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The High Tide Journal


Brand Strategy vs Brand Design – What’s the Difference?

When you think of branding, what comes to mind? Most people would rely on visuals such as logos or colors to describe branding. However, building a recognizable brand doesn’t start and end with a logo. Businesses have strategies behind virtually every choice they make regarding how they want their brand to be perceived. This includes how a business presents themselves online, the language they choose to use, and how they interact with their customers. These are the key differences between brand strategy and brand design.


Before you dive into the difference between brand strategy and brand design, I first want to clarify the word “branding.” In general, a brand is the overall vision/feeling of your business. This includes your visual identity, how employees interact with clients, your brand voice, website, etc. Overall, your branding should convey how your business is different from others in your industry.

Take Chick Fil A’s brand for example. When this brand is at the forefront of my mind, I’m not thinking about the logo. I couldn’t tell you the layout on the inside of the store or what font they’re using. BUT I can tell you that every time I visit a Chick Fil A, the friendly employees always make me smile. Compared to other fast-food chains like McDonald’s, Chick Fil A will beat their customer service every time. This emphasis on customers is part of their branding.

The most common questions to ask yourself when considering your business’ brand is: How do your customers feel when they interact with your business? What are people saying about your brand?

Branding will thread through every aspect of your business, and this is why it’s important to invest in a brand designer early to start building a recognizable brand early.

Brand Strategy

Brand strategy is what takes an idea to a viable business venture. It provides the who/what/why/where/how to clarify for your business. Before I begin the visual identity process for my branding clients, I always provide a questionnaire and 1v1 call in order to define their brand strategy. If there is a gap in the brand strategy, I will clarify everything during the 1v1 calll. In my final brand deliverables to clients, I describe brand strategy as the brand soul.

If a brand was a person, their appearance would be brand design, and their personality would be the brand strategy.

My process for brand strategy includes going in-depth with the following: the brand’s mission, vision, target audience, competitors, brand voice, and unique selling proposition. All of these aspects will come together to influence the visual identity of the brand.

Brand Design

Brand design is what most people think of when they hear the term ‘branding.’ These are the visual elements of a business – the logo, color palette, fonts.

Your brand design will be influenced by the strategy. Not only do you want to create a brand that’s in alignment with you and your goals, but you also want to ensure your brand will connect with your target audience as well.

Brand collateral design can expand into social media templates, websites, ebooks, merchandise, and more.

All of this collateral, visuals, and strategy come together to create a memorable and distinguishable brand. If you’re a service provider without a visual brand identity or solid brand strategy, contact me to learn more about my branding options.

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