Branding at the Speed of Culture
Debbie Millman's TED Talk
How Brands Work in Our Brains with Debbie Millman
Anything Worthwhile Takes Time
The Masters of Professional Studies in Branding is the first and longest running program of its kind in the world, and offers a select group of students an opportunity to study with some of the most accomplished brand experts working today.
This accelerated one-year graduate degree program is a challenging multi-disciplinary experience of in-class lectures, real-world client projects, unique and progressive workshops, examination of classic business school case studies, individual one-on-one professional mentorship, group and personal projects.
The foundation of the Masters of Professional Studies in Branding is the deep exploration and understanding of the role brand strategy plays in business, behavior, marketing and culture.
During the year, students will develop an understanding of diverse branding strategies and will include courses on go-to-market research techniques, brand development life cycles, semiotics and visual communication, business-to-business and business-to-consumer frameworks, history, cultural anthropology, trend forecasting, economics, statistics, behavioral psychology, persuasion, brand management and design.
In addition, we investigate marketing challenges involved in creating, sustaining and reinventing brands as well as gain an understanding of corporate level discourse.
The curriculum for The Masters in Branding Program allows students to create frameworks to guide brand, design and business development, critically evaluate brand, business, marketing and design frameworks and master the intellectual link between strategy and creativity.
All students must complete a total of 36 credits in ten months, as well as defend a thesis. All courses are graded on a pass/fail system. Students are required to attend every scheduled class meeting, complete required readings, participate actively in class discussions, and create an original body of work, culminating in the successful defense of the graduate thesis.
The Anthropology of Branding
Brad Davidson, PhD.
Brands occupy a complex role within cultural spaces—there is an ongoing dialogue between the historically situated culture of consumers who interact with brands (including the language and semiotics of representation), other brands in the same and adjacent social spaces, and the branded experience or object itself, each influencing the other in an evolving fashion. In this course we will use some of the interpretive techniques of observational social sciences, specifically anthropology and linguistics, to analyze, deconstruct and interpret what a “brand” is, how it accrues meaning and influences perception and behavior, and what role it can play in the lives of those who interact with it. We will also use these analyses to help understand what makes a successful brand, and how to interpret available data to create meaningful brands for target audiences.
German critic Walter Benjamin observed that “just as the entire mode of existence of human collectives changes over long historical periods, so too does their mode of perception. The way in which human perception is organized — the medium in which it occurs — is conditioned not only by nature but by history.” Brands are such a conditioning medium. And the collective effect of contemporary optical, digital and economic instruments can be described as the Branded Unconscious. So what does this hold for contemporary branding practice? This class draws from the tradition of western thought to consider branding today, and to provoke the branding of tomorrow. Together, we will interrogate the fuzziness of contemporary brand phenomena, and begin to create a space for you to play — both intellectually and professionally.Mark Kingsley
A Unified Theory of Branding
Scott Lerman & Melanie Wiesenthal
Leading the definition and evolution of a world-class brand requires more than intellectual rigor and insight. You must unify and leverage the expertise and efforts of an astounding array of people—leaders, followers, scientists, artists, magicians (consultants), engineers, establishmentarians and revolutionaries.
In this course, you will learn to use powerful frameworks that harmonize and focus the efforts of diverse teams as they develop ambitious strategic brand programs. Using real-world case studies—including Ashland, Caterpillar, Bank of America, DuPont, Harley-Davidson, INVISTA, and emerging start up distruptor brands like Myro and Emme, we will look inside the processes that enable organizations (large and small, old and new, B2B and B2C) to define the future of their brands. The course will provide you with a unique perspective of how research, strategic definition, identity, expression, creative communications and behavior are shaped into great brands.
The Evolution of CPG Brands and Package Design
Consumer brands, and the retail marketplace that supports them, have evolved through several stages in the last 400 years. Each has been strongly influenced by culture, events and the changes of the retail markets of which they are a part. The first three stages, from the 17th century through the 20th century, can be described as the era of the retailer, the era of the manufacturer and the era of the brand. The last decade has seen an evolution of brand activity toward a focus on consumer experience and brand influenced lifestyle communities. Where does the CPG brand stand today and what is its future? This course will review the historical evolution of CPG brand identities through the lens of retail brand identity and package design. We will review, century by century, the history of CPG brand identities, and the aesthetic and cultural influences that have shaped their path. While reviewing these historical precedents, students will develop an informed judgment on where CPG brand identities are today and where they may be headed.
Business and Branding Strategies
What does it mean to be in the “business” of branding? How does someone in a “creative” field make a point, sell an idea, affect change, get a promotion in a “business” environment? What are the business implications of a strong brand or a weak one? This course gives a comprehensive primer on the business side of brands and prepares the student to use the brand as an effective business tool. Beginning with the fundamental drivers of consumer desire, we seek to understand the underpinnings of brand development like brand strategy and rational vs. emotional benefits. The basics of business, from the fundamentals of the markets to understanding the nature of a public company will be explored, as well as practical skills like making effective presentations to multi-variate audiences.
The Meaning of Branded Objects
Tom Guariello, PhD.
Brands transform objects into meaning-bearers. This course will explore the collective and individual history of this transformation. As we have evolved from hunter-gatherers into robustly cultural beings, objects themselves have also evolved: from disposable, purely functional extensions of the body to deeply personal, even cherished, expressions of an individual’s life. We will examine the history and insights of individual and social psychology in shaping the context for 21st-century perceptions of, and relationships with, the things that surround us. Concretely, we will investigate the increasingly sophisticated manner in which brands have gained and integrated quantitative and qualitative insights into our lives (and our cultural contexts) to create opportunities for complex, meaning centered relationships between people and things. Students will use their own experiences as the starting point for this exploration into the lived-meaning of individual brands and their collective role in the construction of modern personal identity.
Today brands operate in a global world. Thanks to the rapid expansion of information, technology and potential for economies of scale, multi-national organizations since the early ‘80s have been evolving into to true Global enterprises reaching many geographies and different consumers daily with their brands. In the attempt to make brands travel more broadly, some of them succeed, some fail, and very few become Iconic. Given the complexity that broader reach brings, managing brands at a global level typically requires a different approach to Brand Building and often also a different marketing and management structure is needed to enable success.
Brand Management explores how brands can achieve a high degree of similarity across countries with respect to brand equity, character, target, advertising strategy, product, packaging, look and feel, among other characteristics. This workshop starts with a specific business challenge and requires the students to show mastery of the brand building framework by applying it to a specific Brand and Region in the world. Each business team will present to the “board of directors” of the selected brand. Once the challenge is complete, the group is exposed to the process of rolling up regional strategies to a final Global model. It is an intense class that seeks to replicate the realities and complexities of managing brands in multiple regions and develop sensibility for the framework and processes to consider when working on Global brands.
A Brand Called You
The good news: We are now living in what Businessweek has called a “creative economy.” The bad news: More than ever before, design will be called upon to deliver a return on investment and measured performance in the marketplace. How can you truly quantify your talent and develop strategic and competitive intelligence? How can you quantify meaningful differentiation in a world already filled with branding firms, creative strategists and brand gurus? This course will address: How to create a meaningful philosophy that can guide your career, how to present yourself in meetings and interviews, how to network and stand out from your competition, how to create discipline in your approach to work, and how to sell yourself with more confidence. Additionally, students will participate in a 100-Day project, an individual experience of undertaking a design/brand/marketing/creative operation that each student will repeat every day for 100 consecutive days during the second half of the program.
Branding Social Movements
Ilene Feinman, PhD.
This workshop will explore the long story of social justice movements and their use of signifiers that evolve into movement brands. In movement discourse, these symbols are born of moments where movement meanings are organically built and sometimes born of the happenstance of an image. We will look at several episodes of US social movement histories to engage the instantiations of symbols as rallying cries and networks of meaning making. This study will include consideration of how we might consider movement branding as a strategy for creating thriving movement affinities.
The Power of Persuasion
Persuasion is everywhere, influencing us thousands of times a day, both directly and indirectly, to buy something, support something, or think differently about something. Persuasion is a critical weapon in the arsenal of brands, nonprofits, the government, the press, and anyone interested in molding and shaping attitudes. A venerable art form handed down to us by the ancient Greeks, persuasion is still vibrant today but significantly evolved due to the volume, speed, institutionalization, subtlety and complexity of our messages. In this seminar we will examine how effective persuasive techniques are informed by modern theories of persuasion and classical rhetoric, using examples found in everyday life. Students will craft persuasive messages using framing techniques and theories with the goal of becoming more effective communicators and more critical judges of social influence attempts.
