What’s the difference between branding and graphic design

What’s the difference between branding and graphic design?

Graphic design is a part of branding, but it’s not the only part.

In this post, we’re going to break down these distinct, yet interrelated aspects of your company’s identity.

Why? Because it turns out 80% of entrepreneurs think branding and graphic design are the same thing. A misunderstanding that, at the very least, can cost you customers, and at the very worst could cost you your business.

So, to avoid either outcome and any in between, here’s what you need to know about branding and graphic design.


What is branding?

Your brand comprises every experience a person has with your company, tangible and impalpable.

It’s your logo, your colour palette, your tone of voice, your messaging, your signage, your values, your culture, your personality, your positioning and so on.

When all these elements are consistent and work together cohesively, you build a perception of your business that encourages trust. Your company is recognised as credible and dependable, making you someone your target audience wants to invest in.


What is graphic design?

You’ll notice we mentioned in the brand definition both tangible and impalpable elements. Well, the tangible elements are where graphic design comes in.

Graphic design gives your brand a material form. A solid brand strategy articulates exactly who a company is and it’s the graphic designer’s job to communicate this visually. Think logo, website banners, business cards, letterheads, advertising design, packaging and fonts; graphic design is about what your brand looks like.


How do branding and graphic design work together?

For a graphic designer to produce visuals that both reflect and add value to a company, they need to know that company’s goals, motivations, personality, positioning, values and everything else that makes it what it is.

All of which comes from branding.

Branding needs to inform your design, and design needs to express your brand.

This union is a means of materialising who you are as a company, creating consistency and infusing your visuals with meaning.

And when your company is consistent and stands for something, that’s when customers take notice, remember you and keep coming back.


Now you know the difference between branding and graphic design in theory, how do you put it into practice?

Getting these two to work in harmony isn’t straightforward. It takes research, strategy and a lot of back and forth. So, if you’re looking for any advice on how to get your branding and graphic design to work hand in hand, get in touch today.