Branding Vs. Designing: Key Differences Everyone Needs To Know

Ishita Choudhary

One of our biggest pet peeves as brand managers is how often, not only common people but even graphic designers and design agencies, interchange and confuse the terms ‘Branding’ and ‘Designing’ with one another. It sets us off everytime we talk to or review one and see ‘Branding’ on their portfolios and resumes. And it’s not just a few, almost every graphic designer and design agency we’ve ever met has made this mistake.

Hence, here we are, addressing this issue and hoping there are more people like us out there who are bothered by this.

So, what’s branding?

Branding is the art and science of creating a perception in your audience’s minds. It’s no rocket science but it is a calculated effort which makes it a sort of science.

And what’s designing, you ask?

Simply put, designing is an element of the branding process which you use to create a brand identity.

Louis Vuitton
Louis Vuitton

Let us explain.

What is the one thing that comes to mind when you think of a brand? Any brand. The logo, right? That’s a designing tool. Similarly, your font, color palette, visual language or voice, typography, etc. are all elements of design. The building block of a brand, if you will. Good branding is often responsible for the success of a brand. It includes various functions such as brand strategy, brand marketing, communication, customer service, brand positioning, etc. Designing is another very important element of branding. It includes everything from your logo design to your brand visuals, brand collaterals and brand experiences. However, bad design does not necessarily mean a bad brand and will not lead to its complete failure in the market. How well these design elements work in harmony with the other aforementioned brand functions and their seamless cohesion is what defines the success or failure of your branding efforts and ultimately the brand.

A lot of design agencies and graphic designers claim to provide branding services when in actuality, they only do a small part without contributing to the higher level strategizing that goes behind building and making a brand stand out. It includes, but is not limited to, outlining brand

messages such as it’s mission, vision, ethics, guidelines, brand hierarchy, brand architecture, brand’s promise, etc.

To simplify all the tattletale, branding is the process of establishing a reputation in your customer’s mind. Designing is a tool you use to make sure it looks pretty, bold and defined. The key to success is identifying the difference between the two or working with someone who does. Because much like a building, your brand might take a tumble too if it’s built on a weak foundation, no matter how strong it looks on the outside.