Practices in Design and Market Research
Dan Formosa, PhD. & Pablo Ulpiano
Brands have historically relied heavily on marketing techniques to help establish and strengthen their presence. That is changing quickly, as instant global communication and various forms of social networking have replaced the need for consumers to rely on brands for confidence in a purchase. In this project-based course, students will learn how to create a research plan, find participants, and integrate research methods in the context of a specific branding project. Some of the topics explored will be qualitative, quantitative, online and ethnographic interview techniques, video and photo documentary, immersion, participant-aided data gathering, prototype assisted observation, methods for organizing data, finding patterns and distilling insights that lead to actionable and inspiring design directives. We will also explore the differences between market research and design research, and understand the goals and appropriateness of each.
Elizabeth Talerman & Gena Cuba
Brands live within the context of culture, competition and the swirl of daily life. Like a lighthouse, a brand should be a beacon that shines with meaning and by which people navigate. This becomes possible when a brand is the embodiment of shared ambition, determined through the careful collection of evidence and anchored by a brief.
Students will learn to create an instructive brand brief and practice the physics that drive successful branding: why, when, and how people do or do not connect with an idea concept, company, product or ideology. The trajectory of our semester will include a process of investigation, distillation, creation and facilitation. The work we do, in collaboration with a real-world client, will employ human-centered and behaviorally focused research methodologies, design methodology that informs the development of innovative solutions, and the creation of implementation strategies that are contextually responsive.
Pitch Perfect: How to Win New Business
Andrew Miller & Andrea Sullivan
Winning significant branding assignments from noteworthy companies is an art and a science—one that requires intelligence, collaboration, and the ability to connect on a human level. In a short span of time, potential agency partners need to understand the challenge quickly and find ways to demonstrate distinct value to a client. In this course, multidisciplinary teams will learn to identify a powerful customer insight that can grow a client’s business. Using strategic frameworks to outline a point of view, each team will develop and present a pitch to evolve a well-known brand that faces many challenges. Final presentations will be delivered as an engaging and creative experience to industry leaders.
Analysis, Insight and Forecasting
Cultural change is neither unpredictable nor random. The seeds of the next are buried in the now, in the psyche of the individual and in the collective mind called “culture.” In this course, students will learn to read deeply and carefully the cultural signs that surround them in order to recognize underlying patterns and learn to translate these patterns into actionable human and cultural insights, valuable throughout the lifecycle of any product or brand. We will also explore how to leverage trend analysis to forecast paradigmatic shifts in human behavior and culture as well as in the marketplace. Students will complete the course with the means to identify and leverage the patterns underlying the most powerful and beloved cultural artifacts and brands
Thesis Class: Creating Brands, Identity and Experiences
The summer semester will focus on the branding and positioning of a real world, in-market brand. We will investigate the challenges of bringing elegant, innovative and efficient solutions to a market targeted to strong customer needs and desires. The course is structured around the process of: opportunity identification, idea generation, design, testing and launch opportunities.
Prior to the final thesis course, students will participate in a series of workshops that address various aspects of practice and theory, and will explore areas such as the adaptation of cultural values to the brand, the maintenance of brand integrity, global design strategies and brand relevance to target markets. Where applicable, case studies will supplement workshop topics.
Named “one of the most creative people in business” by Fast Company, and “one of the most influential designers working today” by Graphic Design USA, Debbie Millman is also an author, educator, curator and host of the podcast Design Matters.
As the founder and host of Design Matters, one of the world’s first and longest running podcasts, Millman has interviewed nearly 500 artists, designers and cultural commentators over the past 14 years. Design Matters won a 2011 Cooper Hewitt National Design Award, in 2015 Apple designated it one of the best overall podcasts on iTunes, and in 2018 the show was honored by the Webby Awards. In addition, Design Matters has been listed on over 100 “Best Podcasts” lists, including one of the best podcasts in the world by Business Insider. The show is about how some of the world’s most creative people design the arc of their lives, and Debbie has interviewed guests including Tim Ferriss, Malcolm Gladwell, Marina Abramovic, Steven Pinker, Shepard Fairey, Laurie Anderson, Barbara Kruger, Amanda Palmer, Alain de Botton, Brene Brown, Hamilton Director Thomas Kail, and many, many more.
Debbie is the author of six books, including two collections of interviews that have extended the ethos and editorial vision of Design Matters to the printed page: How to Think Like a Great Graphic Designer and Brand Thinking and Other Noble Pursuits. Both books have been published in over 10 languages. She was a writer for the world’s first design blog, Speak Up, the Editorial and Creative Director of Print Magazine and a columnist for N Magazine. She is currently working on an illustrated book for HarperCollins titled Why Design Matters, which will be published in 2020, along with and a documentary about the making of the book, produced by Adobe.
Debbie’s illustrations have appeared in publications such as The New York Times, New York Magazine, Print Magazine, Design Observer and Fast Company. She is the author of two books of illustrated essays: Look Both Ways and Self-Portrait As Your Traitor; the later of which has been awarded a Gold Mobius, a Print Typography Award, and a medal from the Art Directors Club. Her artwork is included in the Boston Biennale, Chicago Design Museum, Anderson University, School of Visual Arts, Long Island University, The Wolfsonion Museum and the Czong Institute for Contemporary Art. She has been critic-in-residence at Cranbrook University, Old Dominion University and Notre Dame University, and has conducted visual storytelling workshops all over the world.
In 2009 Debbie co-founded the world’s first graduate program in branding at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. Now in its ninth year, the program has achieved international acclaim. The inaugural class wrote and designed the Rockport book Brand Bible: The Complete Guide to Building, Designing and Sustaining Brands, in 2013 the students created branding for the Museum of Modern Art’s retail program, Destination: New York, the class of 2015 worked to reposition a Kappa Middle School in Harlem, the class of 2016 rebranded Mariska Hargitay’s Joyful Heart Foundation, the class of 2017 worked with Kholsa Ventures, Performance Space New York and Chobani Incubators, and the class of 2018 worked with Brian Koppelman to design a logo for the television show Billions.
For 20 years, Debbie was the President of Sterling Brands, one of the world’s leading branding consultancies. She arrived there in 1995 when the company was two years old and had 15 employees in one office. Under her leadership, Sterling grew to 150 employees in five offices and she was instrumental in the firm’s acquisition by Omnicom in 2008. Omnicom is one of the world’s largest holding companies. While there she worked on the logo and brand identity for Burger King, Hershey’s, Haagen Dazs, Tropicana, Star Wars, Gillette, and the No More movement.
Debbie is also President Emeritus of AIGA, one of five women to hold the position in the organization’s 100-year history. She is a frequent speaker on design and branding and has moderated Design Yatra in India, presented keynote lectures at Rotman School of Management, Princeton University, Michigan Modern, the Hong Kong Design Association, the Melbourne Writers Festival, Design Thinkers in Toronto, the Festival of Art and Design in Barcelona, Webstock in New Zealand, QVED in Munich, ING in Dubai, ND2C in Pakistan, PS One in China, Web Summit in Lisbon and many more. She has been a juror for competitions including Cannes Lions, The Clio’s, the One Club and many, many more. This year she will be the Jury President for the branding competition for the D&AD Awards in London.
Debbie is currently working with Law & Order SVUactor and activist Mariska Hargitay’s Joyful Heart Foundation to eradicate sexual assault, domestic violence, child abuse and the rape-kit backlog.
Author, co-author, and/or editor of over 100 books on design and popular culture, publishers include chronicle, allworth press, harry n. Abrams, phaidon press, taschen press, abbeville press, thames & hudson, rockport, northlight, and more. He is currently completing “iron fists: branding the totalitarian state” for phaidon press, an analysis of how the major dictatorships used graphics to propagate their ideologies.
For 33 years steven heller was an art director at the new york times, originally on the oped page and for almost 30 of those years with the new york times book review. Currently, he is co-chair of the mfa designer as author department, special consultant to the president of sva for new programs, and writes the visuals column for the new york times book review.
He is the co-founder and co-chair (with lita talarico) of the mfa designer as author program at the school of visual arts, new york, where he lectures on the history of graphic design. Prior to this, he lectured for 14 years on the history of illustration in the mfa illustration as visual essay program at the school of visual arts. Steven heller also was director for ten years of sva’s modernism & eclecticism: a history of american graphic design symposiums.
