BRANDING is kind of a terrible word but it’s all we have.
Branding cannot replace value. Branding is not camouflage. Branding will not convince anyone of lies — for more than a minute.
One of the things that separates graphic design from fine art is that in graphic design, the evaluation happens before the art.
You can start a painting and not figure out what it’s saying until halfway through (or not at all!), but a design has something to say, a clear task, before it’s created.
For our purposes, branding is the understanding of the company or project or product that informs the visuals. Before you can solve the problem, you first grok (look it up) the problem.
Then throw it away. Play around. Don’t overthink it. Rote designs are bad. Obvious designs are bad. Your creativity is a great tool. Delight is essential!