Nine Birds in a Trench Coat

Yes, this photo only has six, we're working on getting all of them together in one calm photo

Brand Design vs Web Design

Despite the title of this post, brand design and web design should not be viewed as competition. Nor should they be pitted against each other in some kind of “design war.” Brand Design and Web Design go hand in hand and they really elevate each other.

Before we dive into their symbiotic relationship, let’s look a little bit more into what each of these design disciplines entails on their own.

What is Brand Design?

Brand Design is about creating an identity for a business, to turn it into an entity that people can relate to. A brand’s identity includes everything from the foundations to the visuals that consumers see on a regular basis. The foundation is made up of the founder’s “why” – their mission statement, vision for their business, and their values. It encompasses their brand voice and target audience. And then the brand strategy comes into play, utilizing all of that to best resonate with that specific audience.

Once the foundation of the brand is set, then the visual part of brand design comes into play. A strategy-driven brand designer will create visuals based on the brand’s foundation. These visuals will tell the brand’s story without the consumer needing to read a document or tome about it to determine whether they want to be a customer.

The brand’s foundation and visuals are then used to drive the customer experience. Let’s get into that a little bit.

Why is Brand Design important?

Having a fully-fleshed, cohesive brand identity will help your business gain recognition and consumer trust. As mentioned above, the brand identity drives customer experience. Take Chewy, for example. Their brand values are enthusiastic, dependable, generous, quirky, affectionate, and intuitive.

Chewy has gained an excellent reputation for customer service and for having quality products and fast shipping. We personally have an autoship order with Chewy to get food, treats, and toys for our flock of tiny, feathered dictators. And we’ve always had a good experience with them. That’s not to say we haven’t had issues with our orders in the past, such as damaged or missing items. Sometimes ever wrong items. But the people at Chewy are human, and humans make mistakes.

Any time a mistake has been made with one of our orders, it has been quick and easy to get a hold of customer service – dependability. The customer service reps I’ve spoken to have always been kind and enthusiastic about helping me with my issue. And they’ve always processed a brand new order for a replacement item at no cost to me. It arrives within 3 days. The first time I reached out to them was about a missing package. We’d been expecting it to have been delivered a week or so prior.

You know what they did?

They processed an entirely new autoship order for me. These orders are close to $200, because a bulk bag of quality bird food is expensive, plus treats and toys. And they processed it for rush delivery at no charge – generous.

The original order arrived a few days after the new one had arrived. So I reached back out and told them the situation. They told me to either keep or donate the original order to a rescue – affectionate and generous. And that’s exactly what I did. I shipped that original order to Birds and Beaks Rescue and Rehab in Battle Creek, MI.

B&B is my favorite parrot rescue for their own brand identity – no-nonsense, fierce advocates for the birds, compassionate, and educational. I may do a dive into them in a future post.

Chewy also sent us a handmade painting of one of our birds (Ori) for World Parrot Day. That painting currently lives in our son’s room. We removed a bird from our account because she passed away. They sent us a condolence card, signed by several members of their team.

Customer experience directly impacts customer loyalty

I will note here that I am not affiliated with Chewy in any way, I just really love them. We started shopping with them shortly after they first started up and they’ve always had one of the best customer experiences I’ve had with any brand to date.

Having a customer experience that upholds your brand’s values will make or break your customer retention.

What is Web Design?

Now getting into the other side of this topic – web design. Anyone can go onto Squarespace or Wix, grab a template, and create their own website. Those templates will have been designed by web designers. However, that does not mean that the person using the template has the eye to make it look amazing and do what they need it to do.

Web Design is the process of creating a visually appealing front-end (user-facing end) of a website. A well-designed website will keep people intrigued enough to keep looking through it to learn more about the entity that owns the website. Not all websites are intricate or have multiple pages – that kind of stuff depends wholly on who needs the website and what it’s for.

For example, a wedding website may only be a page or two, while an eCommerce shop is going to have hundreds of pages, because it’ll have individual product pages.

Now, when making a website for a business, the goal is to design it in such a way that it will convert sessions and clicks into paying customers. A website that is unintuitive and hard to navigate will not accomplish that goal.

What’s the difference between Web Design and Web Development?

These are two things that also go hand in hand. But simply put, Web Design is the process of creating the visual front end and making it intuitive to use. Web Development is the process of coding and building the back end of the website, ensuring the functionality of the design is correct. The end user should never see this side of a site.

Let’s look at Chewy’s Web Design

Image of chewy.com landing page

One of Chewy’s values is intuitive. Having an intuitive site means that it is clear to everyone how to navigate and find what they’re looking for.

If you’re going to Chewy’s website for dog treats, you have two ways to get there, right from this page. You can do this through the Dog header menu item. Or by selecting the image of a dog from the “Who are you shopping for today?” section. You don’t need to click more than once to get to the Dog section of the site, via the dog image. If you choose the dropdown in the header menu, you can get more specific with what you’re looking for. Things like food, treats, toys, beds, etc.

It’s clear just by looking at this home page how to navigate to where you want to go, as well as the type of experience you can expect to have with them. See the image of a cat with the subheading, “High quality, low prices?” Each image next to it details what you can expect when shopping with Chewy. This entire banner section is dedicated to informing you about this experience.

How does Brand Design relate to Web Design?

Brand Design in itself is about creating cohesion. When you have a brand identity before having your website designed, you’re allowing for that cohesion to carry over into your own platform.

A website is often the first touch that you’ll have with a customer. It’s extremely important to make a good first impression via that website. If someone googles your business, you want to make sure you have a good website. If you only have a social media page, they won’t truly get a sense of who you are. They won’t take the time to learn why they should care about your business and spend their money with you. Social media pages cannot be branded to you.

Ensuring that your website has strong, consistent branding with your products, services, marketing – whatever it may be – will be that extra step in solidifying your connection with the people you want to connect with. Because it’s your very own website, you can put whatever you want on there. And I would strongly encourage you to have your mission statement present somewhere on the website. This lets people can know who you’re trying to help and what you stand for. If they resonate with your mission, they’ll very likely resonate with you. If they resonate with you and your branding is consistent with your mission, there’s a subconscious bias that forms in your favor. They’ll be more likely to stay on your website longer and peruse your products or service offerings.

A website without brand design is bland

Have you ever seen a website without a Cascading Style Sheet (CSS)? It’s extremely hard to look at. It’s a bunch of text with loud blue hyperlinks for navigation. Unless I’m being paid to be on that site, there’s no way I would want to stay on it. It’s hard on the eyes, like I already mentioned.

The CSS shows off the design. The design is what makes the site pretty, easy on the eyes, and easy to navigate.

When I first started working my own website, I hadn’t finished my own brand identity. I just wanted to get the website out there. But creating that website without having the foundation and the visuals that make up my brand in place? That was a fight I would never have won. So I halted progress on my site and went back to my brand design. And once that was done, the website just came together.

If you’re feeling that your branding or your website (or both) are no longer helping you reach your business goals, reach out through my website and let’s chat! I’d love to get to know about what you do and help propel your visual, experiential, and online presence to new heights!

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