Brand Education: Applying Cooperative Teaching Methods for Branding and Design
Wayne Chung, Associate Professor, Industrial Design
The Ohio State University, Department of Industrial, Interior, Visual Communication
The term 'brand' is commonly used in today's culture. Branding's importance in design, business, and consumer confidence cannot be dismissed. The definition of brand encompasses everything tangible and intangible. A company's brand has inherent equity determined by the trust and value consumers place on identity, logo, product, people, and experience. To properly appreciate it's importance, design education needs to actively address this complex subject in today's curriculum.
Typically, business management and marketing has determined corporate brand strategy. Design has historically been the child of implementation. However, with broader acceptance and application of relevant design research and methods, design has shown to be more than just an executor of marketing data.
Today's design education needs to understand, teach, and apply brand education in the curriculum. This can be done through studio projects or special program courses. The effectiveness and value increases as the integration of all disciplines of visual communication, product design, business, and production are brought together on common brand problems.
Thankfully brand's multi-faceted concepts readily lend themselves to relevant discussions on tangible and intangible issues: relationship of 2D and 3D forms, proportions, color usage, cognitive and psychological issues, etc. As designers are becoming partners with engineers and production, so should the extension be made into business. Project based branding projects cross-integrate marketing and business directly into the design discipline.
With the support of external industry sponsors, the program at The Ohio State University’s Design Department has implemented the beginnings of a special project course based on brand education and application. This course is dedicated to understanding, teaching, and applying brand for various packages and products. The course has allowed interdisciplinary teams of undergraduate and graduate level students to work together on a common branding problem.
The following paper will present issues that pertain directly to design and how the discipline needs to be a more active participant in branding strategies. This paper will include specifics on the research methods, best-design practices, co-teaching opportunities, and resources utilized in two past brand projects. It is the intent of this paper to show how design programs may integrate and benefit from understanding, teaching, and applying brand.