The Role of Design in Branding

Every company should be able to express itself clearly and creatively while staying true to its mission and brand. Elements that make up the company’s communicative style should include: brand strategy, visual elements (logos, typeface, colors, imagery), verbal elements (name, storytelling approach, tone of voice, tagline, key message, value statements), and brand touchpoints (online and offline presence, services, and media).

When it comes to the visual element of branding, people don’t often realize that it is about more than just creating pretty pictures. Design connects your company to your brand and ultimately your audience.

There are many definitions of design. In the broadest terms, design is a process that creates form, achieving unity between structural, functional, and symbolic constraints (Borja de Mozota, 2003). Design defines a company through different functions such as corporate communication, research and development, production, and marketing. It generates visual or formal output throughout the creative process.

The role of design in branding is to communicate the brand message to the audience in an understandable and convincing way. Visuals reign supreme as the most effective way to communicate with others. People receive messages mainly through visual means, as visual design is more understandable than text alone.

A well-executed design creates a consistent language, reinforcing the brand’s offering in the minds of the audience. It develops a visual hierarchy to tell the brand story in a clear and appealing way. It touches the audience’s emotion through imagery and colors, and uses typography emphasis to support messaging in a powerful way. (Winnow Creative, 2016)

Moreover, design helps build credibility and brand recognition by creating a consistent visual language. It achieves these goals while simultaneously providing a thematic connection to the brand’s services or offerings.

For example: Many brands may be selling a similar product, however, through design, each brand can convey different concepts, creating different product expectations.

The use of color can also indicate brand value, and sometimes even a sense of urgency. It can be used as a call to action, or to highlight an important word or phrase.

From Oxfam’s brand guidelines: the 4 color combinations on the left are for normal usage, while red and black is used for emergencies and urgent matters

With today’s design-savvy audiences, good design is critical to the success of the brand. Every touchpoint, whether through websites, brochures, ads, tradeshow graphics, or other media, leaves audiences with an impression of your company. This impression should reflect your core values, engaging and encouraging your audience to interact with your brand.

Many companies, especially newly established ones, tend to take on design jobs by themselves, generally relying on limited resources. Of course, some tasks can be handled in-house without putting too much strain on the system. The DIY approach can also reduce costs in the short term. Over time, however, the benefits of seeking experts to create a cohesive design for your brand is far more valuable. After all, when you partner with a genuine expert in a particular field, you get high quality results.


Borja de Mozota, B. (2003). Design management. New York, NY: Allworth Press.



Lexicon is a full-service digital marketing agency in Bangkok, Thailand. We specialize in corporate storytelling and produce all of our content in-house, including branding,  copywriting, video production and graphic design. Lexicon’s social media marketing services start from just 25,000 THB per month.

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