What is brand design?

What is brand design? What is it compared to a logo and why do you need it?

Now 9 times out of 10 when clients come to us looking for a logo design, after a brief discussion we realize they need a brand design, not a logo design. And they are mostly unaware of the difference! So I wanted to share some thoughts on what the difference is and break down what goes into brand design. 

Let’s start with what is brand design?

When you are in a Target store or a Starbucks I bet you, you could take away all the logos and you would still be able to tell what store you are in. That is the brand and the brand design in all its glory! Target’s signature red and fun in-store signage has a look and feel that is true to Target. 

Example of targets brand design

(Notice no logos in the picture above, but yet you can tell it is Target?)

The same for Starbucks, every store has the same vibe whether you are in Seattle Washington or Hong Kong, you will know it’s a Starbucks. 

Example of Starbucks' brand design

Starbucks right?!

If you have a storefront you will want a brand design and the same goes for websites. Amazon and Etsy invest millions of dollars into their brand design to ensure the user knows they are on their trusted platforms. 

Now you might be thinking, I am not Starbucks or Amazon, do I really need a brand design?

Brand design builds consistency through every encounter your customer has with your business creating the same feeling or experience. That consistency will become trust as your audience becomes loyal to your business. So, if you want to have a thriving business, I would encourage you to go with the brand design vs getting just a logo. Branding is a crucial part of all business, big and small. Brand will help you not only attract an audience but the right audience. 

What is a brand compared to a logo? 

Think of a logo as a book cover, now you open the book and it’s empty pages? That is a logo without a brand. Or a beautifully wrapped box with nothing in it? 


I like to tell my clients that your brand is a mountain, and your logo is just a tiny flag on top of that mountain telling climbers the name of the mountain. 

To quote one of my favorite brand designers Sagi Haviv, a logo is identification, brand is communication. 

Your brand does all the communication of your voice and values. It attracts and detracts people. The logo just says “hi, I am So and So” but doesn’t tell you anything else. 

Brand Strategy VS Brand Identity

Brand strategy is all the non visual components of a brand… your mission, vision, goals, attributes, and persona while the brand identity is all the visual components of your brand… your logo, fonts and colors just to name a few. If you ask me they go hand in hand and it’s best to have both. A strategy without an identity is like a blueprint with nothing to look at and an identity without strategy is surface level and shallow. 

What does brand design include? 

Every branding agency is different and will offer different deliverables. Some agencies only do brand strategy and outsource the brand identity design to freelancers and vice versa.  At Stellen Design we include both. They are equally necessary to the success of a business. Our brand packages all include at least one brand strategy workshop, customer archetypes, a competitive audit, brand direction, logo, type, colors, brand guide, and some extra deliverables like signage or business cards depending on the client needs. 

How do you design a brand?

Again, everyone and every agency is different, but at Stellen Design we start all our brand designs by asking lots of questions from our clients. Our process looks something like this:

  1. Brand interview
  2. Brand strategy session(s)
  3. Discovery / mood board and discussion with our client
  4. Proposed direction
  5. Brand identity design
  6. All deliverables both strategy and identity prepared for hand off

To conclude: 

Brand design is both strategy and identity rolled into one, it is well beyond a logo design and will turn your business from an idea in your head into a persona. It will create a connection amongst your audience and attract your dream clientele. 

So if you are shopping for a logo, I encourage you to switch your train of thought and shop for a brand designer that can take a deeper look into the meaning of your business’s existence! 

If you would like to know more, please book a complementary 15 min brand evaluation today! 

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Carolina Vangilder of Stellen Design Branding Agency in Los Angeles CA
Carolina Van Gilder
Project manager / Assistant
The coordinator, facilitator and scheduler for all Stellen Design projects. She communicates with clients about everything from contracts and payments to design edits and revisions. She helps keep the logistics on point so Stellen Design can live up to their reputation.
Carolyn Packard of Stellen Design Branding Agency in Los Angeles CA
Carolyn Packard
Carolyn Packard is a seasoned designer with valuable insight into effectively communicating and interpreting design needs to her clients. Carolyn knows the value of creating good, functional design.
Jordis Smalls of Stellen Design Branding Agency in Los Angeles CA
Jordis Small
Creative Director
Jordis is a big believer in continued education. She makes it a point to attend at least four workshops or conferences a year to keep her skill improving. She is also a big advocate for “creative play” and loves to spend her spare time trying new things and learning new techniques.