With seymour chwast he has directed push pin editions, a packager of visual books, and with his wife louise fili he has produced over twenty books and design products for chronicle books and other publishers.
For over two decades he has been contributing editor to print, eye, baseline, and i.D. Magazines, has had contributed hundreds of articles, critical essays, and columns (including his interview column “dialogue” in print) to a score of other design and culture journals.
As editor of the aiga journal of graphic design he published scores of critical and journalistic writers on design, and currently as editor of aiga voice: online journal of design, he continues to help build a critical vocabulary for the field.
Emily Weiland is the Director of Operations and Graduate Advisor for the Masters in Branding program at the School of Visual Arts. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design from Anderson University in South Carolina before moving to New York City to join the SVA staff.
Outside of her role at SVA, Emily is a freelance Graphic Designer collaborating with Debbie Millman on various projects, including the cover art for Roxane Gay's podcast Hear to Slay, Dani Shapiro's podcast Family Secrets, and Jack and Amanda Palmer's record cover You Got Me Singing.
She also regularly works with the Joyful Heart Foundation, a leading national organization transforming society's response to sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse, to design collateral material for upcoming events.
Bret Sanford is a globally renowned builder of brands who brings the unique experience of having practiced marketing from every perspective—as Agency Creative Director, Chief Marketing Officer, Global Agency Leader and Educator. Bret is currently CMO Executive Partner at Forrester Research, where she partners with CMOs, CDOs and CEOs to accomplish large-scale corporate transformation. Prior to that, she was a Partner at CreativePutty, Inc., a branding and marketing consultancy.
Bret ran the multi-national, multi-agency team handling HSBC that created the renowned “Values” work now in the permanent collection of MoMA. While heading marketing for Smith Barney, she relaunched the brand as a vital, modern financial services player. Her expertise has been sought out by global brands across a broad spectrum, such as: PwC, Merrill Lynch, University of Michigan School of Public Health, Meridien Hotels, The Wines of Rioja and Charles Schwab.
She is a founding faculty member of the Masters in Branding Program at New York’s School of Visual Arts, teaches at Columbia University’s Strategic Communications Master’s Degree program, and sits on the Entrepreneurial Sounding Board at Columbia Business School. She serves on the board of Just Food, a non-profit that helps underserved communities in the 5 boroughs create food sovereignty, thereby promoting racial equity.
Gena Cuba is a Partner and Creative Director of Nucleus where she leads the Impact team in human-centred design strategy and design research. A design strategist with over 15 years of experience, Gena’s work focuses on re-framing large, complex problems in surprisingly simple ways. She spends her time carefully observing and inquiring about the curiosities that we call home, community, work and care. Gena has worked in partnership with collaboratives including UNICEF, IDEO, Dalberg Design Impact Group, IDEO.org, and Pepsi Innovation using human-centred principles to guide the development of strategic systems.
Throughout her career, she has been honored with awards including The Paula Rhodes Scholar from the School of Visual Arts, Visual Art Scholarship by Peck School of Arts, the Frederick R. Layton BFA Award and has been published in the Communication Arts Arts Design Annual, Step Design 100, Black Book AR 100 and Graphis Annual. Gena also teaches at Parsons School of Design and the School of Visual Arts.
Dr. Tom Guarriello is a psychologist, born in The Bronx at the beginning of the Baby Boom. He received his Bachelor's and Master's degrees in psychology from the University of Dayton and earned a doctorate in clinical psychology from Duquesne University. Tom specializes in helping individuals and organizations develop the creative ideas, innovative methods and customer-focused products needed to succeed in rapidly changing environments.
He spent the first 20 years of his career working in the public and private mental health system as both a clinician and executive. Since 1989, Tom has focused on helping leaders improve their individual and organizational performance by developing a deep understanding of the cultural context, experience, and behavior of their customers. From 1994 through 2019, he co-led TrueTalk, Inc., along with his partner, Peggy Kelston. The firm focused on enhancing organizational creativity by strengthening social systems.
Tom has been fascinated with the social/psychological impact of technology since spearheading his first IT project in 1981. He authored The TrueTalk Blog from 2004 - 2016, and has created hundreds of YouTube video blogs. In January, 2006 he was invited by YouTube founders Chad Hurley and Steve Chen to be one of five members of the inaugural YouTube Community Council. On November 21, 2006 he became Twitter member #13,512 @tomguarriello.
Tom now helps organizations of all kinds use modern social technology to change the way business is done. He has worked with a wide variety of companies (from Victoria’s Secret to Harvard Business Review) in the apparel retail, publishing, insurance, health care, transportation, and communication industries.
In late 2009, Tom was invited to become a Founding Faculty Member in the newly launched Masters in Branding program at New York’s School of Visual Arts. He currently teaches “The Meaning of Branded Objects,” a course in the psychology of branding from an experiential standpoint, and mentors students in Honors and Thesis projects. In 2014, Tom launched RoboPsych.com, a website devoted to exploring the psychology of human-robot interaction. Since then, he and his co-host, Carla Diana, have interviewed scores of industry leaders on the RoboPsych Podcast. Tom resides in Princeton, New Jersey with Karen, his wife.
Dan Formosa is a consultant in design and innovation who has rethought products from consumer goods to surgical equipment, food to automobiles. His work on the creation of OXO Good Grips kitchen tools helped them become an iconic symbol of inclusive design – design that works for everyone. His work with HP helped them become a more consumer-friendly company. Dan helped conceive SmartGauge, an instrument cluster for the Ford Motor Company designed to influence driving behavior to save fuel – an innovation for the industry.
His awards include the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Award (on behalf of Smart Design, a firm he originally co-founded), and IxDA’s first annual Interaction Design Award, in the “Disruptive” category. His work is included in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art. In addition to his personal consulting Dan co-founded 4B, a design collective focusing on design and gender for the world's almost-4-billion females. Dan also co-founded the Masters in Branding program at the School of Visual Arts in New York City, the first degree of its kind, exploring business, design and the future of brands.
Dan holds an undergraduate degree in product design and a Masters and Ph.D. in ergonomics and biomechanics. He consults with companies and organizations worldwide on innovation, and lectures and writes frequently about the physical and emotional aspects of design and their impact on the brands they represent.
Dr. Ilene Feinman is Dean and Professor in the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences at California State University, Monterey Bay. She began her career in higher education at CSUMB in 1996 as faculty in Democratic Participation and US Cultures in the Human Communication program. She received her PhD. in 1997 through the History of Consciousness Program at University of California, Santa Cruz.
Her book, Citizenship Rites: Feminist Soldiers and Feminist Antimilitarists (NYU Press, 2000) was noted in the Chronicle of Higher Education as a groundbreaking work on women, the US military, and militarism in the context of international relations. She has also published in collections on peace activism, gender and war, as well as having been interviewed by NPR, the Washington Post, and Air America on the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal.
Dr. Brad Davidson is a Stanford trained linguist and medical anthropologist, with extensive experience in marketing, positioning, branding, and overall customer and patient provider experience. A frequent speaker and author, he is known as one of the top experts in physician-patient interaction and dialogue. He is also well known in the field of branding, product positioning, and strategic planning. As a social scientist, he focuses on studying physician-patient interactions, medical training and culture, and cross-cultural encounters within the medical sphere. He has spent the past 20+ years focused on optimizing health communications and experiences for patients, providers, health delivery systems and pharmaceutical clients. He has worked frequently in the areas of adherence, behavior change, and the impact of technology on medical culture. He also has a knack for problem solving and brand positioning, and is a frequent author and speaker on the emerging culture of systems-based medicine and DIY health. Brad received his PhD in linguistics from Stanford University, followed by a post-doctoral fellowship at the Stanford Center for Biomedical Ethics; he leverages both qualitative and quantitative social science approaches to optimize language of high-science and general market launch brands and campaigns. Brad has also worked with a broader base of clients (services, automotive, CPG, technology) to help position brands for maximum impact and success.
Sem Devillart is a cultural analyst and strategist focused on visual and online culture. For the last fifteen years, she has collaborated with top organizations on innovative methods to turn cultural signals into high-value intelligence, media content, products and business models. Recently, Sem worked on the start up of a responsive, data driven creative agency at Omnicom.
