Being a graphic designer is fun. It’s that kind of work where you don’t have to wear uncomfortable uniforms or formal attires in a normal day in the office. You are as free as a bird whenever you brainstorm for a project because every ideas are good ideas. But most importantly, you get to help businesses achieve their goals – visually. But Whenever somebody ask me what my job is, they’re always left with blank faces. As if they are waiting for a more elaborate answer to “what is a brand designer? and what is branding?”.
It is a normal scenario to me to have a conversation like this:
“So, where do you work?”
“I work in a brand agency. I’m a designer”
“Oh. You design stuff? Like, clothes?”
“no, I’m a brand designer”
“Well, I make sure businesses comply with their branding to achieve specific goals and influence consumers’ decision when making purchases.”
“I help businesses.”
“Oh! So you’re a businessman!”
Well, yea. Technically I can be a businessman, a marketer, a brand manager per se. But my line of work as a designer, specifically a brand designer, revolves more than just that.
So, what really is branding?
Let me share a brief of history here. The term was derived from the Old Norse word brandr or “to burn,” and refers to the practice of marking livestock, which dates back more than 4,000 years to the Indus Valley. Throughout history, branding has surely evolved — from farmers claiming their property, to artisans claiming credit for their work, to factories claiming their products, to companies claiming their products were better than others.
What we brand, how we brand it, and why we brand it has changed. But branding in the twenty-first century is still about taking ownership, and not just for property and products. It’s about owning what your company values and represents, owning up to your shortcomings, and earning customer trust and loyalty through your words, your actions, and your stories.
Most people might say that branding is a logo. And I will stop you right now. Branding. is. not. just. the. logo. Although It plays a big part, branding > logo. Branding is how the product or service talks to you as a consumer.
As Yo Santosa believes, brands have personality. It is how they advertise, how they talk, what their shop looks like, what their colors are, what imagery do they use, what their tone of voice is, and the list goes on. It is the product’s personality that the consumers feel connected to. Most of the time, It is also the reason why these consumers chose a specific product over the other.
Take Apple as an example. Their brand projects a minimalist, intelligent, and innovative personality. It come across all of their marketing collaterals and adverts. It is visible in their copy writing, in their imagery, and their overall graphic design works. Maintaining this helped the company position itself as the trendsetter, the leader in the industry.
The logo and its applications, on the other hand, are just a part of branding. It is often called “Visual Identity” or “Corporate Identity”. It often includes the logo, its application on the letterhead, business cards, envelopes and so on. (I will fully go into these in the future.)
To make it simple, branding is:
1. Not just the logo.
2. The way a product or service “talks” to you as a consumer.
3. The overall character or personality of a product or service.
4. The emotion you feel about a certain product or service
Personally, I consider brand design, or branding as many people call it, as the soul of any businesses. Without the soul, one has no personality, no characteristic, no life. After all, people fall in love with the personality, not the product.
These are some of my thoughts about branding. How about you? Comment below!