Those of you that follow this blog know that earlier this year I began teaching a branding graduate course at the Academy of Art in San Francisco. I get asked a lot what does the course entails, and the short answer is that over the course of 15 weeks the students get to:

1) Choose a brand that used to be great but nowadays not so much.
2) Analyze what’s the brand’s reason for being.
3) Revitalize the brand through a redesign effort, and extend the brand into areas not currently covered by it.

The goal of Nature of Identity then is to give students a strong understanding of what branding is all about. In today’s marketplace, a brand is no longer simply a logo, but instead an highly considered and orchestrated set of elements meant to reach an audience — not on a visual level — but on an emotional one.

To prepare students to appeal to today’s savvy observer, Nature of Identity moves beyond the creation of a simple identity system to discover the nuances in the creation of a holistic brand. Students explore various methods of research to discover the audience, mood and eventually raison d’être of their brand through industry-standard techniques and practices — and they get to bring a brand to life through the creation of a collection of integrated collateral.

Through critiques and presentations, students become vested in each other’s work as well as exposed to standard practices at design studios.Upon completion of Nature of Identity, students get a comprehensive understand the fundamentals of branding, including the creation of an integrated aesthetic based on analysis, research and intuition.

Stay tuned for upcoming posts which will feature some of the best student work from the past semester.