Course Description

Branding is the visual application of a company's mission and narrative. Through the design process, the visual needs to tell the clients story are identified and applied to a range of formats starting with a logo system. Students then expand this brand concept and design into a series of practical applications including, but not limited to, stationery, standards manual and potentially web interface, packaging, menus and brochures, or even environmental components. Students should expect to develop multiple brand solutions and applications during the semester. (3 credits) Spring.


Branding is the foundation for which every company, organization or in some cases individuals stand apart from others. It is an identity that showcases who they are, what they stand for. The development of a brand will pull from why the identity exists. What makes them different and why do people identify with certain brands?

The branding will always precede any marketing scheme that comes after. It is bigger and far more important than any marketing effort. Consistency is vital to the strengthening which is why it’s imperative that the foundation is solid from the start. From the typefaces used to the weights and colors to the imagery and all it’s uniqueness carried from one facet to another. it will cross multiple platforms of message and form. Brand identity creates a message of truth and value and expression that forms exterior perceptions.

Current Semester Projects

Below are the projects you will be working on this semester. Each project will have an accompanying handout with specific outcome goals and a detailed schedule. As we finalize the project and you submit the design files, each project will be displayed so everyone will have the opportunity to look at what each student had developed. Previous student projects will also be available after the third class. This will allow enough time to help progress your own solutions without having other similar projects influence those decisions.

Project One : Corporate Entity

Develop the identity for a corporate entity. This will include the logo as well as a letterhead and envelope, business card for the ceo and secretary, a home page website mock up and newsletter for monitor and mobile screen sizes.

Project Two : Clothing Store

Develop the identity for a local clothing store that is type based driven. You will develop the letter forms for the logo as well as the business card, store shopping bag, store box with unique tissue paper, hang tags and clothing tags, the store signage and finally a postcard that shows the store location and description.

Project Three : Coffee/Tea Shop

Develop the identity for an independent coffee/tea shop. This will include a logo with icon integration, business card / frequent visitor, invitation to event postcard hosted by shop, window treatment and signage, shopping bag and pastry box, cup design, shirt and/hat design along with three packaging design for three separate blends of their coffee/tea.

Project Four : Food Truck

Develop the identity of a food truck. This will include the logo, the truck graphics, hand out menu, advertisements for a billboard, bus stop and bench, facebook page, social media ad mock ups, the food container, drink cups t-shirt to be given away and apron.


In this class, you will develop the brand identities from scratch. From logo development to multiple elements an entity would require will be created for a variety of scenarios. The “why” must be answered throughout the process. Revisiting the look and feel that the brand is generating is important and must be documented. The entire project must work together and be a cohesive message that speaks to the entity’s goal and values. Receiving outside feedback will be important as it will confirm your objectives or forced to rework your rationale. Throughout the process, you must understand how your designs will be adapted to other applications.

The logo may transcend the digital to physical world through print and embroidery or screen and even large scale signage or billboards. How will the typefaces chosen hold up under these different designs? What happens when your logo is placed in a social media setting and the design is squared off? Is your design extremely narrow and to utilize the space? Can you develop a set of rules that allows for the brand to bounce to multiple variations for different dimensions and spaces? Will the logo work as a one color? Is the line weight too thin that falls apart when stitching the design to a hat or shirt? All are important to consider and with each project this semester, your decisions will be forced into these different scenarios.


Please come to each class prepared to show your progress with the current project. Be sure to have continued your work outside of class time and arrive with a substantial amount of progress to show.

On crit days, do not expect to come and print out of your work before the crit begins. Class crits will begin immediately so all students have ample time to show their work and receive the critical feedback from fellow classmates. Then if time allows, the remainder of class will be spent reflecting and absorbing the criticism. Deciding which feedback will be useful and which will be set aside and how it can help strengthen your project. Class crits are vital to learning how one can articulate their rationale for design choices and evaluate those reasons. It is important for student participation and learn that a critique is not to be taken personally. The crit is important for each project and will count for 10% of your project grade. Do not miss classes when a crit is scheduled.

Each project will have a specified due date and are due on their date without any exceptions. If you miss a due date, your project will be docked a full letter grade for every class day that passes. No exceptions. On due dates, come to class with the project completed. Printed, scored, folded, pieced together and trimmed. Projects will be handed in at the start of class. Most projects will require time outside of class. Each project will have a tight schedule with milestones to help keep you on track. Please balance your time and do not fall behind.

