Strategic branding

Graphic Design vs. Branding

Sam Frentzel-Beyme Follow Managing Partner & Strategy Director

The Short of It

  • Graphic design is a form of visual problem solving that uses color, layout, typography (fonts), illustration and photography to convey information.
  • Branding looks at how organizations can first of all build competitive products, services and companies through effective positioning in the marketplace.
  • Today’s organizations are incredibly complex with numerous points of contact where consumers and employees can interact with the brand.

Graphic design is a form of visual problem solving that uses color, layout, typography (fonts), illustration and photography to convey information for a client to meet a specific communications objective.

While originally focused on print, graphic design now encompasses a broader range that includes the web, product, environmental (signage), and even experiential (events). At the end of the day, if your customers are going to see something related to your organization, whether it be a logo, a brochure, or a website, you’ll end up needing to use graphic design expertise at some point.

One thing to remember about graphic design, though, is that it is historically an extension of the arts. On the one hand, this means that there is a rich tradition and long body of knowledge with regards to use of color, space, typography and art. On the other hand, however, it also means that there has been a traditional distance between graphic design and the now business world in which it predominantly operates. The complaint by businesses that designers want art as opposed to sales, while a huge oversimplification, does hint at some elements of truth.

Branding diverges from graphic design in that in looks at how organizations can first of all build competitive products, services and companies through effective positioning in the marketplace. It’s really about focusing on the business first.

If we think of strong brands, we usually think of companies that 1) have been around a while, or 2) have exhibited tenacious consistency in doing what they say. While the former is simply a result of history, the latter reflects a laser-like focus on consistency across the board. This sense of urgent focus is really at the heart of branding.

And that is really where the challenge is for branding. Today’s organizations are incredibly complex with numerous points of contact where consumers and employees can interact with the brand. These “touchpoints” need to not only be understood, but be planned for in ways that over time will create a cohesive message that strengthens the image of the organization.

At Diligent Rocket, we recognize that organizations compete in relatively chaotic environments. And we believe that compete is the right word. Everyday customers make decisions on which organizations will get their dollars and support. The choice to support one day cannot be assumed the next. It has to be earned with each and every act of focus.

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