Brand designer

,  13 March 2013

Brand designers work with the client to come up with a brand identity. They help decide which image or mood should be projected.

The team at branding and graphic design agency Form. (Image: Form UK)
The team at branding and graphic design agency Form. (Image: Form UK)

What do brand designers do?

Brand design involves creating a distinct identity for a product or service. Branding can encompass the entire image of a company or organisation, involving all the ways in which an organisation interacts with its users or customers.

You need to have a flair for design and an interest in the way things look.

Such ‘touchpoints’ can include:

  • visual identity, including logos
  • corporate identity
  • products
  • websites
  • packaging
  • physical environments, for example shops and offices
  • social media.

Who do brand designers work with?

The designer works with the client to understand what image, or mood, they want to project, and which of the touchpoints they want to work on.

The designer will prepare several alternative designs and present them to the client.

Brand designers may work for:

  • the design department of an organisation, as part of the organisation’s brand strategy and marketing department
  • a design company or agency, helping customers with their branding.

They usually work in an open-plan studio along with graphic designers and typographers. Some are freelance. There may be some travel to meet clients.

In a smaller agency, you are more likely to work directly with clients. In a larger organisation client contact may be through account managers.

Although the work is mainly normal office hours, you may have to work longer hours close to deadlines.

How do I become a brand designer?

You need to have a flair for design and an interest in the way things look. It would help also to be interested in how people react to messages and images.

You need to be able to:

  • pay great attention to detail
  • communicate your ideas
  • come up with creative ideas, but also be able to listen carefully to what the client is asking for
  • work to a brief, within the constraints of a budget and deadline
  • deal with your designs being rejected and be prepared to rework them, if necessary, sometimes at very short notice
  • work as part of a team or on your own, as required.

IT skills are essential. Employers may ask for experience of using software such as Adobe or Photoshop. You need to be interested in keeping up-to-date with IT.

Employers will usually expect you to have a portfolio of your work to show them at interviews.

Training and qualifications

Degrees

You need to study design. Although there are no set entry qualifications, most brand designers have a degree. Relevant subjects include:

  • graphic design
  • brand communication
  • visual communication
  • marketing and design.

Some courses are mainly design, while others are more about the strategic, business side of branding. All courses are listed on the UCAS website. D&Ad also has information about design courses.

Degree requirements

For a degree, you usually need at least two A levels or equivalent. Some design degree courses may also ask for a Foundation Diploma. This is a one-year course offered by many colleges and some universities.

You can prepare for a degree by studying design at different levels. As well as GCSEs and A levels in art and design, you could take:

  • Awards, Certificates and Diplomas
  • HNC or HND.

You need to see what’s on offer at colleges in your area.

There are apprenticeships in graphic design at level 2 or 3. Employers will expect GCSEs, usually including English and maths. They may want art and design or IT. Some may ask for one or more A levels, for level 3 apprenticeships.

Postgraduate degrees

If you study for a more general design degree, you may want to continue your studies by taking a Masters which specialises in branding or brand design, such as:

You may be able to study during a career break or by part-time or distance learning.

What can I earn?

As a trainee, you may start on the minimum or apprentice wage. A junior designer could start around £14,000 to £17,000, rising to £25,000 with experience. A senior designer could earn £30,000 to £45,000.

Freelance designers are paid an hourly or daily rate for the days they are working, which could be from £200 to £300 a day.


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