Sem is a founding faculty member of theMasters in Branding Program at the School of Visual Arts in New York. She studied semiotics, design and comparative religion in Tuebingen and Milan and grew up on three continents, between seven languages . . . early training in spotting hidden patterns in what's happening.
Tosh Hall is the Global CCO at Jones Knowles Ritchie (JKR) and oversees the creative product for all our offices, including work for AB InBev, Dunkin’ Brands, Target and UNICEF.
His work’s been recognized at Cannes and by D&AD, The One Show, Clios, New York Festivals, Tokyo TDC, Graphis, Communication Arts, Print and AIGA—and featured in Forbes, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. After receiving his BA in economics and journalism from UNC Chapel Hill, he worked for Revlon and Landor Associates.
Tosh teaches at the School of Visual Arts and lectures worldwide. He was recently named one of the 50 ‘Most Creative People‘ by AdAge.
Kenna Kay creates experiences, products, services and campaigns at the intersection of visual design, communications strategy and branding. She believes that the most effective way to create positive change is to clearly communicate the ideas that can make a difference.
She has led successful teams in a variety of environments from large media companies to innovative start-ups. She was the Vice President Creative Director of Brand at TV Land, MTV Networks and Creative Director at Nickelodeon. Prior to her move to consulting, she worked in Kenya with a women’s empowerment NGO helping to keep girls in school by providing them with health education and hygiene products.
She is on the faculty of the Strategic Communication department at Columbia University, has taught at Parsons School of Design and been a guest critic and visiting lecturer at The Cooper Union, Izmir Ekonomi Üniversitesi in Turkey, and Shenkar College in Tel Aviv. She served on the national board of AIGA, the professional association for design. She is an advisor to BrightSide Food Distributor, a non-profit organization tackling the problem of food deserts and represented them as a finalist in the first annual Aspen Ideas Awards. Kenna received her MS in Strategic Communication from Columbia University and BA in International Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Mark Kingsley is a creative director and strategist with a wide range of experience and recognition. As Executive Strategy Director at Collins, he developed the new global positioning for Ogilvy and helped Equinox enter the luxury hotel business. At Landor, Mark was the global creative lead on the Citi account — overseeing everything from design, intranet development, workshops and global brand audits. Additionally, he was part of Ogilvy’s Brand Innovation Group (BIG), created Hewlett-Packard advertising for Publicis & Hal Riney, and designed fragrance packaging at Cosmair.
For over 17 years, his studio Greenberg Kingsley specialized in music and arts, including several years of branding and advertising for Central Park SummerStage; work for the Guggenheim Museum store; and music packaging for John Coltrane, Pat Metheny, Quincy Jones, 10,000 Maniacs, Ginger Baker, Cassandra Wilson, Jewel and Yes. In 2001, his design for a Blue Note Records box set received a Grammy nomination.
His current studio, Malcontent, serves global advertising firms, fin-tech startups, arts organizations, living legends and Pulitzer Prize winners. Mark speaks and writes about design and branding, and is currently a faculty member in the School of Visual Arts Masters in Branding program. In 2016 he was profiled in Print Magazine as one of “56 Inspiring Designers Shaping Our World Today.”
Scott Lerman is a brand consultant, designer, author, fine artist, and educator. Best known for his work as a consultant, Scott has built his career by helping companies navigate critical moments in the creation, transition, and extension of their brands. In 2005 Scott founded Lucid Brands, a brand consultancy dedicated to the development of world-class brands. Before founding Lucid Brands, Scott led two of the industry’s leading brand consultancies. During his 17 years at Siegel & Gale, he held a range of senior positions, including President. In 2001 he was named President and C.E.O. of The Brand Union.
Scott has led defining brand engagements for 3M, American Express, Bayer, Caterpillar, DuPont, Engelhard, First Data, Grand Brands, Harley-Davidson, Ingram Micro, JCPenney, Kodak, Lycos, The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (M.T.A.), National Semiconductor, Owens-Illinois, Pfizer, Readers Digest, S.W.I.F.T., Towers Perrin, The U.S. Mint, V.O.I.S., The Washington Center, Xerox, Yola, Zachry, and dozens of other organizations around the world. He is currently seeking a client with a corporate name that starts with “Q.”
Scott is the author of one of the leading books on brand development, Building Better Brands, published by Simon & Schuster. He has also commented on the issues shaping businesses and brands in The Wall Street Journal, and Design Matters. Scott has lectured at the Yale School of Management, Design Management Institute, Columbia University, Thunderbird, Conference Board, Apple, and many other forums. He is a proud part of the founding faculty at America’s first Master's program in branding at S.V.A. (School of Visual Arts). Scott received his B.F.A. from Cooper Union and is now a trustee of the college.
As an Executive Strategy Director at Interbrand, Andrew partners with clients to grow their businesses and brands through clear strategy and exceptional customer experiences. Andrew approaches his work through the philosophical lens that design and strategy must be intertwined to bring the most value to clients and create the most impact.
Andrew has worked across a range of industries to help organizations build a set of powerful, strategic tools to drive competitive advantage. Engagements span all aspects of brand strategy, from positioning to architecture to in-market experiences. Andrew’s expertise is concentrated in technology (Google, Adobe, Lenovo, HP), financial services (TD Bank, Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse, Prudential) and professional services (Boston Consulting Group, Winston & Strawn, Akin Gump).
Andrew holds a B.F.A. in Communication Design from Washington University in St. Louis and a Masters in Branding from the School of Visual Arts (SVA), where he received the Paula Rhodes Award for Exceptional Achievement. Andrew’s work has been featured in Communication Arts, Fast Company Design, swissmiss, PSFK, Gizmodo, Huffington Post, and Adweek.
Branding expert Carolina Rogoll has been building some of the world’s most beloved brands at Procter and Gamble for more than a decade. She is the author of the best-selling book, “STAR BRANDS: A Brand Manager’s Guide to Build, Manage & Market Brands” which introduces the Star Brand Model, a proven successful five-step process for building outstanding brands. Employed at the world’s largest consumer packaged goods company, Carolina has worked across different product categories in global markets and led several complex initiatives with diverse teams. She has a strong track record in brand building, business management and coaching.
Dedicated to growing capability, she has been on the faculty of the first-ever Masters in Branding program at the School of Visual Arts in New York City since 2011, where she created the inaugural (and very popular) brand management seminar. Carolina graduated Magna Cum Laude in Business Administration from Universidad de los Andes, Colombia, South America and Summa Cum Laude with dual undergraduate degrees in Marketing and Management from the A.B. Freeman School of Business, Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana. She received her MBA with honors at Williams College of Business, Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio. She speaks German, Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese.
The Educator — Pedagogy Carolina is a passionate brand building and leadership coach. She thrives in a class room setting and enjoys practicing the Socratic method of inquiry & discussion. Her popular workshops and lectures are designed to be hands on learning and introduce simple yet power concepts ready for application.
Designer, husband, teacher, father, athlete, author, historian. My career has been influenced by a fascination with visual history, driven by a curiosity for the culture of retail brands, and guided by a rich experience in package design.
As an entrepreneur Partner and Chief Creative Officer of invōk brands, my expertise lies in helping clients uncover the visual heritage of their most iconic brands, and using this design equity to help them build and position these brands in ways that inform, connect and motivate.
As an educator and Founding Faculty of the Masters in Branding program at the School of Visual Arts my focus is on building awareness of the rich legacy and growth of the global consumer culture and its intrinsic connection to the evolution of visual history; and by doing so identify their influences on contemporary brands.
Andrea Sullivan CMO, VaynerX
Andrea is the first-ever CMO for VaynerX after a 15+ year career at Omnicom, most recently as global CMO of Interbrand. VaynerX is a global family of 7 companies, serving Fortune 500 companies to startups to personal brands. Celebrating its 10th year, Vayner delivers truly integrated full service agency offerings in addition to consultative offerings Gary Vaynerchuk calls "giving our brains away."
Andrea grew up in Wisconsin and claims she learned all she knows about marketing selling veggies at the farmers market.
She is a professor at the SVA Masters in Branding program and active on several boards including the United Nations of NY, the Miami Ad School, AD Club, WE.org, AdCouncil, and Creative Spirit.
Elizabeth Talerman is the Founder and Strategy Director of Nucleus. A tool builder and teacher, Elizabeth works with organizations to establish meaning, clarify purpose, streamline decision-making and turn strategy into action. With a background in marketing, communications and brand building she identifies patterns that lead to insights for creating binding connections, accelerating growth and catalyzing change for organizations.
