Branding, Communication & Design: Part I

Dr. Amardeep M. Dugar
June 11, 2021

BC&D Series is a three-part series that will explore the basic principles for effective branding through communication and design.

Part-1 of this series will explore the fundamental relationship between branding, communication and design by unraveling their fundamental definitions.


Branding, Communication and Design: Definitions

Branding can be defined as a strategy for enabling people to quickly identify and experience a brand. It is a well-defined process of giving meaning to specific companies, organizations, products or services by creating and shaping a brand in peoples’ minds.

Brand can be considered as the physical (e.g. “the shoe is light-weight”) and emotional (e.g. “the shoe makes me feel powerful”) manifestation of ideas or images about specific activities, products and services. It is therefore not just the physical features that create a brand but also the emotions that people create towards companies or organizations and their products or services.

What is communication? Communication can be defined as the fundamental requirement for the existence and survival of people. It is a well-defined process of sharing ideas, feelings, etc. with the purpose of arriving at a common understanding.

What is design? Design can be defined as the process of transferring ideas into action and creating something new. Design can also be defined as the process of envisioning and planning these creations. And finally, design is the result of these creations that people can experience through brands, products or services. . People communicate through languages, while brands communicate through design. Therefore branding can be considered as the mode of communicating a brand’s identity through design.


Design can communicate brand messages

Design can communicate branding messages faster than words by making sure that the messaging is clear and compelling.

In order to achieve this objective, design has to first develop a relationship between the audience and the brand visuals. Before knowing what the brand visuals will look like, designers should consider the message that needs to be communicated and how to strategically engage people. Design needs to consider key aspects that capture peoples’ attention first, the common associations that people have, and the psychology behind how design elements affect peoples’ moods.

Communication can better be understood through its basic principles. Principles constitute those validated guidelines used in performing different tasks or functions for achieving pre-defined goals. Generally speaking, there hasn't been a universal consensus about the “basic” principles of design. It is entirely possible to create a good brand design without a thorough understanding of the principles of design merely by “design intuition.” But this may take a lot of trial and error in order to create a brand that actually looks good and creates an optimal experience.

Therefore, understanding how the principles of communication can be applied in the design of brands, thereby creating better branding and marketing campaigns, can help businesses deliver the right message.


Studying the basic principles of communication to structure branding can be an incredibly valuable tool in designing and communicating strategic information about a brand.

Part-2 of this series will explore the basic principles of communication and their applications in the process of designing brands.


Author: Dr. Amardeep M. Dugar,  IALD, IDA, MIES, FISLE, FSLL

Dr. Amardeep M. Dugar is the founding principal of Lighting Research & Design.
He has a Masters degree in Architectural Lighting from University of Wismar, Germany and a Ph.D. from Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand.
He is also the co-founder of the Virtual Lighting Design Community.

The views expressed by the author are his own.

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