Bridging East and West with the latest in design, tech and business.

  • Brandon K. Hill

    CEO of btrax, Inc.

    - Design Mentor to Startup Weekend - Contributor to TechCrunch Japan - Guest Speaker at UC Berkeley Asia Business Conference - Guest Speaker at Social Media Week Tokyo - Guest Speaker at 500Startups Japan Day

  • → Show All Articles

  • Mar 28, 2011

A Quick Note about Brand and Design

brandsGetting confused about the definitions and roles of “Brand” and “Design” for your business? This is how we perceive those words to keep refining ourselves as a creative agency.

A brand lives in the imagination

Intuitively, we all know what a brand is. It’s far more than a logo. And it’s much larger than a product, service, idea, or institution. A brand finds its home in the minds and hearts of individuals; it’s made up of stories and experiences that, over time, create feelings. When enough people share those feelings, the brand comes to life.

Design lives all around us

Design is here and now. It’s immediate. Broadly, a design is a plan and every plan is a design. Whether building a spaceship, planting a garden, launching a political campaign, or opening a business, we all start with a plan. People are becoming aware of the power of design, from the gadgets we use to the environments we inhabit. Our encounters with design alter our daily routines, connect us with other cultures, and build the global economy.

Design brings the brand down to earth

What design does for any brand is make it tangible. Real. Through design, we grasp what the brand is and how to interact with it. That’s true whether the brand is and how to interact with it. That’s true whether the band is as simple as a booth at a farmer’s market or as complex as an international relief organization. Design opens the door to understanding the brand. It gives us access. And, when design is excellent, design does these things beautifully.

Through design, business meets beauty

Within any business, the beauty of design takes many forms. It may be present in the streamlined efficient functioning of a system. We might sense it in a gracious encounter with a company representative. It might be directly visible in a product. Beauty is revealed because of underlying design integrity. It’s not skin deep. In tern, a design process that’s conducted with integrity will produce beauty.

btrax creates the beauty of the brand’s form and content

Whatever the product, service, idea, or institution might be, at some point, others need information communicated about it. This is what btrax does – our specific discipline is communication design. The work is also called brand development, identity design, and corporate identity. We articulate and convey the beauty of the bran’s attributes and define a design system for use.

Substance first, style second

At btrax, we are serious about the idea that communication design is a discipline. A practice. That’s why we begin the process with research and analysis; this is the spadework. Substantive research yields brand strategy. Whether we’re talking about new or evolved brand design, the process is equally relevant.

Articulating the visual language

btrax creates the brand’s common visual language, a language spoken with both words and images and used organization-wide. Our work is critical to ensuring that a company is speaking with the same voice. Other marketing, interactive, and advertising professionals use the brand identity systems we create, too.

Effectiveness through design integrity

When the design ideas are right, no one ever has to ask, “Do we have to use the logo?” When audience hear and see consistent messages, they understand and remember the brand. Communicating becomes more efficient. Within the organization, too, people work from the same page, literally and figuratively. That means fewer meetings and do-overs. When people share the same way of speaking about the brand, messages are clear.

How btrax differs from other creative agencies

“Brand” is a word all marketing and advertising pros use. However, there’s a qualitative depth to btrax brand discipline. Other types of firms offer important services, but our emphasis on brand definition is unusually specialized. And we’re told, enduring.

Connect, inform, resonate, motivate

This is what the discipline of communication design can do for a brand. From development, to the first time the brand reaches its audience, to later stages of maturity, design makes a difference. Business meets beauty. And naturally, when we humans detect beauty, we sense our lives will be improved. Doorways open to trust and respect for the brand. To loyalty.


So while the thinking around “brand” and “design” may be complicated, the feelings they engender are simple. The question every organization needs to as itself is, “Can we afford not to make good design a priority?”


Global Growth Hacking for Startups

Increase your user acquisition, retention and revenue with btrax's BorderScale UX analysis and localization service. Our team uses its native Asian language skills, user behavior experience and local design aesthetics to improve your UX for Japanese, Korean and Chinese users. Learn more or contact us at

Like us on Facebook

Scroll to top