Graphic Design vs. Branding: Why You Need Both
The term ‘brand’ is often misunderstood and misused by individuals in and out of the advertising industry. Some believe it refers to a logo design, font choice, web design, product packaging, or photography, while others an advertisement or website. The truth is, a brand is all of these things. And understanding this is an essential first step in creating an attractive and strategically informed visual brand identity.
Let’s discuss graphic design vs. branding and why you need both for your brand.
Branding is the Foundation
When advertising your company, you must establish a solid and consistent presence and aesthetic online and offline. While a company logo, an innovative website, and brand identity design are essential and can help you grow your reputation, it’s only a tiny part of the branding process.
Branding uses the visual components or “brand identity” your graphic designers create for branding projects and personal branding to represent your company. This can take the shape of growing your social media presence, adding logos to company vehicles, and ensuring your fans and customers are always happy with your company. Branding is a part of growing your reputation, and any activity that furthers this goal falls under the category.
That’s why creating a brand guide, visual identity, and designing elements for social media and your website is essential.
Vision & Personality
Brand vision refers to the ideas behind a brand that help guide the future. When the brand vision clicks, it reflects and supports the business strategy, differentiates from competitors, resonates with customers, energizes and inspires employees and partners, and creates a gush of advertising program ideas.
Your brand vision is the cornerstone of brand strategy and how you interact with customers. It shows consumers why you matter, creates a professional image and ensures you have good design. It helps to inform your brand guidelines.
Companies are not static, and you’ll be hard depressed to find a business that is completely satisfied with its position in its respective market or the eyes of its audience.
Most business owners will be striving to accomplish something bigger or driving for further progress, and having clear brand visions helps frame this movement so that it is more likely to yield positive results.
Brand personality is the human characteristics you attribute to that brand. Or, put another way—it’s how you’d describe a brand if it were a person. A brand’s character shines through in brand messaging, images, and overarching marketing campaigns.
Additionally, consistency is critical. If your brand’s character differs on your business website compared to your social channels, it will be more difficult for consumers to learn who your brand is and what it stands for.
Brand guidelines, also known as a brand style guide, consist of a compelling brand story with an emotional connection, examples of actual consumers, your business brand style guide, and your brand’s why.
The visual components of your brand must also tie into this to create a clear brand identity and personality. Finally, you must prioritize consistency and connection for your business and consumers as you seek to grow your brand, elevate your content and public perception, and increase brand awareness and your return on investment (ROI).
Based on data and research, buyer personas are semi-fictional representations of your ideal customers. They help you focus your time on qualified prospects, guide product development to suit the needs of your target customers, and align all work across your organization (from advertising to sales to service). As a result, you’ll be able to attract high-value visitors, leads, and customers to your business, who you’ll be more likely to retain over time.
Understanding your buyer persona(s) is critical to driving content creation, product development, sales follow-up, and anything related to customer acquisition and retention.
So, how do you make one?
The good news is that they aren’t that difficult to create. It’s all about obtaining market research and customer data and presenting that information within your business.
Buyer personas help you understand your customers (and prospective customers) better. This makes it easier for you to tailor your content, messaging, product development, and services to meet the specific needs, behaviors, and concerns of the members of your target audience.
Stories are the most memorable form of communication for any business, whether on television, in-home videos, or at the cinema. Stories are the most effective way to captivate, convince, and convert your audience.
Human connection through storytelling is the foundation of any successful emotional brand advertising, from brand ads to campaigns, video marketing assets, and brand campaigns. It is used to communicate players’ backstories, the iconic history of teams, the legacy of a coach, and showcase brand identity. It resonates in fans’ minds and tends to be a highly effective advertising strategy for increasing brand recognition and driving sales.
Competition & Differentiation
As a brand, you must take the time to understand your competition better. This is key to identifying your differentiation. Differentiation is a method for companies to make their products or service grab consumers’ attention. This allows a brand to develop a strong brand that customers will recognize past, present, and future. It also increases the likelihood that the consumer will select your product or service again over another generic or undifferentiated product or service.
Graphic Design is the Feature
Graphic branding design is essentially the creation of all those logos, images, websites, and colors that help your brand stand out. The work is handled by an experienced graphic designer that knows what works and what doesn’t. Think of it as the chief visual component of growing your brand. Your logo and branding materials wouldn’t exist without the graphic design process.
Your brand identity goes beyond graphic design branding. It also includes a personal connection and showcases who you are to your potential clients. Not to mention, it showcases the difference between you and your competitors.
Graphic design and branding are two separate parts of a successful advertising strategy. You can’t establish a clear brand without great and consistent logos, colors, and fonts on all company materials. Remember, brand recognition helps encourage new and existing customers and fans to support your organization. If they can’t recognize something as part of your brand, it creates confusion and makes it harder to build your business.
Logos & Icons
A logo, typography, fonts, and packaging are just one brand element. It’s a simple icon or visual that often represents the value of a brand and differentiates it from competitors. It can paint you as a sophisticated, modern brand or an inspiration for interested consumers.
Meanwhile, a brand is composed of multiple elements, some tangible (logos, graphics, colors, etc.) and some that are intangible (persona, emotion, positioning, etc.). While a brand may use an icon to represent its business in some instances, it is not the sole element that establishes a company’s image and identity.
Reflect on your color palette, brand colors, hex codes, CMYK color codes, images, and CMYK values each design asset will use. Consider the possible color schemes and what they say about your brand identity. Create a brand style guide centered around your brand colors for your creative partners to reference as they develop digital and print assets and design elements.
Additionally, you must select a few font styles that adhere to your brand style guide and allow for brand recognition and inspiration.
For example, if your brand identity is playful and comical, you might select a sans serif font with bubbly, bold, and loopy brand elements. If you want to create a brand-style cover that is more professional and academic, you’ll likely select a serif font with standard sizing and a simple structure.
The term ‘brand’ is often misunderstood and misused by individuals in and out of the marketing industry. Some believe it refers to a logo or font choice, while others an advertisement or website. The truth is, a brand is all of these things. And understanding this is an essential first step in creating an attractive and strategically informed visual identity.
Bring Your Brand Up-to-Date
The best way to update your brand and boost your visibility is to work with an experienced graphic designer to create eye-catching materials. At Creatitive, we’re here to help. Our full-service graphic design team will work with you to create outstanding and eye-catching materials that support your company’s mission and vision. Schedule a consultation and get a free quote today.