10 Essential Branding Tips from Design Educators

The importance of branding is a topic that designers face daily— from creating a brand from the ground up, to maintaining brand standards, to communicating branding strategy to clients, and to establishing ourselves as our own brand.


Over the years, we have written articles on branding tips, excerpted lessons from HOW Design University courses, and featured designers who have demonstrated acuity in brand development. With that in mind, we browsed through our archives to find the best branding advice we have published to-date. Now, they are all in one place for easy discovery. Check out the list below! (The tips are not posted in any particular order.)

10 Essential Branding Tips for Designers

Designing for Brands

Learn from the Best

Coffee giant Starbucks is no stranger to the spotlight — both on and offline. With a Twitter following of 11.6M and chains around the world, the American coffee company is instantly recognizable by its green logo and controversial take-out coffee cups. Think about how your clients can utilize different platforms for their brand. Will their mass outreach come from social media, website content or branded promotional products? – from Branding a Business: Making Your Client’s Voice Heard

Keep It Glanceable

A recent Google survey found opinions on a site are formed in a mere 17 milliseconds. Today’s content browsing habits are demanding “at-a-glance” brand storytelling. That means site visitors need to perceive the entire brand picture in one swift glimpse, from brand values to mission and differentiators. – from Designing Brand Experiences: A Revised Content Approach

Build Character

The brands that are most successful—the ones you admire the most—are predictable (or predictably unpredictable). You understand their character, so you have a good sense of how they’ll act, sound, feel and even smell. – from How to Build a Brand with Character

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

To varying degrees and for various reasons, people are in relationships with brands. In human relationships, people come to know who you are by how you behave, not by how you say you behave. We are evaluated and understood by our actions, not necessarily by our intentions. How people are in relationships feeds into part of how Marty Neumeier, author of The Brand Gap, defines brand: “The brand isn’t what you say it is. It’s what they say it is.” Archetypes can facilitate brand relationships by aligning what the brand says it is, what it does and how it is perceived and known. – from The Connection Between Archetypes And Brand

Provide a Stable Asset

Products might fail, companies are bought and sold, and technologies change on a daily basis, but brands carry on through all these changes. Brands are the most sustainable asset of any organization and, when aligned with the overall strategy of the organization, become the central organizing principle for every decision. – from Online Branding: Creative Strategy in Web Design

Encourage Participation

Branding relies on a simple mantra—people support what they help create, so their participation is crucial. One approach to brand team development consists of the establishment of a cross-organization core team and sub-teams that focus on specific aspects of developing the brand such as business analysis or design development. – from the HOW Design University course, Brand Strategy Development

Designing Your Personal Brand

Stand Out

Your personal brand has to reflect what you can do that your bosses or clients — business owners, leaders of nonprofit orgs, marketing directors, customers for your products — can’t do on their own. Otherwise, why would they need to hire you or buy what you have to sell? from the HOWDesignUniversity Course, Designing Your Personal Brand

Tell Your Story

Developing your brand as a graphic designer is about the story that you want to tell about you, the work you produce, and how you deliver for your clients. In truth, it’s not about simply building a presence on social media and other public platforms, but about how you leverage them to tell your story. – from Building Your Personal Brand as a Graphic Designer


Use a Concept

Codify who you are, your promise, and your position into a core concept that becomes your personal brand strategy. – from the book, Build Your Own Brand


Substance Over Style

One of the first things people do when branching out on their own is design their logo, after all it’s what going to signal to the consumer that this is yours, you made this, this is me. But make sure not to get ahead of yourself. Remember your logo needs to mean something. What message is your logo supposed to convey when people see it? Focus on the substance of your company before you focus on the style of your logo.- from Five Steps for Better Branding

Master the branding process, learn how to talk to clients about branding and discover how to position yourself as a branding expert in this Branding Certificate.

One thought on “10 Essential Branding Tips from Design Educators

  1. Fakharuddin

    Hello Boyd,
    Branding is important to get success and get more profit from business for a long time. But, unfortunately branding is not really easy if it’s not done in a proper way.
    You mention here some awesome tips that’s are really awesome.