Branding & Identity Design: is there a difference?

Media everywhere now is littered with phrases like branding, brand identity, brand design, logo design, and brand strategy. As business owners it’s easy to become confused by these terms or even overwhelmed. Many of these phrases could, and typically are, used to describe similar or the same things. This can be confusing to say the least.

brand identity design graphic

What is a brand?

A brand is the external perception of a company or business.

A brand is what people think of a company. It’s the business reputation, influenced by values and actions of the company. A brand is made up many things. From products and services, to what articles and media say about them. A brand includes a logo, business cards, website, social media, and anything else that people will use to discover and interact with a company. Anything that adds or subtracts from perception of a business, that’s a brand.

Branding is the conscious effort to influence the perception of a business.

brand identity guideline booklet

What is a brand identity?

A brand identity is a defined set, or collection of visually designed elements.

Sometimes referred to as brand identity, corporate identity, or business identity. A brand identity can consist of many things. These are a set of visual elements. Designed to distinguish a company or business from others and help enable easy identification and distinction in that company’s space. Common items that make up a brand identity may include:

  • Logo
  • Colors
  • Fonts/Typography
  • Business cards
  • Letterhead
  • Website
  • Company uniform
  • Social media and more…

A brand style guide, or identity guideline will record and list these things along with correct logo use, colors, fonts, and typography. This is so anyone who needs reference the brand identity can stay on the correct track for brand consistency.

What a brand identity designer does, and why hire one?

Identity designers use strategy and expertise to design the visual assets of a brand. Typically an identity designer is responsible for creating logos, color palettes, typographic rules and overall style for a brand. This usually includes the visual design of business cards, letterheads, marketing materials, and more. An identity designer gives visual cohesion to brand assets. They help influence perception of a company and its products with strategic and consistent design.

Why hire one?

Hiring a brand identity designer has many benefits, if you’re a small business starting out, or you’ve been around for years. Creating a solid visual identity early on, or upgrading and refreshing your current look brings consistency and strategy to your positioning.

If your business is in a competitive industry, visual aesthetics and physical ones can create ideal or not so ideal perceptions of a brand. If you have new competition, a dated identity, or new audience and direction. You may want to consider looking at options for a brand identity designer.

Not every business may need the expertise of a specialist designer. It’s likely that if the majority of your business is from local clientele, you probably don’t need an identity design professional. Though, there are many variables which can factor into this. Ask yourself, do we need a brand identity designer?

A brand identity helps create…


Just because your business launched yesterday, doesn’t mean you need to look like it did. The right identity and good design can instill trust, stability and longevity in your audience.


Your brand’s voice and message come through loud and clear with good identity design. That consistency and experience customers get is memorable, and creates a lasting rapport and connection.


A powerful identity sets you apart from competitors, but good identity design also creates desire around your brand and products. You get stuck in your audiences’ mind and form a connection.

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