Luxgraphicus Design Agency

Is it marketing, or advertising, or branding, or design?

Brian Miller – Creative Director, Luxgraphicus Design Agency

Recently in discussions with business colleagues and clients, an issue of semantics and definition has arisen.

Those involved may not have realised they were entering into such murky waters. The concepts may well be crystal clear in their own minds, but the fact that all were obviously thinking of similar things and calling them different names, or thinking of different things and calling them the same name, raises the issue of definition.

Most business people know the value and importance of marketing. There will, however, be heated discussions as to the value of advertising and branding. And thrown in amongst it all will be talk of design.

When I talk of branding, I’m usually referring to the visual form of the branding; I’m a graphic designer so that’s what I know. But I’m not talking about branding as a strategy or component of a broader strategy.

In marketing terms there are normally three avenues of approach. Advertising, Referrals and Public Relations. Each has it’s own sub categories and associated tactics. A branding strategy will generally sit above all three and create the character and feeling for the different approaches.

So where does design fit in?

Lets start with what it isn’t. It isn’t another sub-category of marketing. It isn’t a sub-category of advertising. It isn’t even a sub-category of branding.

Design is the component that gives a physical form to all the ideas.

All the ideas that are marketing, advertising, public relations, and branding. Design even gives form to referral marketing, where it is required to be more than just spoken words.

Wherever a marketing strategy is meeting with its final audience, design has to give it a form. That may be a press ad, poster or direct mail piece in an advertising campaign. It may be logos and iconic imagery in a branding campaign. It may be this identity applied to written materials or trade show appearances in PR activities. Marketing support from printed collateral or websites need a physical, or electronic form to be available to their audience. All these are created by the designer.

Chronologically, design fits in after the marketing ideas and strategy have been formulated and prescribed. Your designer may help and advise on these matters sometimes, adding subtleties and refinement to the strategy, but their role is not the creation of the ideas initially. This is the role of the business owner and their marketing experts, whether in house or outsourced consultants.

Design is a separate and essential component of the overall business strategy. Not done instead of advertising or branding, and not excluded because referrals or PR have taken its place. Design is crucial for all, or any, of these components to work effectively.

Clearly, design needs these ideas in order to give them a form, and would just be pretty pictures without them. But without design, these ideas will remain just that. Wonderful ideas in the minds of their creators, with no audience to benefit from them, or to ultimately buy from your business.

What to give some form to your great marketing ideas?

Think design.


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