Graphic Design vs. A Proper Brand: Do You Know the Difference?
You can put nice clothes on a bad person, but that doesn’t change the fact that he’s a bad person.
In that same vein, some think graphic design is merely a matter of taking a message from a company and making it look handsome for display without strategy and thought. In other words, they create a logo and call that their “brand.”
Wrong. This is why much of advertising has a bad rap: because it’s BS.
The importance of graphic aesthetics in advertising and marketing should reach far beyond attractive visuals alone. Good design is a small part of an entire brand, because only a complete brand creates an experience with a company that stays symbiotic.
A brand is not just your logo.
A brand is not merely a visual identity.
A brand is more than the product.
A brand ends up being what they say it is, not what you say it is.
Building a quality, complete brand starts on the inside and then works its way out. A team must be committed to the strategy of a brand before design can even be approached. A solid graphic design can strengthen that sense of commitment and bring pride to the table, but it will never fully encompass a brand’s message.
Quality design should have the back of a team through the website, advertisements, uniforms… If a happy and healthy workplace exists, it’s because a team bands together behind not just the credo, but the designs that represent the credo.
Your Real Competition
Today, competition doesn’t come from other companies. It comes from clutter. When you give buyers too much to choose from, they become paralyzed. Think about it: a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention.
Marketing clutter comes in five forms:
Graphic Design vs. The Clutter
Good graphic design is a quick way to bust through the clutter. Unique, quality designs with strategic media placement will surely get attention. A logo, for example, only has a fraction of a second to win over clutter. It should be simple and poignant.
But is that attention kept? How is loyalty built?
Reasons to Invest in a Proper Brand
A misunderstanding is only one reason companies forego branding development and strategy. The other--and perhaps more common reason--is that investing in a brand takes a lot of time and money. When done correctly, your investment is exactly that: money spent with the promise of later profit. How is that later profit earned?
To charge a premium
It’s no secret that brand-name products get to command a premium over generics. Good brands create loyalty, and we all know that it’s far cheaper to serve and delight existing customers than it is to go out and find new ones.
Brands change and evolve and need to adapt to their environment. Companies should update, change, or improve their identities every seven to ten years to stay on top and not be eaten.
Got Big? Rebrand to reflect the larger, more sophisticated business in order to compete with the other more established brands.
Brand investing adds value to a business. The possible sale of a business will be bolstered by the investment in a professional brand. This is brand equity. Same thing applies to a potential franchise.
Defining what a brand stands for, the promise made, and the personality that is conveyed, goes further than the logo, colors, and tag line. A brand lives in the day-to-day interaction with everybody. It’s the dialogue and images delivered on your website, proposals, and campaigns. It’s the way employees interact with customers. All of this influences the customer’s opinion of a company versus its competition. Alongside the logo should stand well-planned characteristics in lexicon and visual aesthetics. How a company speaks and looks across all public relation needs to be coherent.
Naming & tag line development
Brand values and spirit
Design or restyling of logos, typography and color palettes
Copywriting: tone and voice
Visual language and photography style
Templates for stationery or often used applications
- Social Media
- Targeting Ads
It All Comes Down To...
The bottom line is that a professional brand is worth more and should be developed across the board through good customer service, fulfilling brand promises, meeting expectations, and consistent application of the well designed brand. Part of meeting those expectations is looking professional, and a professional brand does just that.