We’re walking through the difference between graphic design, brand design and brand strategy, as well as when to hire the right one.
If you spend any time online, you’ve probably seen the titles graphic designer and brand designer and brand strategist thrown around like confetti. But, aren’t they one in the same? And for goodness sake, how do you know which one is going to be a good fit for YOU?
Because there are so many options floating around, it can be a little (or a lot) confusing. So, let’s break it down – how do you know when it’s time to hire a brand strategist, a brand designer or a graphic designer?
Brand Designer Versus Graphic Designer
In most instances, especially in the digital space, brand designer and graphic designer can be interchangeable. More often than not, the service provider will identify with one title over another.
But, when talking about the actual work being done, the two can be vastly different.
Graphic design work can be anything from posters, to package design to invitations to logos to custom patterns. And, it can also signify the process – graphic designers apply the basic design principles to create something. Generally, they approach the project with the design and aesthetic at the forefront.
Brand design on the other hand, often means creating visuals on behalf of a brand. Yes, the aesthetic is important but maintaining the brand’s integrity and adhering to the brand experience is at the forefront. Whether the designer is creating something from scratch or creating a few marketing collateral pieces, the brand standards take precedence.
Need invitations created for your wedding shower? Look to a graphic designer.
Need a new logo and style guide for your business? Check out a brand designer.
Disclaimer: just because someone doesn’t use the title doesn’t mean they aren’t capable of doing the work. For example, a very talented friend and brand designer identifies first as a graphic designer because she does a variety of projects, not just brand design. What I’m saying is this isn’t the be-all-end-all.
What About Brand Strategy?
A brand strategist is someone who focuses on the overall communication plan for your brand. They aren’t necessarily hands-on with the creative work. They’re more focused on the behind the scenes planning of getting your brand out there.
Want to know even more? Check out this blog post.
Looking at All Three
When working with a strategic brand designer, the brand strategy (the communication plan for your brand) is the filter for how the project moves along.
Yes, you can work with a graphic designer and get a beautiful logo. There is absolutely no shame in that game. However, more often than not, you’re the expert on your brand. You tell them what you want and they create based on those parameters.
The difference of bringing on a branding strategist to craft your brand is that before even diving into the design, you get clear on how your brand will be communicated and what it stands for. The strategy brings intention to the look of your brand – it guides the design of your logo, the fonts, the colors, the photography… you get the idea 🙂
So, who is the best fit for you?
First and foremost, I always recommend meeting with the candidate and seeing how your personalities mesh. Especially if you’re searching for someone to craft a new brand for your business. It’s an intimate process and the stronger a connection you have with your designer, the more open you can be with them and the better the results will be.
My second recommendation? Do your due diligence. Ask about their experience and what the process is for the work. If you’re looking for branding help, make sure the strategy is taken into account. If you need templates created for your Instagram grid, have a clear brand style guide so you know the standards will be adhered to.
At the end of the day, go with what feels good, titles be damned.
Happy branding 🙂
All my best,
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