WHO NEEDS TO KNOW THE DIFFERENCE?
You’re ready for your training wheels to come off… you’re about to take that leap.
You want to update your business, to step away from your DIY branding that saw you through the early days. But you aren’t sure who to outsource this to. Who’s responsible for levelling-up your brand? Who can you put your trust and confidence in, to elevate your business, so it looks oh-so-much-more profesh?
Up until now, your business has had its training-wheels on. It’s taken you a few years to find your feet, to start to feel like an actual authority in their space. Through a bit of trial and error, you’ve now got systems in place that you can replicate. You’ve made a *few* little mistakes, but have learnt so much from overcoming them.
Now is the time to take it a step further. To turn your little business-baby into something a little more serious. Before you were living hand-to-mouth, from one day to the next. But you’re just starting to get those tingles that come from seeing a future starting to form ahead of you. A path that’s clearing the brambles of uncertainty.
It’s time to invest a little more in your business (emotionally and financially). Because this is something you want to be doing for years to come, right?!
Inside this blog, you’ll find:
Why pick a logo designer instead of a graphic designer: for your fledgling biz
Why pick a graphic designer over a logo designer: for those with many strings to their bow
Why hiring a logo designer and a graphic designer may or may not harm your biz
Why a brand designer is actually your company’s new best friend
But first, let’s not get carried away. We need to define the two things we’re comparing.
What is a logo designer?
Whether they create a logo that is just words (in a carefully selected font, with the letters positioned perfectly), or its a combo of words and imagery, a logo designer is creating the centrepiece of your visual identity. It’s likely you’ll need to provide your logo designer with some of things like competitor analysis, target audience analysis, brand values and mission statement, for them to interpret into something visual.
A logo is that singular mark for a business that immediately reminds people what you stand for. But unless you’re Billabong, British Airways or Body Shop (who’ve been around for donkey’s years) you might not be making the same waves. Nonetheless, a logo is vital to building a clear identity for your business.
So, how is a graphic designer any different?
A graphic designer takes the elements (that someone else has designed) and forms them into various bits and pieces of visual content. They’ll take your brand’s logo, colour palette, fonts, graphics/textures/illustrations and mould them into marketing materials for you to use on all your platforms, both digital and in print.
They’re problem solvers, using a mix of creativity and technical skills to create websites, brochures, Powerpoint presentation designs, Pinterest designs, and so much more.
LET'S THINK ABOUT THIS LIKE A BAR OF CHOCOLATE...
To turn a cacao bean into a saleable bar in Sainsbury’s, you need 3 stages of a process.
1. Plant the seeds to make a cacao plant:
If we align the chocolate-making process to the brand-making process, this is the equivalent of setting the building blocks that will form your message, the services and audience and their competitors are your raw ingredients. Without setting these building blocks (or planting these seeds), nothing can grow.
2. Harvest the cacao beans, only selecting the best of the best (and leaving the duds behind):
Referring back to the brand-making process, this is where you start to process the ingredients so they are presentable, and so they can help the brand-building process progress. This is where your logo takes form: the raw materials (your brand messaging, comp analysis, etc) are refined.
Think of your logo designer like a cacao harvester. They’ve been given the raw ingredients. And now they’ve got to pick the best pods off the trees that will make the yummiest chocolate // create the most desirable logo.
Before they can start work, the seeds were already planted (aka your messaging, the impact you want to make with your biz, info about your audience and your competitors: it’s all already been decided).
So that leaves responsibility on you — the business owner — to plant the seeds (i.e. decide on your brand messaging, look at your target audience, weigh up what your competitors are doing, refine your values).
3. Process the cacao and pour the gooey delicious mixture into bar shapes:
As the chocolate-pourer needs to pour the mixed ingredients into various forms, the same ingredients are adaptable, to create any number of chocolate products/shapes.
You can look at the role of a graphic designer alongside the chocolate-pourer: they take all the elements of your brand identity (your logo included) and reconfigure them into adaptable forms (a website, a poster design, business cards, Instagram carousel templates).
And so a graphic designer is the person pouring the molten chocolate into the different moulds. They’ve been given all the right ingredients (the cacao, the milk, the sugar, the delicious nuggets of honeycomb // or your logo, your colour palette, any custom graphics or illustrations or flourishes). Then you've got chocolate that’s presentable and ready for consumption. In other words, you’ve got a brand that is already starting to attract hungry chocolate-fiends.
Both the logo designer and the graphic designer have an important role in the process. Just as the chocolate-making process needs both harvesters and mould-pourers, the brand-building process needs both types of designer to contribute to a presentable brand.
Why pick a logo designer before hiring a graphic designer?
Read this is you're a fledgling business or you're starting on a shoe-string...
It sure is cheaper than getting a whole website made, if you’re on a budget.
A logo can be used on a multitude of different things — your flyers, your Instagram, business cards. You’ve gotta know exactly what you want if you’re going to invest in a graphic designer.
The logo designer might be able to sort some of the other ingredients for you (the milk, the sugar, the delicious chunks of salted caramel // your colour palette, font choices, bespoke graphics or illustrations or textures) but it’s worth asking them, and not assuming.
There’s not much point — as a growing business — hiring someone to create a website for you if you don’t have a logo. How else are you going to stand out from all the other businesses in your industry you’re trying to differentiate yourself from?
If anything changes down the line in your business (like your audience changes, or you pivot with your messaging) just having a logo means you’re far more versatile. It’s far easier to change just your logo, as opposed to all your marketing collateral that a brand designer would make.
Why pick a graphic design-y person instead of a logo designer?
