Branding Design – Reflective Essay

From the introduction session we had in September, the Branding Design module of my MA Marketing and Brand Management programme made the impression to round up the knowledge gained in previous modules. I did not always see it in this way. In the beginning, I was rather concerned with this module because I have always thought of myself as a very un-creative person. However, I was proven wrong by this after a while when I realised that you can be analytical and creative at the same time. While working on the projects, I actually got the impression that my analytical skills can support creativeness. By approaching the projects in a systematic and analytical way, I felt that I worked on the project from a more objective perspective, even though design seems to be a quite subjective topic. This allowed me to analyse clearly what was requested and develop the project accordingly. In addition, it made me think and act outside my comfort zone and accept other ideas, which will be especially helpful when working with clients as it can sometimes be complicated if the design team and the marketing team disagree. I think in a situation like this it is very beneficial if the design team or designer can take a step back, look at the project as a whole and reflect on how the marketing team’s ideas could be implemented in a way to which both sides can agree. Therefore, I see this as a very valuable skill as I will be able to understand those difficulties from both sides.

The module was divided up into two very important parts, namely a theoretical and a practical part. In the theoretical part, the principles of design were explained and I learned that design is actually a very broad topic, which includes many different aspects of how we see and perceive objects. Other theoretical context was placed around individual elements of design, such as colours and typefaces. Although I used these two aspects in nearly every project, I had never put such extensive thought into them and learned to appreciate their importance by the examples we were given during the lectures. In contrast, the second part of the module was very different. Even though it was very exciting to be able to express some newly-found creativity, I also felt challenged and sometimes frustrated with this part. As we developed our inner designer, I really had to push myself to overcome the inner barriers that nearly everybody seemed to have during the first interactive lecture where we were asked to draw simple illustrations around the subject ‘circles’. However, I have really enjoyed the practical approach of the module because I know that my learning and development is very much dominated by a ‘learning by doing’ approach. Therefore, it really helped that we were ‘forced’ to explore InDesign, Photoshop and Illustrator for ourselves, more or less, even though I can remember that I did not value it as much at the time. Now I can understand why the module is taught in this way and how much we as students can benefit from the hands-on approach. Furthermore, I think that I was also able to develop personally through this, which will help me in the future to overcome barriers. The slogan of that lecture, ‘Because I have never been creative, does not mean I can never be creative’, can be projected to many different areas and has helped to increase my self-confidence.

The types of assessments used in this module underlined the practical aspect of it as they reflected very well how potential projects might be structured. Having an individual aspect as well as a group aspect gave us as students a complete experience about projects and project management in the workspace. Continuously reflecting on the learning process in my blog posts also helped me to link the different topics up and to create a better overall understanding.

In retro perspective, I actually think now that the skills and knowledge gained throughout this module would have helped for other projects within the Master’s programme as some of them involved designing and rebranding a product. Furthermore, it definitely linked up many aspects of the course and added another perspective and levels to how I think about strategic brand management in a marketing context. Even though I had learned in another module how important the brand elements, including logo and packaging, are but having to go through that process of creating them myself, I have gained a greater understanding of the subject as a whole. This will not only add value to my skill set but will actually be a valuable asset when applying for jobs and on the actual job. In the future, I will be able to either use the basic skills that I have or even elaborate on those and take up further training to deepen these skills. This became very obvious to me when I could actually use my InDesign and Illustrator knowledge for my current internship, where I felt very confident with the task that I was given. I felt equipped with the technical skills as well as theoretical design knowledge to deliver what was required. As the outcome turned out very positive as well, I felt that I had accomplished something and was very appreciative of the module.

In conclusion, I am really thankful that I was given the opportunity to explore this field of study, which has been completely new for me. As I would probably have never chosen this if I were given the choice, I feel it is important that this decision was made for us because I have actually gained a lot more from this module than I would have expected. In addition, it provided a very different insight into the marketing world, which I am hoping to enter after completing my Master’s programme. I think it has definitely added value to me as a person as well as to my professional profile, because I will be able to show potential employers what I have achieved during this module. It has definitely been one of the more challenging modules of this programme, but I have enjoyed it very much as well.

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