Elizabeth has spent more than 35 years working with forward thinkers spanning both the commercial and social impact sectors. A serial entrepreneur, before launching a strategy practice in 2002, Elizabeth was founder and CEO of Agile Industries, a pioneering digital marketing agency. She’s also held senior positions in advertising at Ogilvy and IQJ and at The Harvard Business School as Marketing Director. She began her career in direct marketing analytics and project management.
Elizabeth teaches in the School of Visual Arts Brand Masters program and is a frequent lecturer at Barnard College. She taught for five years in Columbia University’s Strategic Communications masters degree program and served 16 years on the board of Virginia Commonwealth University Brandcenter.
Pablo Ulpiano is the account exec., creative director and faculty member, working at Johnson & Johnson Design, where he helps to build and drive innovation into some of the world’s most beloved brands (Jonhson’s, Aveeno, Band-Aid, Listerine) being the bridge and the strategic liaison between the business partners and the Design team. He's a dedicated advocate of storytelling, with a firm belief that all design stems first and foremost from understanding people.
Eager to take on new challenges, he graduated with a Masters in Branding at the School of Visual Arts, where he currently develops and lecture contemporary case studies that integrate innovative research methods in the context of a specific branding project. In the past, he worked with startups, multinational companies, and government agencies across industries ranging from healthcare to financial services to luxury retail. His clients include S&P Global, BlackBerry, DirecTV, Philips Design, and Colgate-Palmolive. He has also been a branding & design consultant for firms such as The & Partnership, Sudler & Hennessey - Y&R, Red Antler, Intellectual Capital Investments, and Elmwood. He is focused on helping brands, and enterprises create value by developing both their business strategy and identity.
He holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Communication Design from the Istituto Europeo di Design in Spain and the Canberra University in Australia. He was awarded the Gold LAUS Award in 2003 by the Spanish Art Directors & Graphic Designers Association in Barcelona. He is based in Brooklyn, NY.
Melanie Wiesenthal is a Co-Founder and Co-Creative Director of the award-wining branding studio, Deerfield. Deerfield was established in 2013 by Partners Yael Eisele and Melanie Wiesenthal who connected on sharing a passion for Storytelling. When they met at Martha Stewart Living, they both noticed a passion for problem solvering and love startling the line between art and commerce. After working in-house at various prestigious brands such as Kate Spade, Kate Spade Saturday, Martha Stewart Living, Aveda, Origins, and Victoria’s Secret Beauty— to name a a few— as well as having spent time on the agency side, our passion for launching new brands and inspiring existing ones to excellence was solidly in place.
We believe in the power of a strong strategic and creative focus to unify and amplify a brands message and that all brands benefit from a narrative to which all people can make an emotional connection, no matter the medium. We aspire to create integrated creative across all channels and love to apply our skills to different formats be it print, packaging, Copy writing, App, UI/UX, e-comm, video, visual merchandising, photography, illustration, social media, or guerrilla marketing and brand experiences.
We also believe in sustainable design as a table stakes approach to making anything and guide our clients on best practices. Our recent launch of a new Deodorant brand, MYRO, was recognized with awards in Wallpaper Mag, Art Director’s Club and The Die Line.
Melanie has been teaching since 2003, at Parsons The New School for Design and SVA, having taught BFA and Masters degree courses in Typography, Graphic Design, Branding, Packaging and Branding. She also had the pleasure to serve on the AIGA/NY Board of directors from 2011-2014 as the Education Chair and curated over 60 lecture-based events and talks to inspire and raise funds to financially support the 10,000 member chapter. Her work, both corporate and freelance, has been featured by Wallpaper* Magazine, Refinery 29, The Dieline, PopSugar, Beauty Insider, (and many other design/beauty blogs), The Art Director’s Club, Print Magazine, Communication Arts, Graphis, Cooper Hewitt Design Museum, How Magazine and Graphic Design USA.
Melanie was born in Toronto, Canada and is a graduate of McGill University, Montreal, Canada and Parsons the New School for Design, New York.
Fortunate, Curious, and Driven
If I had to describe my career in three words these are the ones I would choose.
I'm FORTUNATE because for my entire life I've been able to make a good living doing what I love. My life has always been centered around art and design. I achieved all that I wanted in the world of business and retired from corporate life in 2010.
I have taken on consulting and design work on projects that interest me. I've alway been CURIOUS about how things work and finding new ways to create things. I'm very passionate about photography and digital art and now I spend a good deal of my time creating and modifying images. I have immersed myself into the history and culture of American cars and I've created over 100 unique images. Each one is accompanied by a short story or poem.
I'm very DRIVEN. I tend to stay with things until they are complete. Details and high quality are very important to me. I don't like to do the same thing twice, so I'm always looking for ways to keep my work fresh and make it better.
Ayça Çakmakli is a design researcher at Smart Design, where she explores human relationships that people seek with brands and design. She has worked on everything from defining new personal care rituals, to humanizing medical technology, to creating friendlier, more usable products for toddlers and their parents. She holds a master’s in industrial design from Pratt Institute and is a member of the Femme Den.
Malcolm gladwell has been a staff writer with new yorker magazine since 1996. His 1999 profile of ron popeil won a national magazine award, and in 2005 he was named one of time magazine’s 100 most influential people. He is the author of three books, “the tipping point: how little things make a big difference,” (2000) , “blink: the power of thinking without thinking” (2005), and “outliers: the story of success” (2008) all of which were number one new york times bestsellers.
From 1987 to 1996, he was a reporter with the washington post, where he covered business, science, and then served as the newspaper’s new york city bureau chief. He graduated from the university of toronto, trinity college, with a degree in history. He was born in england, grew up in rural ontario, and now lives in New York City.
Chair of the BFA Advertising and Design departments and the Creative Director os the Visual Arts Press for the School of Visual Arts.
Owner and Emmy™ Award-Winning Executive Producer/ Creative Director for Audiobrain.
EVP for Sterling Brands.
Principal for Design B&B and formally the Design Director for P&G.
Brooklyn-based designer and founder of the design and branding company CENTER.
Director of Brand for Jones Knowles Ritchie.
Founder of The Collaboratory.
Executive Creative Director for Staples.
Principal and Creative Director for Tether.
Founder and Owner of Malcontent and Head of Brand for Oumlil.
Co-founder of Champions Design, formerly The Original Champions of Design (OCD).
Strategy Director for UNIQLO.
Chief Brand Officer for Thinx.
Executive Creative Director for Interbrand
Co-founder of Champions Design, formerly The Original Champions of Design (OCD).
Co-Founder and former Co-Chief Creative Officer for COLLINS.
VP of Brand Strategy for Medline Industries.
Executive Strategy Director for Interbrand
Founder and Creative Director for Pause for Thought.
Executive Creative Director for R/GA
Vice President of community for Convene.
Founder and Strategy Director for Nucleus.
President of The Nantucket Project
Principal Emeritus for Willoughby Design Group.
Kelly is a brand strategist who joins SVA’s Branding program from Southern California, where she worked in creative marketing and merchandising for five years. Her work has spanned both in-house and agency environments where she gained experience in brand strategy, customer experience, campaign planning and project and client management. These skills have been crucial in initiating and leading change for every brand she’s worked on.
With the globalization of business, Kelly believes it is essential to have an adept understanding of the power of creative, innovative thinking across all markets and conditions. She envisions framing her future career by developing strategic, actionable approaches to build brand stories that solve complex challenges, deliver exceptional customer experiences and drive business results—designing for the future, in ways that makes sense right now.
Through this program, Kelly’s primary objective is to explore the new economy and understand the consumer’s visceral reaction to design, business, and culture. Outside of the program, she enjoys reading, running, taking photos and exploring new restaurants.
Roxanne is a graphic designer with a decade of experience. Her career began with work for a diverse selection of small agencies before delving into Colorado’s booming cannabis industry. She spent the majority of her professional career as Senior Designer and Art Director for one of the most successful pioneers in alternative medicine before shifting into freelance work, where she has worked primarily with clients in the non-profit realm.
Her passion for design does not begin or end with her professional work; she is also an avid volunteer for non-profit organizations. She served as Vice President for The One Club Denver, as well as serving on the club’s Board of Directors for five years. She has also volunteered for AIGA CO and Creative Mornings NYC.
