Three Key Differences Between Graphic Design and Branding 

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When considering the terms ‘branding’ and ‘graphic design’ many people only think of them in similar terms. Don’t allow yourself to fall into the trap that these two are interchangeable, especially when it comes to the running of your business. Before you hire someone for graphic design, make sure you’re considering branding.

What is Branding? What is Graphic Design? 

Branding and graphic design go hand-in-hand. According to, branding is “the marketing practice of creating a name, symbol, or design that identifies and differentiates a product from other products.” Consider the example of Coca-Cola. They have some of the best and most recognizable branding in the world but the brand involves their packaging, logo, advertisements, and more.

Graphic design, according to Merriam-Webster, is “the art or professional of visual communication that combines images, words, and ideas to convey information to an audience.” This refers to the pieces of art and information that all work together to build a piece of collateral, like logos, banners, billboards, flyers, and more. To follow through with the example of Coca-Cola, graphic design is used in the creation of their branding. For example, someone designed the labels on the cans all the way to the logo on the trucks. A large organization like Coca-Cola has entire teams of graphic designers working for their business.

The Differences Between Graphic Design and Branding 

If you are hearing the words graphic design and branding used interchangeably, you are not getting a cohesive brand strategy. A company that only offers you graphic design is just giving you a piecemeal strategy. Graphic design is a piece of branding. It is as simple as that! 

To break it down further, there are three key differences between graphic design and branding: 

1. Graphic design is one small part of branding. If you think of branding as the center of a web, graphic design is one line going off of that web. Other parts of the web would include customer service, product offerings, user experience, and more. As the digital age evolves, the definition of branding grows.

2. Graphic design is a profession while branding is an entire industry. In the world of business, graphic designers solve one professional role within an organization. Branding encompasses an entire field of professionals including graphic designers. To think of it vertically, a graphic designer may work for a larger branding team. 

3. Graphic design only uses visual devices while branding encompasses other mediums. The only way to convey information graphically is with visuals. Yet, branding involves many intangibles like culture, reputation, and customer sentiment. Graphic design is an essential in branding, but it only makes use of visual devices. Branding includes everything customers get from your business, from products to personality.

You Need More Than Graphic Design 

An agency should not make one simple logo for you, or only solve one minor visual issue for your brand. A true partner in growing your business should address your overall branding. Don’t settle for a company that only considers one piece of the customer experience. 

Companies are defined by their branding, so spending time on yours now will pay off in the long-run (just as Coca-Cola). Branding is composed of strategic steps and action items that help grow your business into what you want it to become. More than anything remember this – before you hire someone for graphic design, make sure you’re considering branding. 

You should hire a branding agency to craft your entire brand, including the logo. 


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