What Is Branding Anyways?

"Branding" isn't really a thing. 

What? Isn't that what you do?

Wellll, not technically. Let me explain...

A brand is a noun - it's a thing. You can't do "brand-ing" or "brand" a company because it's not a verb, not in this sense anyways. However, it's currently the most recognizable term in our culture and market for what brand designers actually do, so for the time being, it's what we have to use. A more accurate term for what we're doing would be identity design. 

Think of it like this.

There's a vase of flowers sitting on a shelf. The vase is the identity of your brand [the visuals] and the flowers are your brand itself. The brand is the substance - but it needs a container to support and define it. A brand is not a logo. A brand exists with or without an identity design, but without an identity design - your brand is the same as a bunch of flowers, knocked over, strewn across the floor. They're still pretty [you're still good at what you do,] but no one wants to show off their flowers by throwing them on the floor [people won't take your company seriously.]

They want the flowers in the vase on the shelf. It's the same for your brand. People want to work with businesses that have a strong, cohesive and recognizable brand. That's what tells their subconscious that you're reliable and reputable and that's what builds trust.

That's where I come in. I help you take your brand [the story, experience, services, personality, quirks, etc. of your business] and give it a container. That container is all of the visuals that represent your brand [logo, color palette, typefaces, patterns, website etc.]

But, the design itself isn't what makes your brand strong and cohesive on its own. Establishing those design rules and using them over and over again creates consistency and stability. The longer you do that, the more cohesive your brand becomes. The longer you practice business in a way that aligns with your brand's mission and values, the stronger your brand becomes. Those two things combined create the experience of your brand. You need both. 

Another way of looking at branding, is thinking about the difference between a house and a home. One is a thing, another is a place. A house by itself is just a house - a thing. But when you add a family, their belongings and their memories, it becomes a home - a place.

Much like your house [the identity] would be just a house without your belongings, your family, your memories, etc. [the brand,] your logo would be just a logo without your mission, client experience, services, story, etc.

The brand is the most important part of the relationship, but much like your family and belongings, without an identity or "house" you don't have a place to call home. You need both. When you combine your brand with a visual identity - you create a strong, cohesive, recognizable, relatable experience that your customer feels comfortable coming back to time and time again because it feels like home.

That's really just scratching the surface. The topic of "branding" and what it is along with defining what a brand is itself are both widely debated and talked about within the industry amongst designers, strategists, etc. Just like you can't quite put your finger on what makes a house a home, it's difficult to put into words what a brand is because it's different for everyone, but you know it when you feel it. 

If we were to ask people how they defined "home" we'd get all kinds of responses, but we'd still understand what they were getting at, even if our own definition was different. That's how I look at "branding" and brands. There are so many ways to define it and so many different brands out there that appeal to all kinds of people. We couldn't possibly put one definition on it, but in the end, even though we might not be able to give it a single definition, or our definition changes over time - just like home, we know what it looks like when we see it because of how it makes us feel.

I look forward to writing more on this topic in the future because I find it fascinating. I love how "branding" is this love child of design and psychology! It's the combination of two of my great passions and I'm excited that I get to continue working alongside passionate business owners by helping them design // build their brand experience!

If you'd like to learn more about my design services, check them out here. Want to take this reader // writer relationship to the next level and work together?! AWESOME! Email me here, tell me all about your business & your goals and let's get this party started!

As always - Love & Blessings,


P.S. Stay tuned for the release of my portfolio // past clients. I'm SO excited to FINALLY share them with you! They'll be coming out one at a time over the course of the next couple of months, so keep checking back. :)