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Business Start-Up Series: What is a brand designer and why should you hire one?

By: AK Simmons, brand design and strategist partner for Wolf & Willow and founder of Half Pint Design

As business moves online and the whole world of consumerism is generally evolving, it’s never been more important than now to have a brand that stands out online. Maybe you’ve already started looking around for brand designers and strategists to help your business “pop” in what feels like oversaturated markets. But you’re unsure what they do and how they can help.

What exactly is the role of a brand designer? How will you benefit from hiring one? Are they really necessary? Or can you use a platform like Canva? These are some questions we’ll answer in today’s blog post!

P.S. This is part two of a three-part series called Business Start-Up — a series answering frequently asked questions about the professionals you may need to hire to elevate your brand and business.

Q: What does a brand designer do?

A: I define a brand designer as something that might surprise you. A brand designer is, ultimately, a communicator and educator. Yes, we love to create designs that are stunning and beautiful, but our goal doesn’t stop at creating something aesthetic.

Our goal is to communicate your business ethos and values to your ideal clients. Plus, to educate them on your services or products. These factors go far beyond a logo, which is just scratching the surface of what we do.

A great brand designer should research your business, and your ideal clients like their lives depend on it!

We dig into pieces of your business that you might have never considered. We also look at things you’re currently communicating that we could tweak so you can attract more of your ideal clientele. From there, we make an action plan for how we want to position your business in the marketplace to reach your dream clients. The last step is to create visual and strategic assets to get you to the finish line!

Q: What is the difference between a brand strategist and a brand designer?

A: There are a lot of different roles in the designer world as a whole. You might hear people say they’re a website designer, graphic designer, brand designer, brand strategist, website designer, etc. Some people hold multiple titles (like me)! Because of all the nuances, I can understand how these similar-sounding titles can be confusing to differentiate, so let’s clear it up.

A strategist’s end goal is to provide you with the “DNA” of your brand — or a detailed blueprint of what makes up your brand as a whole.

To accomplish this, we’ll take a deep dive into your current brand (the good, the bad, the ugly, the beautiful, and the gaps), and determine a route that will better engage your ideal client, communicate your values, and position you in the marketplace.

A strategist will also research your ideal clients and determine what they need to see, hear, and feel from you for them to convert into paying customers. Then, we create solutions for reaching those goals! ALL of this happens even before the actual design kicks off because the strategy is the foundation of your brand. Without the foundation, your brand design lacks purpose and meaning. And YES, your clients can tell if you have invested in strategy because the brand voice and overall feel are cohesive.

A brand designer will then take the strategy and create visual concepts that communicate all this. We’ll take everything built in the strategy phase and create purposeful assets that speak to your ideal client. Designs are inspired by extensive research into color theory, layout, typography theory, and more.

Our goal is to wow your clients at first glance, drawing them into the deeply impactful pieces of your brand that will convert them into paying customers. (Hint: That’s your strategy!)

Like I mentioned, many people hold various titles in the design industry. You might find someone who is just a brand designer or just a strategist, but oftentimes, they do both!

Regardless if you work with someone who does both or you work with separate professionals, the strategy is the key to creating a killer brand that has the structure to withstand the test of time.

Q: What can I expect working with a brand designer?

A: Collaboration, fun, and hard work!

Collaboration is KEY when you work with a designer. Many clients think they have a clear picture in their mind of what they want before they even start the process. And sure, the vision may be spot on — but

designers aren’t artists you hire to recreate something you’ve seen on Pinterest. (If that’s what you’re looking for, I’d suggest finding a different service provider!)

Brand designers are education professionals who have extensive knowledge and insight into communication, research, strategy, problem-solving, and visual theory that will all come together to elevate your brand’s expression.

When working with a designer, you can expect to dig deep into your business. You may even be surprised about all the new and exciting things you’ll learn about yourself and your brand! (Honestly, that’s one of the most rewarding parts for me!)

When it comes to timeline, process, and deliverables, that will vary from designer to designer. You can check out how Wolf & Willow’s process works by clicking here!

Q: Can’t I just create a logo in Canva?

A: Of course! Most of my clients actually come to me with a DIY brand or self-made logo. However, they still end up needing a full rebrand because that logo isn’t getting them where they want to go.

The world of design has opened up significantly over the last decade, and I honestly love seeing how clients have been able to transform their creative ideas into a brand that has worked for them for the first few years of their business.

But the reality is that your clients can tell when you’ve invested in a professional to create your brand. We can be the difference between a DIY brand to an OMG brand.

A professional brand created with all the insights a brand designer has can speak VOLUMES to your ideal clients — and isn’t that your end goal? To impress your clients and make them feel comfortable joining your community?

As I mentioned above, design is so much more than a logo. When you’ve invested in the foundations of a brand, it comes alive on a website or on your social media. Your clients WILL notice, and your business will flourish in ways you’ve only dreamed of!

Final thoughts

By now, I hope you have a better idea about what brand designers and brand strategists do, the kind of service they provide, and if you’re ready to hire one!

As a reminder, this is the second part of a three-part series we’re calling Business Start-Up. Each article in this series will take a deep dive into the frequently asked questions about the professionals you should consider hiring to elevate your brand and business.

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Brand Design by: Half Pint Design | Photography by: Britt Elizabeth Photography

Web design by: Wolf & Willow Design Studio

Est. 2019
Based in Bossier City, LA

Wolf & Willow Design is a web design studio specializing in strategic websites for ambitious creative entrepreneurs. 

Showit website and social media templates to help you uplevel your business.