What Is The Difference Between A Corporate Design And A Corporate Identity?

by Sanaz Aladag
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The corporate design, or CD for short, is a part of the corporate identity, or CI. You need a corporate identity and a corporate design developed from your business idea, especially to establish yourself, i.e., already when you start your business.  

The correct order is also essential. Of course, you must first be clear about your company identity before you can communicate it. But what exactly are the terms corporate identity and corporate design? 

Corporate identity: characteristics that define a company 

Corporate comes from English and is translated as “united, together, as a whole.” It refers to wholeness, shape. Corporate identity stands for the company’s self-image and the overall impression that a company leaves behind, both internally and externally. 

Corporate identity works both externally and internally. Outside, it shows in the business equipment the employees’ friendliness in dealing with customers and suppliers. Incidentally, this also includes how you discuss your answering machine. 

Inside, the company identity is reflected in cooperation, loyalty, the flow of information, and criticism in recognition, assessment, or remuneration. When you set your CI, it’s about defining clear values.  

The CI should be not only as unique as possible but also as timeless as possible. As in the personal area, identity cannot be changed at will or adapted to the current fashion in the corporate space, leading to a breach of identity, in the worst case, to a loss of identity. 

Let’s keep it simple: 

The corporate identity is the internally and externally communicated and lived advertising world of a company. 

The corporate design: mirror of the corporate soul 

The CD embodies your actions, your perception, and your intentions. A good CD symbolizes the spirit of your company. 

Like the CI, it has an external and internal effect by strengthening employees’ identification with and pride in the company. For these reasons, your corporate design must represent your company in the best possible way. 

A corporate design must be able to grow 

In the beginning, when the company is still tiny, many start-ups only think of equipping them with business papers and perhaps also of the website.  

But the CD must be able to grow with the company. It must also be suitable for products, packaging, clothing, advertising material, graphic photo design, exterior and interior design, exhibition stands, and company vehicles. 

Uniformity and continuity is more important than creativity 

The optically uniform company appearance is so important because an average of seven contacts (e.g., advertisements, letters, leaflets) are necessary before they are even noticed on the market. Every single external contact leaves an idea of ​​you and your company.  

To anchor your company as quickly as possible in the minds of potential customers, stationery, brochures, even your clothing or your business premises must be made from one piece, i.e., convey the same impression. To achieve the desired effect with your potential customers, you have to think through the visual appearance carefully because the corporate design is a long-term decision – not just because of the costs. 

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