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Graphic Design Versus Branding

What is the difference between graphic design and branding?

Today’s world is defined by choices. Whatever be the product that we wish to buy, be it pins or planes, there are a variety of options available. How then does a customer make a decision?

Brand, branding and graphic design

The ‘brand’ of a company is the attribute that defines its unique identity. It represents not just the product itself, but also the company’s values and the bond shared with their clients.

For any product to be successful, it has to stand out. But it is not enough just to have a great product. It is just as important to effectively communicate it to the people so that they relate these qualities to our product and choose it over the market competitors!

Branding is the way we present our brand image. It is everything about the brand that is leveraged for marketing purposes. Marketing has no relevance without branding; if the brand image suffers an identity crisis, so does the product.

Graphic design, on the other hand, captures the essence of the brand and crafts features that customers can use to identify the product with. It includes the design of all visual elements representing the brand such as logos, symbols, texts, fonts, photos, videos, websites, brochures and even business cards.

It is a common misconception that branding and graphic design are one and the same. But branding came into existence long before graphic design. It encompasses a range of areas such as the company’s infrastructure, logistics, product packaging, online presence and customer experience. Graphic design is only a part of a company’s branding.

Importance of brand consciousness in graphic design

Only when the branding is clearly defined can a graphic designer produce a work that delivers the full impact. Otherwise what the company tries to say and what it ends up conveying becomes inconsistent with each other. It emits a mixed signal, as if the company itself is confused about its image; this apparent lack of focus can gravely hurt the brand image.

Let us take the logo, for example. It is a powerful visual tool for a company that triggers memories about the brand and tell the consumer all that they need to know about the quality of the product.

Imagine that we are about to launch a new fast-food chain. Without this brand awareness, a logo is designed with a brown color theme. We might find that our business finds it difficult to take off. Why? Because brown is a color that people unconsciously associate with rot, not an appealing quality in a restaurant! Looking around, we see that almost all food companies adopt a predominantly red, orange or yellow theme for their logos. Red is a color associated with appetite and can be easily spotted from a distance. These attributes make red logo a preferred choice in the food industry. 

When branding is clearly defined, graphic design can be a powerful tool, not just to convey the brand image, but strengthen it too!

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