There are multiple things you have to be thinking about when you have a blog, online business, or website. Marketing, writing, scheduling, connecting to others, and on top of all that, you want to make sure your website is attracting your ideal readers/clients! You might come to a point where you finally want to hire someone to do one of these tasks for you – like creating your website. You might come across someone to help you, but they only do development, or only do design, or only do branding. What’s the difference??
Alternatively you might want to invest the time to learn one or all of these trades yourself so you can create your own beautiful website! But again, what’s the difference of all these steps?
They aren’t the same, but they all come together to create one awesome thing – a cohesive and attractive website. Each of these 3 steps is critical when it comes to having a website you love and that will attract you ideal clients/readers. If you want to hire out, there are some people who can do all three of these things for you, but since these are all different, there are some who specialize in just one. It’s important to be clear on what you’re getting when looking for someone to make your website!
So what is the difference between these three things? Here’s the short version:
The branding of your website is that consistent look across your entire site that extends over to your social media and other areas where you are present on the web as well. The colors, fonts, patterns, and even images are all a part of your website’s brand.
The design of your website is everything you see on your site. How things are laid out, shapes, where the colors are used, etc. A lot of designers, myself included, create mock ups of a website on Photoshop before entering the development phase.
Development is the technical part of the process. This is when the design is actually implemented onto where your website is held – so either WordPress, SquareSpace, or whatever platform you use.
The process usually goes in this order: branding, design, development. One builds off of the other, and if you invest your time, money, energy, or whatever else depending on how you decide to do things, they all end up coming together to create something beautifully and uniquely you.
Now here’s the long(er) description of each step in the process:
The branding process is probably my favorite part of this 3 part process. My process might be different than others, but the process of branding is all pretty much the same. Start with defining the mood you want to portray, turn that into a mood board, then a style guide, then create all graphics for the website social media etc, and create a logo and some variations.. First step, describe your ideal brand!
What adjectives would describe your brand? How do you want your blog/business portrayed to others? What are you bringing to the table? What colors portray these moods?
Next, create a mood board! Creating a mood board on Pinterest is a great way to do this. Here is the Pinterest mood board I used when I was first creating my site (my brand has obviously changed a lot!):
I then implement this into a PSD mood board on Photoshop:
Then I translate this into a style guide with added fonts, styles, etc.
Creating graphics, social media headers, logos, alternate logos, and all of that yummy stuff comes next! The style guide would now be used as a reference when I am creating all of these other graphics. I will use the colors, patterns, and fonts to create blog graphic templates, social media headers, and even business cards.
The design part of this process is all about having fun with the style guide and translating that into a captivating and beautiful website that ensure the users will have a great user experience.
A design is usually created on Photoshop then developed into your chosen website platform, but some people like to do the design and development at the same time. Most people do this when they create their own website… the whole just figure it out as you go thing. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. But, I do find it so much easier to create a design then implement it, because I feel it saves me time and I like having a clear direction of where to go next during the development phase.
This is the technical part of the whole process. Here is where some good old fashion coding/development knowledge comes in handy! When you pass off a design to a developer, they implement the design into the website platform, and like magic, the design show up on your site and is now functional! Depending on your platform, development is going to be different in the way it’s done. Every website platform is different and not every developer is going to know how to use ALL platforms. That’s why it is important to make sure you find a specialist for your particular platform – for example, a WordPress development specialist.
All 3 of these aspects are equally important when it comes to the aesthetic of your blog. When you invest your creative and positive energy into each step of the process, the result will be nothing short of amazing. I can guaranteed it!