There’s a lot of terminology that you have to get accustomed to when working in web development or with a web developer. For one, web development and web design are most certainly not the same thing, even if they are related and often confused for one another.
Similarly, brand design and web design are two fields that are vital to your online success, but even though they sound similar and share certain traits, they are not the same process.
Brand design, or branding, has been around far longer than the world wide web. It is the process of creating a distinct, coherent, and recognizable branding strategy for your business, and will impact your business both on and off the internet.
Several factors will impact the overarching designs that a brand will use, including the brand’s core mission, target audience, and industry. By examining the type of business or organization behind the brand, and the type of people it hopes to reach, a designer can create visual designs that will speak to that target audience and make the brand appear more appealing and recognizable.
Brand design elements include:
All of these visual elements should stem from the brand design process, and can be implemented both on one’s website and offline in materials such as flyers, business cards, brochures, signage, and anywhere else the brand may be represented.
Think of the Coca Cola logo for a great example of branding. The simple red/white color scheme and distinct script font are instantly recognizable. It appears on the company’s products, print media advertisements, signage and, of course, the company’s website.
Through years of commitment to this design as a part of Coca Cola’s brand identity, the beverage giant has made a distinct visual design that many consumers can recognize without pausing to actually read the words in front of them. That color scheme and font style is now an integral part of the Coke brand.
While not the same thing as branding, web design is informed by your brand design. To build a consistent, recognizable brand your should be using elements of your brand design in all facets of your business, both on and off the web. That’s why Coke employed colors on its website to match its logo, and also does so on its social media pages.
Your brand design informs your web design, but it is not the whole of your design strategy. While you will be employing similar visual elements to unify your brand, and should also include your logo in strategic locations on your website, your web design has a much to do with function as form.
Elements of web design include:
It’s not just about visual appearances, but also strategic use of your design to make your website useful for you audiences. Web design marries principles of both aesthetic appeal and utilitarian function to create an end product that attracts users, keeps their interest, and also pushes them toward an end goal (like making a purchase or filling out a contact form) as intuitively as possible.
Returning to our Coca Cola example, the company chose to use a modern aesthetic featuring
Rectangular images and large, touch-friendly icons.
The company’s logo and color scheme are identifiable throughout, and users who are looking for different kinds of information can quickly distinguish which part of the site will be most relevant to them.
In the image above, soda drinkers who want nutritional information can clearly identify three major offerings from the company, and those interested in charity can see how they can use Coke to help communities. The two pieces of information are entirely unrelated from one another, but the web design looks cohesive and is in no way confusing to the reader.
The site is clean, navigable, and directs userflow in a logical fashion without making site visitors dig for the information they want. When working with a web designer, he or she should be able to incorporate the work of your brand designer into wireframes and mockups, which will give you an idea of how your finished website will look. In turn, your web developer can then take these mockups and build the actual functional site.
Some professionals may be able to work as both your brand designer and web designer, some may be capable of both web design and development, others still may do all three, and some may only specialize in one area. When choosing who to work with, it is important to know what to expect. Web design and brand design are not the same thing, so make sure you understand what your potential designer is capable of before making any hiring decisions!
Need help building your brand or designing your website? Dotlogics can help you do it all!