You may resubmit any project for grading except for a project handed in late. You will have until the last week of classes to resubmit any project.

it is recommended a total of six to eight hours a week will be spent working on projects outside class. For projects, you will gauge rather quickly how much time will be needed outside of class to complete them and progress your ideas and concepts. As in many aspects of life, there is not an exact formula for creating a piece or learning a subject matter.

People work at varying speeds and students and professional designer will run into walls that will at times feel exhausting. Allowing enough time to work through these setbacks will ensure you are not running around last minute when projects are due.

This class is about problem solving. Not only design but also dealing with elements that go into preparing a design and completing the project. For example, the printer becomes an integral element of this class. It will without a doubt let you down. Just when you need to print your finished project, the paper will jam, the toner will run out and your computer will crash. This will never be a reasonable excuse. Do not wait until the last minute to print your work. Back up your files. Stack the deck in your favor to overcome any obstacle.

You will be required to have a sketch book [9 x 12] designated solely for this class. Whether you prefer to sketch out your ideas or jot down notes for each project, that is entirely up to you. In this class, simply getting to the end result is not good enough. The process of conceptualizing is as important as the final piece. The first ideas are seldom the best in design and it’s best to have a track record you may view during this process. Compiling your thoughts and decisions throughout the project will account for 10% of your grade. Some of the elements you will be designing for will require life style image manipulation. Always use hi-res images from the start when placing your work into an environment to showcase your design. Keep track of major shifts in design choices and save multiple versions of your work throughout the process.


For each project you will be evaluated in the following areas, the design and aesthetic appeal of each piece, how well the entire project with each of the components work with each other and creativeness of the brand as a whole. The logo is a crucial component and will weigh heavily but do not allow for the other elements to become an after thought. Allowing yourself to go backwards in your process when developing a certain aspect of the overall project and identifying a flaw in the logo is what this course is intended for. Don’t allow yourself to become rigid and solidify your finished logo even before developing the complimented pieces. Ask yourself how does the design itself hold up against other brands within the same profession. Could the overall brand be more attractive? Could the individual pieces posses a unique element or does it require a subtle and yet minimalist approach.

All possible directions should be conceptualized prior to execution and finalizing each design to a degree in which will help your overall portfolio presence. Though I do not grade individual projects against other projects, it is a great way for you to see where your design stands in relation to the other work being produced around you.

During this semester you will be given both projects as well as assignments. Each assignment is generally conducted outside the class that lead into a project. They are worth less than projects but can have an impact on your final grade. If you miss class when a class assignment is assigned, it is your responsibility to have that assignment done for when you return to class.

Gained Knowledge

The end of the semester you will have a clear understanding of how a brand is developed from the ground up. You will be able to take your logo and apply the set of rules and guidelines across multiple platforms that can cross print and digital delivery. Each and every project will have a style guide that will allow any individual to understand these rules you have developed for future designs.

In the end, you will have four complete and polished brands for your portfolio. You will have a clear understanding of the importance a brand has to an entity. You will walk away with a stronger sense of brand identity and maintaining that identity through multiple aspects of a design in various applications. This knowledge will help in other areas of design such as type usage, color treatment, compositional layout as well as balance.


You are allowed to miss a maximum of three classes after which your final grade will be affected. The fourth missed class will drop your final grade a half a letter. Every class after will drop your final average a full letter grade.

Please see me immediately if an issue arises. Do not let things get out of control and find that you have missed six classes and over your head. I am here to help in whatever way I am able to.

Other important details:


You will be required to have a sketch book designated solely for this class. Whether you prefer to sketch out your ideas or jot down notes for each project, that is entirely up to you. In this class, simply getting to the end result is not good enough. The process of conceptualizing is as important as the final piece. The first ideas are seldom the best in design and it’s best to have a track record you may view during this process.

Books & Magazines

Designing Brand Identity by Alina Wheeler
ISBN-10: 1118099206

Communication Arts Magazine - 6 issues per year

Logo Design Love by David Airey
ISBN-10: 0321985206

Baseline Magazine - 4 issues per year

Brand Identity Essentials by Kevin Budelmann
ISBN-10: 159253578X

Brand Against the Machine by John Morgan
ISBN-10: 1118103521

HOW Magazine - 4 issues per year

Print - 4 issues per year