive an email from a company. If it doesn’t look right, you are liable to delete the email thinking it’s spam.

Everything you say and do should follow your branding guidelines. This includes your business cards, email signatures, website, digital ads, videos, trade show booth, social media presence, and how your staff answers the phone or responds to emails!

Maintaining the quality of your brand is an ongoing effort, involving every team member. It’s also important to remember that your brand isn’t static; as your business changes and evolves over time, you’ll need to periodically reevaluate your brand to see if tweaks are needed (maybe to the message) or if you need a complete rebrand. Train your team on what your brand represents and continually police the brand so you don’t end up with disconnects. Have questions? Contact us and see if we can help.