Branding Is not Brand Design

May 12, 2015

11:00 am

In today's global market, design is very important, especially consumers' eyes. Therefore, brands take on huge efforts to deliver their best possible image, in a way that will appeal to consumers – not only the ones they already have, but to new ones as well.

However, sometimes there can be a certain degree of confusion regarding some of the terms related to a brand's visual image. Branding is one of them, with the meaning of this concept being often misinterpreted, but let's take a closer look on this subject.

First, we should split and clarify some of the concepts. A VIP (Visual Identity Project) is a project aiming to construct the brand's visual identity, meaning that it is the way a brand visually communicates. It is worth noticing that the VIP is not the only visual manifestation of the brand identity, given that it also communicates verbally. A VIP usually involves elements like colors, typography, visual patterns and the effective graphic mark (a symbol or logo).

On the other hand, a branding project is a management and construction project of a brand's image, which means building its values and reputation based on brand equity (the brand's aggregated value), share of mind (presence of the brand in the public's mental map) and brand awareness (public knowledge of the brand).

Shobha Ponnappa, a Digital Marketing Consultant from the UK, says that “a brand that mistakenly thinks its promise will resonate with consumers forever will lose the battle of relevance”, meaning that it is vital that the branding of a brand gets renewed from time to time, while its visual identity can be kept throughout the years (take the example of Coca-Cola).

It can then be concluded that branding (at first) has little to do with the development of a VIP, but two reasons lead many people to mix these concepts. The first is that many of the early branding concepts and development offices emerged being specialized in corporate visual identity, which caused the VIP to be developed to go along the brand's existing identity.

The second reason has to do with the fact that the image of a brand is formed through the contact the public has with it, either through their services, advertising, point of sales, quality of products, word of mouth, among others – but also, of course, through its visual identity. But visual identity is present in almost all points of sale, therefore taking an important role in the process to materialize the personality and the values of the brand's identity.

As they are usually paired together, there is much confusion between “branding” and “brand design” – they are in fact different, even though many people still look for one when, actually, they want the other.

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25 y/o, born and living in Portugal. Majored in Biology, but tech and computers were always a passion. Wrote for sites like Windows.Appstorm and MakeTechEasier.