Read this is you're creating a new arm to your business...
You’re able to speak to your audience — a graphic designer creates all the bits and pieces for your business that help you interact with your audience — think Instagram graphics, websites, flyers. Without having these designs available, it’s going to be tricky to speak to your future customers.
You don’t have to worry about learning how to build websites. Or use Photoshop. A graphic designer is your very own, skilled tech support person to create these touchpoints. That leaves more time for you to do the things you’re good at.
Graphic designers are trained in how people consume content. They understand what happens when a design is too busy or not laid-out correctly. They know the placement for engagement, the design rules to draw people in, the cleanest way to display information that engages readers.
Flexibility — whatever elements you need for your business to grow (whether that’s an online membership platform, workbooks, or loyalty stamps cards) a graphic designer can adapt to create the collateral that will help you to scale your business.
Why hiring a logo designer and a graphic designer might harm your biz-baby
Having two different people to manage this process means there could be a lack of continuity in how your branding elements are translated under different circumstances. There could be loopholes in what they create for you, like use cases of your logo not accounted for. Or branding elements (like fonts or branded illustrations) that never get seen to. There’s more room for gaps. Or human error.
On the flipside, having just one person to control the process means more continuity.
AND THIS IS WHY A BRAND DESIGNER IS GOING TO BE YOUR COMPANY'S NEW BEST FRIEND.
A brand designer manages the whole process, from start to finish.
A brand designer sources all the ingredients. And mixes everything in the right proportions. And they’re in charge of the thing that gets seen by the big wide world.
They are able to see how the elements of your brand’s identity can be adapted to different scenarios in the future. They have the vision for how your brand will grow in time building that into the process.
They create your messaging, nail down the impact you want to make with your biz, and find the right psychological details about your audience and your competitors. That’s the equivalent of planting the seeds to then be able to gather your raw materials.
A brand designer then refines the raw ingredients to construct your brand’s visual identity — your colour palette, fonts, textures, illustrations and graphics (the cacao beans, milk, sugar, freeze-dried raspberries, toasted hazelnuts, orange peel).
Finally, a brand designer mixes all the ingredients in different combinations to make different brand collateral — think websites, flyers, Instagram graphics (or family-sized bars, mini-eggs, Christmas products, sharing bags, etc).
All the hard work, the artisanal skills, the refining, taste-testing is done for you. That just leaves you to open up a wrapper and start devouring.
That makes a brand designer the Lindt of the business world...
Although the logo designer is in charge of the cacao, and the graphic designer is in charge of pouring the chocolate… a brand designer does everything, from raw ingredients to saleable end product.
They ensure every element of the design is rooted in strategy - not just there to look pretty or to follow the latest design trends. A brand designer ensures that your new brand completely represents the incredible business you've built and will stand the test of time as that business continues to thrive.
So to wrap up this Topic in shiny foil…
Logo designers are trained in creating one element of the brand (that will be used on all these bits of collateral). The approach you’ll find most commonly is to produce a design that represents the brand in a single mark.
Graphic designers are able to create collateral and touchpoints that you have with your audience: websites, leaflets, social media graphics.
Graphic designers may also be able to do logo design, but pure logo designers don’t have the same skills as a graphic designer.
Graphic designers usually just work with the brand identity elements they are given. It’s rare to find a graphic designer who uses strategy to make their decision.
A logo on its own cannot make your business more memorable. It’s a cohesive brand aesthetic or ‘brand identity’ that (when seen again and again over various touchpoints) that builds brand recognition. So a brand can be built by outsourcing to both a logo designer and a graphic designer.
Now, when it comes to brand designers, they do the logo, think about where it sits on different pieces of collateral. They often are able to then create the pieces of collateral themselves, or at least have a close connection with someone who can translate this brand aesthetic onto the necessary touchpoints. So they *ahem, we* cover all bases. Strategy is at the forefront, so you can be confident that you’re growing your reputation and you’re attracting more of the right people to engage with your biz-baby!
CONCLUSION: WHAT YOU’LL GET FROM A BRAND DESIGNER
Aren’t you ready to turn your brand into a vibe yet?
Things are about to change. You want your future clients and customers to feel something when they see you. Wouldn’t it be awesome if — before reading a word — your dream client got this strong vibe from your brand, when they looked at your Instagram carousel graphics?!
Wouldn’t it be pretty incredible if your colour palette evoked a sense of calm in them… Or excitement. Or possibility. Or power… whatever it is you want people to feel when they see something you’ve created for your brand, be it online, via a flyer, a Facebook Ad, your website, a magazine article about you. The colours and shapes and lines and textures have all been hand-picked. Your brand’s vibe sits snuggly alongside the words you say to make you memorable.
And it has been driven by a strategy, not just gut feeling.
Every single element that (visually) represents your brand has been chosen to appeal directly to your dream customer. Someone well versed in the language of customer psychology has dived into their personalities, their likes, dislikes, worries, dreams, hopes, fears and created this unique recipe of design elements, that — when all mixed up and baked together — help you to stand out.
Wouldn’t it be glorious for your future customers to feel aligned with you, comfortable with you, before they bought the thing you’re selling? Or chatted to you on a discovery call? Or they came to one of your classes? Like they’re connecting with an old friend who has been in their shoes and wants the best for them.
This shouldn’t just feel like a daydream, out of your grasp.
If you’re looking for a cohesive aesthetic/vibe/visual identity for your business across all of your marketing collateral… Then let’s jump on a free Zoom chat about those wonderful things you want your future customers to feel when they see your brand online.
Click the link to be taken to my discovery call calendar .