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A Brand Design Agency.

Updated: May 21

When in doubt, I should be doing what we tell our clients to do. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it, well, a lot.



I had this happen in real-time when I was at a startup networking event a couple of weeks ago. I was introducing myself and what we do at TwoLips to new people and I switched up my pitch a bit. Instead of starting with why branding is important for startups and following up with our design philosophies, which is my normal pitch, I started with why design is important. 


Branding often gets a bad rap (sometimes rightfully so – a non-branding friend just sent me the rather infamous Pepsi logo redesign deck), and I would find myself having to justify why branding is a good investment. Not a great place to be when you’re pitching your services to a potential client. 


So this time, I started with our philosophy on good design


Good design is the idea of creating an engaging, approachable, and accessible experience (website, app, poster, social graphic, label, deck, etc) that connects with your target audience.


This was an easy sell because at the end of the day, engaging and connecting with your target audience is something that every business is trying to do. It repositioned design from something that simply looks nice to something that helps a business achieve its core goal. 


Once we were on the same page regarding good design, strong branding was a stone's throw away. 


Branding simply means consistently designing every touch point, every experience, and every message which in turn leads to increased trust, brand recognition and ideally, sales.


When I explained branding this way, building up from design, I had vigorous head nodding throughout my pitch. This was almost always followed up with “Oh, that makes a lot of sense!” It was that ‘ah-ha’ moment I told our clients to look out for when talking with potential leads. 


And this restructuring of our pitch helped me better understand how we need to position ourselves. 


Sure, we are designers but anyone in the design world knows that can mean almost anything from animation to illustration to interior design to product design and beyond. And that doesn’t necessarily mean anything with regards to branding. I know a lot of incredible illustrators who have their own brand that people hire them for but they would never design a brand for someone else.


And yes, we are a branding agency, but that can also mean many different things. For instance, our incredible copywriting partners, Copycat is also a branding agency but they’re a brand narrative agency. And our favorite strategists, Purple Unicorn are also a branding agency, but they are a brand strategy agency. We don’t do what they do. We design brands. 


We are a brand design agency. 


Holy moly 🤯 


Over the last 3.5 years we’ve called ourselves:


  1. a branding agency

  2. a creative agency

  3. a design agency


and all of them fell short on what we bring to our clients. Whether you come to us for a single poster, a campaign initiative, or an entire visual identity, we bring the same branding concepts to the project: consistency, emotional direction, world-building, and expandability.


So when in doubt, the answer is usually listening to your own advice. And pay attention to those ‘ah-ha’ moments. They often lead to some pretty darn good insights.


* EXTRA LEARNINGS *


Curious for a visual between just design and branding? Check out the example below.


A screenshot from Pinterest of a bunch of cool designs
Here is an example of cool designs. But together they are not creating a brand.

Instagram screenshot from the brand Omsom that specializes in 'Proud + Loud Asian Flavors'
In contrast, here is screenshot of Omsom's IG that showcase the brand design.


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Interested in chatting about design, branding, or even just cool shit?


 

Profile picture of Olivia Wisden, author of this blog post as well as the CEO/Founder of UnderBelly Creative.

About The Author

Olivia Wisden is the Founder + CEO of TwoLips Creative. She has worked with dozens of brands over the years ranging from city initiatives to product launches and beyond. When she’s not fan-girling over the design team’s illustrations she can probably be found reading a novel or exploring her new home of Chicago.

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