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In the context of websites, which of the following scenarios seems more right:

Scenario 1

Define the corporate identity - logo, typography, colours, etc. Move on to UX design - research, prototyping, testing, etc. Then apply brand identity to UI.

Scenario 2

UX design first, then define corporate identity and apply to UI.


What is the convention? Is there one? Is there an overlap between branding and UX?

I've searched the internet for an answer, but all I can find is whether UX or branding should be a priority. I'm not interested in this - I want to know which is done first.

  • This implies that all the things listed under “branding” are not part of “UX”. They are. UX is a process, not a step in the process. – Evil Closet Monkey Jan 8 at 0:57
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Usually at larger companies, Branding and UX will be handled by different teams or designers who collaborate with one another to ensure their work is in alignment. However, for smaller companies or startups, it's common for one designer or team to handle both Branding and UX needs. If that's the situation you're in, it's important to first consider that these two types of design often have very different goals.

At a high level, the goal of Branding is communicate the ethos of a company, as well as remain recognizable and distinctive in a variety of scenarios. UX's goal is to ensure everything they create is intuitive and consistent. The overlap between the two in context of a website often times comes down to language/copy, UI, and illustration. That said, one doesn't necessarily need to come before the other.

For your situation, I'd suggest you begin to think about what is needed more immediately. For example, if your company is brand new, in a very competitive industry and hasn't yet determined what their mission and values are, then I'd suggest you start branding first as it will help inform the way you design your site. Conversely, if the company has been around for awhile, and kind of "figured itself out", has a clear product strategy, and is really only needing the visual aspects of branding (logo, colors, font, etc), then you can totally start the UX first.

Like most things in design, there's no "right way" to do this stuff – it almost always comes down to the context of the situation, the company, and your role.

Hope that helps a bit!

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What you mean with logo, typography, colours is not corporate identity and not branding, but rather corporate design.

The role of corporate design has changed in the last 5-10 years. 10 years ago the branding was clearly distinguishable. Even looking at display from 5 meters distance you could clearly say if this a web site of IBM, MS or Oracle. Nowdays all of them look pretty similar. Also web sites of Volkswagen, General Motors, Daimler look similar. Toyota looks a bit different but also slightly outdated.

I would suggest to focus on UX. 1) It is more important that your users find needed information quickly than the users associate particular design with your brand. 2) Many modern web sites have similar corporate design.

It doesn't mean that you should ignore corporate design. The rules should be defined. But it means there are many good examples already and you don't have to search for something essentially different.

And this is an iterative process. When the UX concept is ready, you review it from the CI point of view and adjust UX or CI or both if needed. When there is new version of CI, you review it it is well compatible with your UX. The more you have implemented, the more issues you may find, when UX conflicts with CI. Sometimes you will review your CI and adjust. Sometimes adjust UX. I would recommend to give more weight the UX and adjust CI rather than UX.

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There is no real answer to the question of which one comes first, as often they are done in parallel (by different teams) or done one before the other. But there is probably consensus on the fact that there is overlap between branding and UX, and the degree of that overlap depends largely on the structure of the organisation and its level of UX maturity.

Hence the important thing to consider is that if you do the branding first, how will you allow for the UX to be consistent? Conversely, if you do the UX first, how will this align with the branding so as to not create any conflicts?

If you do get the chance, it makes sense to do the branding first as it normally flows down into the user experience (and that it is less likely to change as frequently), but you might find yourself in the process of adjusting the UX based on current or planned branding changes, so it is never really a case of doing it and then forgetting about it.

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