Currently, Roxanne works as a digital and E-commerce designer for the Girl Scouts headquarters in NYC. Outside of work, she is also a professional dancer and dabbles in choreography and other forms of fine and performance art.
Through the skills acquired in SVA’s Masters in Branding program, Roxanne’s dream is to be able to confidently and comprehensively develop her own brands and assist others who celebrate and lend visibility to the LGBTQ+ community, Cannabis legalization, Women’s and Minority Rights, and Environmental Activism.
Stefan P. Berg is a mixed-media artist and storyteller joining SVA’s Branding Program after five years as an educator in Washington, DC. He brings with him a deep understanding of the future generation and their innate connection to the increasingly digital world around us. Additionally, he recently earned a MicroMasters certificate in User Experience (UX) Research and Design from the University of Michigan on edX.org. His hope is that the Masters in Branding Program will expand his understanding of brand creation and continue a transition to the world of business strategy.
Stefan is a proud Midwesterner: born in Indiana, raised in Michigan, and educated in Oberlin, Ohio. His favorite sports teams are located in Detroit, East Lansing, and Green Bay. He also enjoys travel and has spent ample time abroad, including a semester of high school in St. Ives, Australia, and college in Florence, Italy. His artistic pursuits often take the form of paper and digital collage, and he recently began designing album covers in that vein. His other work includes graphic arts, puzzle games, and experimental films, each visible on his namesake website.
Pimm Buddhari is a young industrial designer who believes that "Creativity has no boundaries; neither does knowledge nor curiosity." Born and raised in Thailand, Pimm received a Bachelor's degree in Industrial Design from Chulalongkorn University, which equipped her with a wide range of skills in design, including graphics, product, system, and experience. Along with her greatest enthusiasm, which is to establish a lifestyle brand and become a savvy thinker as a brand designer, Pimm aims to learn and expand her knowledge in many different areas.
Attending the Masters in Branding Program at SVA, Pimm intends to grow an understanding of business and branding strategies, including integrating and enhancing her creativity and design skills.
Born and raised in New York, Jared attended Towson University in MD, where he received his BFA in Digital Arts & Design.
Post-graduation, Jared was hired as a graphic designer at Bacchus Importers, Ltd., a wine and spirits distributor in Baltimore, MD. He spent the next couple of years designing printed promotional items and bringing various branded window displays, end-cap displays, and signages to life.
Jared is thrilled to begin this new chapter of his life enrolled in the Masters of Branding Program at SVA.
Sarah O'Connor is a UI designer who has worked in ad tech since completing her BFA in graphic design in 2015. For this program, she hopes to gain a fuller understanding of the business, marketing, strategy, and management aspects of branding so that she can add them to her design experience and have a complete toolkit when she takes on future projects.
Sarah has no idea what she wants to do when she completes this program, but she's very much looking forward to seeing what's out there and exploring the possibilities!
Bradley was born and raised in the Colorado Rocky Mountains and graduated from Aspen High School with an International Baccalaureate diploma. After graduating from CU Boulder with a Bachelor's degree and an emphasis in Marketing, Bradley spent over a decade working in luxury fashion retail for a variety of companies including Gucci and Nordstrom.
In 2010 Bradley moved to Miami, Florida and attended Miami International University (MIU) to earn a Web Design and Development Accredited Certificate. With his extensive luxury retail background, Bradley specializes in designing and developing E-Commerce websites using a variety of solutions and systems. Bradley is the Co-founder and creative captain of WM.Digital, a website and marketing agency based in Miami and now New York City.
Bradley embarks on a new journey, in a new city, as an SVA graduate student in The Masters in Branding Program.
Sara Remi is a native New Yorker inspired by culture and communities. She has a passion for visual design, storytelling, and branding. A natural tinkerer, she enjoys combining digital and more traditional mediums in her work. As a brand designer, she loves not only crafting the visual side of a brand but the narrative that elucidates a brand's meaning.
Currently a product designer in New York City and a 2018 graduate of Carnegie Mellon with dual degrees in Communications Design and Human-Computer Interaction, Sara Remi is already excited about her newest challenge and the opportunity to work hand-in-hand with the creative and highly motivated students and faculty at SVA's Masters in Branding. This Fall, she is prepared to reassess many of the creative and business assumptions she currently holds.
Oscar Mauricio Herrera is an industrial designer, natural-born dreamer, and idea connector from Bogotá Colombia. He has been working for the last eight years as an industrial designer and art director, focusing on branding and packaging as tools to reimagine consumer lifestyles.
Moreover, during this time, he has worked in design strategy, brand identity, visual communication with well known Columbian brands as the creative leader of his team. His main objective was to understand how curiosity, passion, and discipline develop the creative path to shape honest brands that connect with real needs becoming part of our daily lives.
Michelle is a brand strategist and designer. Born in Taiwan, raised in Vancouver, and worked in Toronto, she is the creative mind behind one of Canada’s largest online mortgage brokers connecting independent borrowers. Her work has involved art direction, content strategy, and digital marketing. Driven by her diverse cultural backgrounds in people and design, Michelle is looking forward to gaining new skill sets and perspectives in this globally-impactful field.
After moving to NYC in 2019, Michelle believes the Masters in Branding Program at SVA will help her achieve a holistic perspective on cultural influences in branding, challenge her multifaceted creative outputs, and broaden her career paths to create meaningful, inspiring brands.
Anna grew up in Cyprus, a small island in the Mediterranean! Her background is in Fine Arts and Communications Design. She did her Foundation course in Art and Design in London and then moved to New York in 2013 to study Communications Design at Pratt Institute.
After graduating Anna worked for Soludos as an e-commerce assistant and merchandising coordinator, helping improve online sales. She then moved to London in 2018 and worked at Queens Gate Hotel where she was able to explore other fields such as tourism and hospitality.
Anna has become increasingly interested in the world of beauty and she hopes to pursue a career in the make-up industry. Her aim is to work with make-up companies to implement new ideas and strategies that will identify them and make them instantly recognizable.
The Masters in Branding program at SVA will provide her with the necessary knowledge of brand strategy and design tools. She is beyond excited to start the course and work with professors that give will give her “real life” projects that will further her knowledge and improve her branding skills.
Born and raised in Los Angeles, David moved to Oregon, where he received his undergraduate degrees in History and Art History from the University of Oregon. After working as a pastry baker and a bicycle mechanic in college, he moved to Portland, Oregon, to work for the Community Cycling Center, where he merged his life-long love of cycling with his personal need to be engaged in the work of social justice and sustainability. As the manager of the organization’s retail operations, he was instrumental in the then 20-year-old organization’s rebrand and developed a keen interest in the necessity of effective branding for mission-driven organizations.
David currently works as a freelance designer and remains involved with his former employer as a board member of the Community Cycling Center. While David is keenly focused on how better brand design can advance the work of mission-driven organizations like non-profits and government agencies, he is more broadly interested in how brands can appreciably improve the lived experience of individuals interacting within an increasingly complex and pluralizing society.
Greta graduated from Cornell University in 2017 with a B.A. in Linguistics and a particular interest in the social psychology of language. During her undergraduate studies, her primary fascination was the way that seemingly minute linguistic choices can spark emotional resonance and stir up primal feelings of social affiliation towards individuals and groups.
She was introduced to the branding industry through internships at the strategic language consultancy Maslansky + Partners and the branding consultancy BrandCap. Most recently, Greta worked as the sole marketing strategist for the launch of Poster House, a new museum exclusively dedicated to the history and design of posters. In this role, she took on the challenge of positioning such a ubiquitous medium is worthy of deeper consideration and study.
While her time at Poster House was an excellent lesson in strategic positioning and bringing a product to market, Greta is seeking to further ground this education through the Masters in Branding program at SVA. Through the program, she is hoping to marry her fascination with social and behavioral psychology with rigorous strategic analysis and visual problem-solving.
Henrik discovered his desire for graphic design by creating album covers for music CD's since his college days for his friends. Having studied Social Sciences in Albania and working in a high paced environment such as journalism, Henrik is driven by the desire to create solutions to social issues through design and research.
In the last decade, he has chosen to specialize his work in the non-profit sector with clients such as the United Nations, UNICEF, and Council of Europe. Working on campaigns for non-profits brought all of his experience, including those in journalism and social sciences, all together. By applying editorial design principles to these organizations' print mediums, Henrik has helped in expanding their audience and elevating their communication channels.
