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  • Writer's pictureAmy Goodall

Graphic Designer vs Brand Specialist. What's the difference?

Updated: May 28

A lot of people refer to me as a graphic designer, and I kind of get why. But in fact these two disciplines are really pretty different, ok there is some cross-over - but hopefully this post will help you if you're launching a brand that you have serious, big ambition for.

Because at the beginning, when you need your branding done - you do NOT need to be looking for a graphic designer. If that's who you end up hiring you could be in for some wasted time & money as they will be trying to design things for you without the blueprint to your brand essence.

The two roles are definitely not interchangeable which is an understandable & common mistake. Let me lead you through the important differences to make sure that you hire the right person at the right time in your business journey!

Graphic designers create visuals for communication.

So we’re talking things like:

  • Design graphics for social media

  • Flyer design

  • E-book or brochure design

  • PowerPoint templates

  • Business card design

  • Ad design

  • Product label design

They will need a copy of your brand blueprint or visual identity guidelines to enable them to design your marketing or advertising collateral and ensure it all looks perfectly on-brand.

If I had a pound for every time someone had asked me to design their product labels including an eye-catching, world-beating logo design I'd be a rich woman! But it highlights to me a gap in the understanding of the process - brand design must come first before any of the tangible or digital marketing assets get designed.

Otherwise how do you know how each piece should look? You could hire someone to design your business stationery and someone to design your packaging and they could both end up looking like completely separate brands.

Ya get me??

SO - if you have a product that you want to sell, and you want to make it a huge success and sell it for a long time, reaching lots of people who will love it & tell all their friends you need a BRAND SPECIALIST.

They are probably one of the first people you need to work with once you have your product ready.

And they (the good ones anyway🤓) will:

✅ Discuss every tiny detail of how your business came to be

✅ Fine comb the structure of what you sell, how you plan to sell it, where you’ll sell it & to who

✅ MOST importantly - delve into WHY you have made it?

✅ They’ll talk you through & craft your brand STORY

✅ Then probe you deeply about your VALUES (don’t worry, it won’t hurt)

✅ They’ll sort out your POSITIONING

✅ Help you write your MISSION

✅ Consider with you the future GROWTH of the business

✅ Dream with you about your big VISION

✅ And help you with a robust PLAN to reach it!

When that bit is done they will look at all your competitors and get inside the head of your ideal customer.

And by this point they will probably be near exploding with ideas of how to translate this into BEAUTIFUL, MEMORABLE, RELEVANT, DISTINCTIVE & UNIQUE visuals.

Your brand specialist will:

  • Design your logo suite (say 4 or 5 brand marks to make sure you have the right sort of shape and size asset for the right space)

  • Establish your colour palette

  • Choose your brand fonts

  • They will design a range of additional graphics to make up your visual universe

  • And make sure all your digital spaces have the right asset to bring the brand to life in the right way

They will establish the rules which your brand visuals should follow to make sure your brand comes to life online the way it was intended to.

Sometimes this means handing over a set of branding guidelines in a PDF document, but I prefer more and more these days to offer some full branding support where I design all the social media posts & consult with the website designer to really make sure the branding is executed how it was designed.

It's still amazing to me how badly a brand identity can be murdered when in the hands of someone who isn't quite sure what they're doing (no shade to anyone - we all have our own world of expertise).

To sum up I'd say...

A brand specialist (or brand designer) creates an entire visual universe, based on a deeply thought-through strategy - which becomes a feeling, emotional connection & eventually, a MOVEMENT to make people fall in love with your brand.

The output is an entire suite of graphics & rules by which to apply them, which successfully evoke the brand's personality and get used by the graphic designer.

Who in turn, works with these established brand elements to make all your specific assets and marketing stuff look the bomb.

And when you finish working with a brand specialist (also called brand designer/branding designer/magician mwaaah ha ha) you should have EVERYTHING you need;

👀 To get the attention of all those ideal client guys.

🎉 So they find your product, try it, love it and... tell EVERYONE they know.

🙏🏽 And YOU become the reason that everyone’s WhatsApps are blowing UP with ‘please tell me where you bought THAT??’

And your next hardest decision is ‘what champers shall we get to celebrate?’🥂

Or you do when you work with me anyway 🤓

Any questions? Book a call with me to see if I can help you get your brand launched to the world! Get the party started right HERE 🥳
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