Business Branding vs Graphic Design: Understand the Difference

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The Difference Between Graphic Design & Business Branding

The Key Difference Between Graphic Design and Business Branding

Branding
October 14, 2022
9 minutes

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Graphic design is the cornerstone of business branding. How to brand your business and incorporate the best graphic design elements in your brand? Here’s the breakdown of everything you need to know about the role of graphic design in building a strong brand!

Brands are everywhere. With social media, even private people have their brands. But, business branding isn’t quite as simple as creating an aesthetic moodboard. Brand image is something you have to envision and build from the start.

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Creating a strong brand often requires the effort of several people. Naturally, the founder has the most say in company branding, but a good leader always has their mind open to new ideas.

What is business branding?

In simplest terms, business branding is how you express your company’s business identity and idea. It’s the image your company projects, and what people associate it with. It’s usually the first thing that comes to mind when someone thinks about your brand.

Business branding is the message your company sends into the world. It’s the way your company is identified. Naturally, you want to put your best foot forward. However, a brand consists of different elements.

Brand identity and brand image

Now, people tend to use the terms brand identity and brand image interchangeably. While they are closely related, there are a few key differences.

Brand identity is your vision for your brand. Elements of a brand’s identity include the name and logo, as well as its mission, vision and values.

On the other hand, brand image is how other people perceive your brand. It often includes the reputation you build through contact with your clients and other companies. Your brand image is what emotions your brand elicits in other people. Naturally, you should try and make these associations as positive as possible.

How to brand a business?

A brand must represent your company or product in its entirety. A good brand is equally important for a huge global company or a small business.

The success of your company often depends on whether it stands out. The best way to ensure it is building a strong brand identity. That can be achieved through many things, whether it’s color, a logo, or even a particular product.

Branding your business is all about playing to your strengths. It’s important to identify the strongest attribute of your company and make it the centerpiece of your brand identity. There are several things you need to consider when creating a brand. Learn all about branding a small business here.

Find a niche

There are very few products that have a universal audience. You have a product aimed at a certain demographic and the best way to start branding is to identify your audience’s interests. Market research and focus groups will be your best friends for this.

How you position yourself on the market is directly related to your target customers. If your preferred clients are businesses and professionals, your brand should reflect the ideas and values relevant to your audience.

Give solutions to a problem

People love things that make their life easier. The most successful brands are the ones offering solutions to specific issues. These issues can be anything, from ride-hailing to file compression.

For example, Dropbox has revolutionized file sharing by solving the problem of file size limit that most emails have. It identified a real problem that many people come across in their daily lives.

When you create something that offers quality service and simple solutions you need a brand that will reflect that. Lean into the idea of problem-solving when you’re developing your company branding.

Find what makes you different

Chances are, you’re not coming to an entirely unpopulated market. There are probably other companies vying for a similar clientele. So, you need to make your brand as memorable as possible. This is especially important in small business branding, as it’s much tougher to get your name out there.

You should always research the competition. Find out what kind of service they’re offering and what is potentially lacking. Focus on what you do for the customer that others don’t. This is what makes your brand a better choice than the rest, so make it clear from the beginning.

Create a stunning visual brand

People are visual creatures. We first react to visual stimuli. There is no way you can effectively communicate with your audience without a memorable visual identity. It’s what ties your business identity to the brand in the mind of your customers.

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Studies have shown that a logo is the most recognizable brand asset a company can have. It’s your brand’s calling card, and it reflects your company’s identity and values. Visuals are what make your brand present and recognizable. Good graphic design is imperative in creating a logo, as well as other pieces of business branding.

In the following section, we’ll explore the relationship between graphic design and branding in detail.

Graphic Design and Branding

Graphic design is the essential building block of business branding. There are, of course, abstract ideas and associations you want your brand to project, but in conveying them you will need the help of a graphic designer.

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You might wonder how graphic design plays into branding your business. Whether it’s a website, logo, merchandise, or the product itself, it will need a design. So where does branding stop for graphic design to take over? Here are the main differences between graphic design and branding.

Branding is the idea, design is the tool

Graphic design is what makes everything related to branding possible. Not only that, graphic design is what often sets the tone of the entire brand. Ideas are all well and good, but they need someone to implement them.

Without design, branding is a bit like an elevator pitch. It might get some people hooked, but to move forward, it’s going to need something more tangible (e.g. a presentation for potential investors).

Design is a subset of branding

In this day and age, people still confuse logo design with a brand. In reality design (and logo design) are merely subsets of company branding. Designing without an idea of a brand identity is as difficult as it is pointless.

The process of creating that all-important logo certainly is crucial, but there are other elements to a brand, as well. Branding design consists of many elements, which should be compiled into a brand’s visual guide. You will need great visual solutions for all these elements. Although they are quite different in form, all of them must follow the same idea. They must look like one cohesive unit when you put them together.

You must make sure that things like fonts and color match the same kind of vibe you’re going for. For example, strong, aggressive fonts like Futura or Komet are difficult to combine with delicate pastels.

Aesthetic vs functionality

Design is applied art. Any design serves a specific function, as well as an aesthetic one. In the case of brand design, that function is multifaceted. Designing a brand is all-encompassing and if one element of branding isn’t up to snuff, the whole brand suffers.

Designs for a brand can be beautiful and purposeful. While branding begins with your ideas and preferences, design should always be user-centric.

Tips for creating a memorable visual identity

Good graphic design will make it easy for people to understand the messages you’re sending out to the world. Here are some brand identity tips to keep in mind.

Be consistent

As in many other things consistency is vital in branding. A brand is something that will be around for a long time. Once established, it can be difficult to pivot in a different direction.

That’s why you need to iron out all the details. If you add something later, it mustn’t look like an afterthought. It needs to follow the same general idea. It must be on-brand.

Take the new logo for Warner Bros for instance. The logo design debuted in 2019. and most people saw it as a downgrade. Gone was the classic golden shield and lettering, and it was replaced by flat colors which were underwhelming, to say the least. It fails to convey the key messages associated with the brand: opulence, high-profile production, and excitement.

warner bros logos.png Source: informator

Be clear

You don’t want any confusion surrounding your brand. Make sure your clients and customers can understand your message from the get-go.

Make sure to use such terms, language, and symbols that can be understood by most people. It’s best to do thorough research and check on any piece of branding you create.

Be concise

Long-winded explanations are boring and hard to follow. People’s attention spans are growing shorter by the year. So, your brand’s message needs to be as succinct as possible.

Short and sweet is the way to go in business branding. A snappy tagline will do a world of good. People will remember it more easily and it will make your brand more recognizable.

Learn how to use informal communication to attract customers

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Getting help from the pros

Unless you are a graphic designer yourself, chances are you’ll need to hire one. Small business branding is no different than branding for a big corporation. A founder must have a vision for their brand, however, a graphic designer is invaluable and necessary during this process. After all, what is business branding without all the visual elements?

Still, hiring a graphic designer can be pricey for a small business or startup. More importantly, when you consider how many graphic design elements are needed for branding your business from the ground up, you may think a single designer is never going to be enough.

Luckily, an easy and affordable graphic design solution is right at your fingertips. ManyPixels is an unlimited graphic design service, which means we handle all your graphic design needs at a fixed monthly rate.

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Guest Writer: Julija Popovic

October 14, 2022

I hold two degrees in history, and am currently working on a project of creating a digital library of Medieval manuscripts. I still like to have a foot in the 21st century though, so I write freelance about my other big passion, art and design. All Lord of the Rings references and puns I make are intentional.