Henrik believes the Masters in Branding at SVA will give him the opportunity to structure all his previous skills and bring new and exciting uses back in his country. His interest in progressing brands in a new and underdeveloped business environment such as Albania is the reason he has enrolled in SVA's Master in Branding. After finishing the program at SVA, Henrik is planning to go back to Albania and serve local brands to better connect with consumers and compete internationally.
Born and raised in New Jersey, Sophie attended George Washington University in D.C. to pursue her childhood dream of becoming an interior designer. Since graduating with a BFA in 2012 and moving back to the Garden State, she has garnered experience in residential, retail, commercial, and hospitality design, with a specific focus on the automotive and hotel industries. Working with various brands within these industries has provided Sophie with unique insight into how an interior environment can express brand identity. She believes each space is a living, breathing embodiment of a brand that offers a distinct opportunity for people to experience it in a multi-sensory way.
A “people-person” in every sense of the word, Sophie is fascinated by the psychological and emotional factors that motivate, excite, and intrigue consumers. Naturally, her design background predisposes her to an interest in visual brand identity--how a brand can speak without saying a word! She wants to combine her passion for design with strategy and discover all of the possibilities that the multi-faceted world of branding has to offer.
Maureen has always been a daydreamer with a creative spirit and love for design, travel, and food culture. When she was a child, she aspired to be an architect and drew floor plans of dream homes. At age twelve, she wanted to open a cafe known for its fun desserts, stylish furniture, and lively ambiance. It was all about the details, and she enjoyed putting them together to create a vision. Over time, she developed a love for tinkering, transitioned into industrial design and graduated from Parson School of Design with a BFA in Product Design.
As an industrial designer, Maureen is trained to understand ergonomics, identify consumer needs, and conceptualize products to improve their experience. With sixteen years in this field, she has grown professionally, manages a design team, and works alongside business leaders through product development. She has continued her passion for learning by taking design and marketing courses at FIT and UCLA and completed a Pastry Techniques program at the International Culinary Center. She then put her baking skills to the test and established a side gig where she baked and designed custom cakes and desserts.
Through SVA’s Masters in Branding program, Maureen hopes to develop a holistic view of brand strategy, business, and design. Her goal is to take the practices and principles learned from the program and implement them in a professional setting and ultimately towards her dream of owning and designing food businesses. Maureen is excited to begin this journey of self-discovery, which will help define a personal brand that allows her to function authentically and with purpose.
Rie Oshiro is a versatile Creative Director with 15+ years of agency and product experience. She has a proven record of creating successful beauty packaging and merchandising for the world’s most recognized brands, such as Adidas Personal Care, Nautica Fragrance, and Sally Hansen. She excels at translating strategic goals into creative ideas and leading multi-disciplinary teams to deliver outstanding work to her clients. She is a hands-on leader who thrives in fast-paced environments.
Arnold believes that the only way for a person to reach his full potential is to be passionate about his work. The quest for his passion not only made his life more adventurous, it also improved his ability to adapt to new situations, exposed him to people who came from unique backgrounds and gave him the courage to accept new challenges.
In May 2013, Arnold got a job as a janitor in a motorcycle service shop. After finishing his duties, he often helped other departments in any way he could. Although he acknowledged the importance of every department, he became particularly fond of the marketing department because it valued the skills he had been developing since childhood. There he was able to be adaptive, relatable and take advantage of new opportunities. His interest in marketing eventually evolved into passion and he decided to pursue it as a career.
Since then, Arnold has helped startups and small businesses develop and implement marketing campaigns. Working with businesses in different markets, such as the motorcycle service shop, technology retailer and travel agency, has taught him how to rationalize in many perspectives and communicate his ideas to people in other professions. His experience, and the knowledge he gained from literature, has taught him that brands can enhance an individual’s life. By attending SVA’s Master in Branding program, he will gain the insights and skills required to craft such brands.
Mai was born in Bangkok, raised in Melbourne and is now pursuing her dreams in New York City. She was a Digital Marketing Manager with over five years of professional experience working with multinational companies.
After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Advertising, Mai was a social media brand manager for Siam Paragon, a multi-million dollar shopping mall in Thailand. Later on, she joined one of the biggest truck tire distributors in Thailand and helped re-brand the company. Her efforts increased the company's international clientele by 30%. After a couple of years in the logistics field, Mai created her own e-commerce brand called Tyre and Tool. That's when she knew, her creative and design spirit was calling. However, this wasn't the first sign of her love for branding.
Even at a young age, she loved learning about brands. She would spend hours and hours in supermarkets observing brands and talking about them. Working in many different fields has helped Mai realize the importance of branding. Therefore, she decided to drop everything and move to New York City to pursue her passion.
Sam came to the Masters in Branding program after years of working on both the editorial and branded video teams. She’s watched the industry turn itself inside out, and has many theories as to where it’s headed.
A Baltimore native and graduate of the College of William & Mary, Sam began her career as a news video editor for organizations like CNN and Slate. She honed her production skills, working for a handful of digital media publishers, and currently runs post production for WSJ Custom Content.
Treeva is an outgoing fashionista from East NY, Brooklyn. She studied and explored many forms of art at the fame school and went onto obtain a BFA in Art Photography from Syracuse University. Treeva has created great bodies of work throughout her career as a digital, print, and web designer. Bumble and bumble and Kate Spade NY are the most recent companies Treeva has worked for, before moving on in February 2019 for new challenges.
She is currently working as a Junior Art Director, creating social content for two phenomenal UniLever beauty brands; TRESemmé and Suave. She would like SVA’s Branding program to push her thinking process while helping her find better ways to understand design and utilize it to execute, solve, and answer questions.
Modern society is constantly changing, and brands must work diligently. Since the concept of ‘brand’ exists in people’s perception, not in material substance, it has a mission to keep its own color as well as adjusting to people’s changing attitudes. In other words, a brand has to show a consistent image that the brand wants to represent to customers, but it must be expressed in various ways according to the social and cultural flow.
Jeeyoung is interested in the subject of construction and reconstruction of brands. The entry of new brands from non-traditional cultures entering an established market and as luxury brands on par with established luxury brands is now what she mainly focused on. Furthermore, she is going to research what kind of transformation is necessary for the brand that needs change in order to survive in a particular field, even if it is not a new brand. Also, she believes brand research for the rise of new brands and the reconstruction of weak brands should begin with learning from the history of various brands.
Jeeyoung majored in Persian and English from Hankuk University of Foreign Studies. She worked as a digital content manager for two years from a brand-new cosmetic company. As she has a passion for learning about intercultural communication and creativity, she is thrilled to be a part of the Masters in Branding at SVA.
Ori Yang studied fashion design in Shanghai and textile/surface design in New York City. She is also interested in graphic and jewelry design. The narrative image of self-expression inspires her. She loves to be surrounded by people who treat themselves unapologetically. Now she is ready to explore more about storytelling at the Masters in Branding Program at SVA.
Liz was born and raised in Manila, Philippines. After graduating with a degree in Communications Technology Management from Ateneo de Manila University, she began her career as a magazine editor at Summit Media, eventually becoming editor-in-chief of the Philippines’ leading food magazine at age 26. Her years in publishing allowed her to stand at the intersection of design and business, to see firsthand how the content creation and commerce can serve one another. Post-publishing, she took on a new challenge by joining the retail company her mother started 30 years ago, where her first task was to modernize and update the legacy jewelry brand. Through this entrepreneurial experience, she gained a more robust understanding of how design can be utilized to meet business goals and deliver growth. This is what she wants to focus on for the next phase of her career. She believes that every good brand starts with a good story. With her entrepreneurial and editorial experiences, Liz joins SVA eager to learn more about the art and science of branding, to learn how we can tell better stories.
Felix Yu has developed his career beginning in New York after graduating from NYU Stern with a bachelor’s degree in Management and Marketing. After this, he began working as a brand strategist for a variety of influential clients within the city. From research and analysis to consulting, he has grown to harbor a set of pivotal skills that were valued by companies and clients.
Moving back to Korea from New York, he has worked at a global agency in which he had the opportunity to work for some of the largest brands in the Korean and Chinese markets. Experiencing the different cultural backgrounds and business methods around the world allowed Felix to deepen his understanding of branding and paved the groundwork to become a top tier brand strategist in the future.
To take the next step, Felix has opted to attend the SVA Masters in Branding program and extend his studies towards the field of branding. Through the exploration of what is essentially the core identity in any marketing level, Felix hopes to develop his career as a brand strategist and consultant further.
