Branding Design vs Brand Image: What’s the Difference

Learn to distinguish between terms brand design, image, identity and branding, and how each of these impacts the success of your brand.

Brand Design
May 15, 2024

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Learn what the terms branding design and brand image are, how they differ, and how to develop them.

Since design is usually related to a visual aspect of things, it’s pretty common to confuse it with the term brand image. However, the two are quite different and today we’re going to show you how.

What is brand design?


What are the other key terms connected to branding?

In short, brand design refers to all the elements of a brand’s visual identity. This includes:

  • Logo design
  • Typography
  • Color palette
  • Web design

And other elements that are needed to create a visual brand identity. It’s a collection of visual elements that help you build brand recognition.

The person tasked with creating these elements is called a brand identity designer.

How to create brand design?

Creating branding design is a complex process that involves a lot of research and different design skills. Although you might be tempted to DIY this task, letting a professional designer take care of it is advised for two main reasons.

One, you won’t have to spend money on rebranding, in case you realize your design doesn’t reflect your brand properly.

And secondly, it will help you build a better brand image since well-designed assets will reflect the key values and associations you want people to have with your brand.

So, how to do it right? Here are a few key steps.

  1. Come up with the brand story and mission statement: Before you start creating a visual branding identity, make sure you know what you want it to depict. A mission statement and brand vision will help you filter out the styles and characteristics that don’t correspond to your values.
  2. Find your unique value proposition: Once you know exactly what your brand is all about, make sure there is something that sets it apart from the rest. This will also have to be reflected in your design.
  3. Design a logo and visual identity:  The logo’s colors will be the basis of the rest of your color palette, and from there on you can decide on a fitting secondary font (presuming that the primary one will be on the logo itself), patterns and the rest of the elements.
  4. Create the brand guide: All the visual assets connected to your brand should be compiled in a brand style guide, which you can share with anyone creating designs for your company.


What is a brand image?

On the other side of this is a brand image, which reflects the way people perceive your brand.

It’s the psychological and emotional connection and responses people have to your brand’s visual assets and messaging.

Although ultimately the brand image is ultimately formed by your target audience, creating a brand strategy is necessary to ensure the actual image matches the kind of brand you want to create in the long term. This is the job of a brand strategist.

How to create a positive brand image?

It’s fairly straightforward to assume that if people have positive feelings about the brand, they’re likely to become returning customers. But the stats that support this are even more illuminating.

  • The likelihood of selling to an existing customer is 60-70%, compared to5-20% for new customers (Altfeld).
  • Brands that are perceived as making the world a better place outperform the stock market by 134% (Vivendi).
  • US customers share positive brand experiences with an average of 11 people and negative with 15 (Business Wire).
  • 77% of customers say they’ve stayed loyal to certain brands for 10+ years.

In other words, a positive perception of your brand leads to returning customers that bring more revenue for a smaller cost. So how to build a positive brand image? Here are 3 helpful tips.

  1. Respond to customers’ needs: You may be tempted to introduce a very cool and innovative feature to your service or product, but if people don’t need it, or don’t see value in it, you’re certainly on the wrong track. From the start of your branding process to making sure you stay competitive on the market, always gather information and feedback from your customers about what is most important to them and deliver on that front.
  2. Build credibility: Nothing can harm a brand image as much as a broken promise. It is much better to market a unique value proposition that is attainable, rather than overpromising simply to try and one-up the competition. In addition to that, credibility is also built by showing that your company doesn’t just care about profit. Launch campaigns that are close to your brand and relevant to your audience, and try to help these causes. Show the faces of your company and how you take care of your workers and nurture a company culture.
  3. Provide excellent customer support: Everyone makes mistakes, but it’s how you recover from them that counts: 80% of customers will forgive a bad experience if they rate the customer service as “very good”. Ideally, you will also embrace a multichannel approach and allow customers to reach you via different channels, such as email, social media, chatbots etc.

Brand design vs brand image

The essential difference between the two comes down to perspective. Whereas brand design (as well as identity) refer to how you see your brand, brand image reflects the way your customers perceive it.


Aside from these two, the terms brand, branding and brand identity are also commonly confused, so let’s quickly clear out what they mean.

  • Brand: a name, design or symbol that distinguishes a company’s products or services from the rest.
  • Branding: the marketing process of building a brand; coming up with the brand purpose and design.
  • Brand identity: your brand design elements together with your mission, vision and values (what you do, why, for whom and how).

Even though you’ll often find them used interchangeably the words brand design and identity actually mean different things. Design is a part of your brand identity along with other nonvisual elements such as a communication style, key messages and the values of a business (e.g. ethical production, inclusivity, etc.).



There’s no way you can create a successful brand image, without a clear notion of brand identity. While brand identity is often confused with branding design, the visual side is just one part of understanding what your brand is all about: what it does, why and for whom.

If you have that side covered, it should be much easier to get your customers to have positive thoughts and feelings associated with your company. In turn, a good brand image will build credibility in your company and create a loyal customer base.

Having lived and studied in London and Berlin, I'm back in native Serbia, working remotely and writing short stories and plays in my free time. With previous experience in the nonprofit sector, I'm currently writing about the universal language of good graphic design. I make mix CDs and my playlists are almost exclusively 1960s.

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