The word “Brand” is misunderstood and misused by people in and out of the industry. Some people think it means a new logo while others think of it as an advertisement. So what does the word “Brand” mean and how does it interact with graphic design? That may seem basic, but you’d be surprised by how many projects are stalled or ineffective by this lack of clarification. Understanding this distinction is a crucial first step in creating a visual identity that is both effective and meaningful.
When thinking about what makes a brand, it’s natural to start with the visual cues: logos, headers, business cards, websites. In truth, these elements sometimes are considered the skeleton of what makes a strong brand. So what makes up the other elements? The Soul of the brand?
To be clear, branding is the body, soul and skeleton of the business. It represents the beliefs, behaviors, and personality. It’s everything from how your customer support answers the phone to the philosophy of the business. Branding is the effort that a business entity makes to define who they are, and making that movement as deliberate and harmonious as possible.
Graphic design and branding are inextricably linked. When talking about branding, graphic design is just the visual elements i.e. ‘the look of a brand’. This makes graphic designers the creators of your visual identity. They ensure all visual communication is compelling, consistent and cohesive. Visual identity is the collective of visual components (including logo) that are used to represent a company, usually assembled into a visual framework that companies can use to ensure consistent application across all company communication channels. Many times assembled into a branding guide that will assist in maintaining that consistency even if some of the components are farmed out such as marketing collateral or signage.
A key part of the visual identity is the logo, which is where graphic designers transform the personality of a brand into a tangible visual solution. Aesthetics mean nothing without a solid strategy, and a solid strategy means nothing if it can’t be expressed.
Why is knowing the difference important?
The differences between graphic design and branding are vital to ensure your brand investment is not misconstrued or misused. You don’t want to spend money and time developing an amazing logo if there is no real meaning behind it. It’s best to get branding right the first time as you don’t want customers getting the wrong impression or worse, no impression. However, the issue is not branding vs. graphic design, it’s about how they work hand-in-hand to convey meaning. Each brand element, including the visual, is part of an interconnected system that needs to support each other to truly connect with your customer.
At Paramount Signs, we are aware of the importance of each component when creating your visual expression of your brand. If you are in the efforts of creating a new brand or considering updating your current brand, give us a call for a free consultation.
We believe that getting you noticed is PARAMOUNT!