If you’ve ever started a business there’s a good chance you at some point have come across across the terms brand design or corporate identity, logo design, brand strategy, and brand guidelines. Did I leave any out? 

And how often do we make purchases based on emotion we feel about a company which deepens our trust with them? Very often I’d say! 

It’s all about the brand and their promise delivered to you.

So, I want to uncover how these terms all work together for a brand or business. A common thread that binds most business owners is the desire to leave an impression on our target audience with the goal of obtaining customer loyalty. Here’s how to do so intentionally…


A company’s brand is the overall perception of the company. It goes beyond the mere visual aspects and may include important core aspects of your identity such as your customer experience, its mission and values, and customer service. In a nutshell, it’s what clients and customers say or think about your company that paints a portrait of your brand as a whole. 


While your brand is mostly composed of the intangibles and based on perception, branding is the efforts you put forth to influence and make a great impression on your target audience. These are the visuals! 

If you’ve ever worried about how your branding might appear across several touchpoints of your business, this is central to many branding designers skillset. We want you to achieve consistency through professional design and be proud to share your work and thereby attract the right people to your business. I cover more on this later in the post! 

In summary: A good brand identity builds trust through consistency, translates your value, increases the price you charge, works well across platforms and media, and honors your personality. 

Brand Experience 

Your Brand Experience is how a customer interacts with your brand. Whether they found you online or walked into your brick and mortar store, the culmination of their interactions with you or your staff plays a role in how their interpreting your brand. 

Brand Voice 

Your Brand Voice is the words you intentionally use to foster a deeper connection with your ideal customer. When developing your brand voice keep relevance, focus and connection top of mind to embed your message in your customers minds. 

Brand Guidelines 

Brand guidelines lay out how to use various visual elements of your brand. You’ll see these extensively used with larger companies (i.e. don’t change the color of Facebook icon upon downloading). especially when utilizing advertising and PR (different disciplines from a design studio), are involved. 

Like I mentioned, It’s important for businesses to retain a cohesive look across all channels and these guidelines aide in achieving that. In the corporate world the term for the creative responsible for this is an Art Director, and in my own studio I like to think of myself the same as I’m delivering a visual look and feel across print and web channels with a singular theme. 

For my clients who are primarily small business owners I like to provide a single brand board PDF that encapsulates all fonts, colors, logo mark and variations, so they can refer to and stay on brand going forward. 

Brand Identity 

Simply put, your Brand Identity is a set of standards that guide the way your brand looks, sounds, and acts. It includes you logo, tagline, colors, typefaces, imagery and more! 

Brand Photography

The use of similarly-styled photography can help create a familiar and consistent experience. Like I mentioned in the intro to this post, we often buy based on emotion and photography alongside intentional branding can often lead consumers further down the line of someone whose curious to a loyal paying customer in no time. 

Logo Mark 

A logo can act as a strong signifier of your brand’s personality, differentiate you in the market, and form the foundation of every branded experience you have to offer. 

A good logo design or in some cases, to simplify things, a logo mark is suggested. The latter of which is what I’d recommend only because its the simplest, most versatile solution. Ever want to scale down a complex logo to a third of it’s size (such as on the corner of an ad or the small header of a website), recognizability becomes a concern fast.

This might come as a surprise, but Apple didn’t start out with its iconic Apple symbol we’ve become all too familiar with! I’m pulling back the curtain today and revealing its early beginnings….

Imagine if Apple stuck with the original 1976 logo – people would be hard-pressed to associate it as modern and cutting edge. 

Marketing Collateral

Once the visual theme is chosen for your brand, you’ll find this art directed and displayed across all touchpoints such as your business cards, brochure, and social media designs. Essentially they all act as one unit in creating a professional and polished look where customers may interact. 

So whether you’re handing off your business card to a customer after a job is complete, or they’re coming into your brick and mortar shop, it’s important to consider your marketing collateral as an extension of promoting your brand. 

Let’s start with your brand strategy

Before delving into any branding project, it’s important to have a clear understanding of where you’re heading. Asking the following questions will give you a clear picture of your target market so you can then compose your messaging, tagline, and visual strategy with the help of a designer. 

This should be done for businesses of all scales, too. 

  • What is your mission statement?

  • Who is your ideal client or customer? Who are you trying to serve?

  • What is the overall tone I’m going for?

Start with these questions as a launching point in getting to the heart of what you do and guiding your brand identity efforts. 

In conclusion

Ultimately your branding should compliment the great work you do and be built with a strong foundation that can serve you for years to come. When someone asks you what branding is you can rest assured and tell them with a smile on your face it’s really how you want your ideal client to feel after using your service.

At By Stephanie Design my mission is to help entrepreneurs make a stunning and enduring online impression. Through Showit lets propel your business forward and equip you with the tools necessary to make us better by design. 

February 12th, 2023


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owner & creative director of
by stephanie design 

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By Stephanie Hamilton