7. Design To Brand

Taught Once
University of Cincinnati
Spring 2017

What role does ethics play in developing a brand identity? What has been the evolution of ethics in the last ten years of branding? Fifteen years? This course asked students to research a wide scope of brands to manifest a comprehensive picture of the way ethics has grown, been manipulated, and been ignored in the past, present, and future. Ethics can be fluid and subjective and to have the insight of your peers’ point of view during this project is imperative.

This course also covered topics relating to failure in design as well as speculative design futures. What does it mean to fail? What role does failure play in the design process and overall industry? In the age of the internet ideas, fads, products, systems, platforms, etc. come and go on a perpetual basis. What makes some ideas succeed and some ideas fail? What are the long-term implications of a failed idea? These were all questions asked throughout the duration of this course. 

Teaching Reflections: Unfortunately I have lost the majority of student work examples from this course. This experimental approach to the study of branding was a fun exercise to conduct with students in a somewhat conservative design program. What I ultimately wanted the students to take away from this course was the power that branding has had throughout our history as consumers. We watched the documentary series Century of the Self by Adam Curtis which introduced them to the historically manipulative role branding has played in the last century. This led them to a project where they were asked to speculate what branding would look like 100 years in the future. 

Design To Brand Syllabus