Beyond Branding course at Sessions College

Beyond Branding

3 credits

DES 302: Beyond Branding

Conceptualize and design memorable visual identity systems

Building upon your branding expertise, you will focus on effectively producing strategic and compelling graphic identity and branding materials. Your designs will be informed by your research of branding for product-driven and service-driven companies, as well as non-profit and cultural organizations. In this class, you will select or develop a signature project and carry it through a classic process: research, brainstorming, feedback, finalizing, client presentation, and final adjustments. An important aspect of this class will be the production of a graphic design standards manual, demonstrating your ability to establish and communicate professional standards.

Make your branding designs stand out

Course At A Glance

Course Features

  • 100% online
  • Project-based
  • Instructor-led
  • Credit-bearing: 3 Credits
  • Classes start January, April, and August


The course is taught by the following instructor(s):

Course developed by: Kristen Becker

Take this course as a standalone or as part of the following program(s):

Course Projects

    1. A Brief History of Branding

      We'll review some landmark events in the history of branding and examine what you need to know about ever-changing trends in branding to be a successful brand designer. The discussion will range from well-established methods to the impact of current trends such as dynamic logos, vintage/retro styles, brand personalities and stories, conversational marketing, community building, and the branded user experience.

    2. Components and Goals of Branding

      What are the components of a branding or identity design, and what is their purpose? We will break a brand down into its components: The brand's "Why", Mission, Vision, Values; Employees; Objectives, Brand Identity, and Positioning, and discuss the goals of branding.

    3. Research for Branding Success

      Research is key for branding success. No branding project can accomplish its goal without a deep understanding of the company's goals, products, target audience, and longer term direction. In this topic we will explore how to research a brand, using concepts and techniques that are standard in the industry: SWOT analysis, mission, vision, and value statements, and target market information.

    4. The Brand Conceptualization Process

      If the brand research process is complete, you are ready to start creating the core assets of the brand. To do this, you will need to define the brand's value proposition and begin translate that into logo and visual identity designs, developing color, typography, and layout options. We will define a professional process that you can use to explore your options.

    5. Producing a Brand Standards Manual

      If the core elements of your brand identity are established, it's time to package your design thinking into a manual that employees, designers, marketing experts, content creators, and anyone else creating brand collateral can use as a guide to ensure they create content that is "on brand." We will discuss principles for codifying your work.

Sample Student Work

For sample work, visit student gallery

Course Outcomes

What Are The Course Projects?

Students will research and develop an effective branding design, producing a strategic and compelling graphic identity and set of branding materials. Students will work with the instructor to select a project that meets their portfolio goals and embark on an effective research program that informs and influences their design work.

What Software or Supplies Do I Need?
  • Computer with Internet connection.
  • Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign CC.
What Will I Learn?

Students in this course can expect to learn to:

  • Research, synthesize, and present insights into important branding designers and agencies, branding projects, and current industry trends.
  • Analyze the components of a client's visual identity, developing concepts for creative re-branding.
  • Gather, analyze and present research into a client's target audience, industry, and key competitors.
  • Conceptualize a multi-dimensional signature project and develop it through a process of research, brainstorming, feedback, finalizing, client presentation, and final adjustments.
  • Produce a graphic design standards manual demonstrating your ability to establish and communicate professional standards.

Getting Started

Course Registration

  • Classes start January, April, and August
  • 3 Credit Course
  • Project-Based: Exercises, Discussions, and Critiques

Course Tuition and Fees
Registration Fee* $200
Total Course Price $1730

Registration fees are nonrefundable after 5 days from enrollment. All tuition includes a digital materials fee for course content.

Course Registration Form

To register for this course, use the form below to enter your information and desired start date. An Admissions Advisor will contact you to arrange payment and provide you with an Enrollment Agreement.

PD: Course Registration

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


What Are The Courses Like?

Our courses are project-based. In each course you’ll enjoy a series of lectures, projects, discussions, and critiques designed to stretch your creative skills, earning college credit for your completed course.

How Much Time Do I Need?

Classes start January, April, and August, and this course can be completed in a 15-week term. College credit from this course can be applied to a range of degree and certificate level programs at Sessions College.

Who Are The Instructors?

Our courses are developed and taught by our faculty of professional artists, designers, and photographers. This means that you’ll learn in-demand skills, get feedback on your work, and build a portfolio of creative work.

Is Sessions College accredited?

Yes. Since 2001, Sessions College has been accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC). The Distance Education Accrediting Commission is listed by the U.S. Department of Education as a recognized accrediting agency and is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).