Clare Albers is an independent strategist and storyteller collaborating with brands, entrepreneurs and firms in the lifestyle and social impact sectors; she focuses her work on translating brand purpose into creative expression. She is currently consulting with The Nucleus Group, a human-centered strategy and design firm in Brooklyn, as a writer, editor and strategist. Prior to SVA, Clare gained experience building and managing brands in both in-house and agency roles.
"For me, the Brand Masters program was an exciting and challenging immersion into the ways that the forces of culture, connection and creativity intersect to create meaning and value inside and outside the commercial world. After three semesters worth of exposure to various frameworks, paradigms and processes, my primary takeaway is that while there is no one right way to do 'branding', collaboration, curiosity and a growth mindset are essential ingredients for great work."
Gabriella Bartelle is a Public Relations assistant for CHANEL in Brazil. She works with the brand image, events, media communication, and influencers.
“The Masters in Branding program has taught me tools to keep up with all types of changes, in businesses and culture, how they influence one another and how they affect brands. I’ve gained a real understanding of how ideas can be shaped and how important language is. I left the program feeling much more prepared to develop strategies and present them in all types of forms.”
Katherine Burke is a Creative Director at Sandblast Productions, where she works with clients like NBCUniversal and Comcast to create promotional videos and experiential and interactive content for architectural screens of all sizes, including ongoing content for the 30-foot screen in the NBC’s 30 Rock office space.
“I liken the Masters in Branding program to an electrocardiogram for the brain. It opened the door to making a difference in the world through a human-centered strategic mindset. I use both the tangible branding skills and the overall strategic mindset to offer additional value to my current clients, open the door to new client relationships and create a more organic relationship between my personal passions and my professional work.”
Roberta Cajado is a Senior Strategist at Nucleus, a business strategy collaborative in Brooklyn, NY. She has a background in fine arts, marketing, and communications, and approaches strategy through avid cultural research. Her work has been dedicated to developing innovative content, visual identities, and sustainable practices for startups, non-profit, and commercial organizations in Brazil and the U.S. Her past collaborations include consultations with agencies such as 360i (Dentsu), and The Brooklyn Brothers (IPG), as well as developing social content for cultural institutions such as United Photo Industries.
"The SVA Masters in Branding program taught me that conceptual and creative thinking, followed by discipline and commitment is key to develop solutions for any type of business. I also learned how to use cultural research and artful thinking to uncover hidden truths, turning them into actionable insights."
Anabella Chiou is a Junior Visual Designer at GOAT Group in Los Angeles, CA.
"The program enables me to dig deeper behind what brands do, how they look, and why certain ones stand out. Most importantly, I was able to learn from a talented group of students and faculty, which nurtured my growth from an academic and personal perspective."
Namita Deliwala is a freelance creative strategist based in Mumbai, with a background in business and graphic design. She aims to solve for brands that struggle to find a balance between profit and purpose. Driven by her passion for 'story-listening' - she articulates brand narratives that challenge the status quo and create sustainable brand experiences.
"During my time at the Masters in Branding program, one of the most profound things I learned was something very simple, to ask, "why?" Through every step of this program, I was taught continuously to challenge myself by this simple yet fundamental question. It helped me gain a whole new perspective on solving problems and achieve powerful “deliberate differentiation.”
As a strategist at Pearlfisher, Talia Evans helps brands establish a meaningful difference by designing for the lives we want to lead. She extracts brand insights from a deep understanding of cultural shifts, and uses these insights to define how brands can connect with our changing needs and desires.
“This ability to critically uncover insightful human truths is something I learned during my time at SVA. Through this program, we were skillfully trained to distill tons of information and research down to a compelling strategy platform and an impactful narrative, and this is truly a skill I use day in and day out at work. Enrolling in the Masters in Branding program at SVA was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, and I’m so grateful to this program for launching me in the direction of my dreams.”
Ericka Garcia is the Lead Graphic Designer at Green Dot Advertising, an advertising and marketing agency in Miami, Florida. Throughout her career, she has worked with several brands, including Puerto Rico, Youtube, Miami Art Week, Dollar Quilting Club, Carnival Foundation, and more. She also works as a brand designer and strategist at her own company, Creative Gradient, a brand distillery that seeks to preserve the essence of brands.
"During my time at the Masters in Branding program at SVA, I learned to explore brands through a wide range of perspectives, but what I found most valuable was the opportunity to work on real-world client projects at a pace that reflects the rapid nature of this industry. Towards the end of the program, thanks to Debbie, I realized my purpose as a professional - I seek to distill the personality of brands."
Ling Hsu is a Strategic Planner at McCann Erickson in Taiwan, an American global advertising agency. Seeking out and excavating cultural and human insights, Ling helps brands building communication strategy, marketing planning, and customer experience aligned with brand missions.
“What I learned from the Masters in Branding program has become an everlasting experience living in my daily life, planted in my way of thinking. It opened a door through which I could peek to know how deep the world is, making me perceive signals differently and question things strategically. Most importantly, it elevates me to be an adventurer exploring and dwindling what I don't know, and a practitioner crafting insightful solutions.”
Bronwyn Hunt is a Strategy Consultant based in Brooklyn. Since she began her career as an interior architect, her experience is rooted in a skill for shaping experiences with a story to tell. Her professional trajectory has allowed her to work with a diverse range of clients, from leading beauty and technology companies to independent apparel brands.
"The SVA Masters in Branding program provided me with the platform to critically evaluate the multiple forces that impact a brand's success. The courses opened me up to new ways of thinking—providing me the space to go beyond what "is" while providing the tools to make the "why" actionable."
As the Lead Designer at Social Thinking, a company focused on teaching social competency strategies based in Silicon Valley, Ali seeks to create brand experiences through sensitivity and wit that encourage inclusivity. Throughout her career, she has worked with several brands, including Google, Motorola, Ernest Packaging Solutions, Proofpoint, IBM, and more.
"The Masters in Branding program opened my eyes to the ever-changing landscape of culture and the possibilities of how a brand can exist and evolve in one's mind. This program gave me the exposure to some of the greatest minds in the industry as well as the tools to ask better questions, utilize brand equities and fine-tune language to tell strategically informed, genuine, and captivating brand narratives."
Rory McKinnon is a design fellow at Interbrand, a global branding agency with offices all around the world. He has been working in the New York office since graduating from the Masters in Branding program last year. Throughout his career, he has worked with several brands, including Google, Truist Bank, GMC Arabia, Emirates, Glasgow City Council, and more. Returning to us this year as a teaching assistant, Rory is also the creative lead for Student Fest 2020, an event that will connect thousands of New York students to local and national businesses.
“Throughout my time in the program, I was introduced to tools, techniques, and frameworks that changed my approach and thinking towards branding. Being early in my career as a designer, I’d not yet been exposed to brand strategy in a meaningful way. Thanks to the program, I can now apply strategic thinking to my design, increasing my capabilities as a designer. Overall, the program has been instrumental in my development, and has taught me skills that I will use for the rest of my career.”
Ria Knapp is a freelance brand and cultural strategist with a background in design, research, and journalism. Since graduating, she has collaborated with agencies such as The Original Champions of Design and Civic Entertainment Group in addition to working directly with clients, including TIME'S UP. Ria's work aims to unearth insights to reimagine a brand's purpose and difference within modern culture. She believes in the power of branding and design to further sustainability and social good. Ria is a recipient of the 2019 Paula Rhodes Award for Academic Excellence.
"I was immediately drawn to the program's multi-disciplinary approach and wide-ranging curriculum. This exposure has equipped me to think on my feet and utilize curiosity to push the bounds of cultural analysis and creativity. I'm grateful to be a part of such a brilliant and expansive community of faculty and peers."
Jason Park is working as a strategy intern for B-Reel, a creative agency at the intersection of storytelling and technology. He is currently immersed in research, insight digging and developing creative activation ideas for several clients.
"I use everything I learned during my studies at the SVA Masters in Branding program in day-to-day work. The experience of working in teams and with clients to tackle projects from the proposal and brief to the final execution has been invaluable. It prepared me well for the strategy work in a creative and fast-paced environment."
Gelsomina Picariello is a Sports Emmy Award Winner, storyteller, health and wellness brand strategist. She brings nearly a decade of experience from her time with the ESPN and Disney enterprise. Upon completing the program, she served as the Chief Marketing Officer, Fellow at B Lab; the organization, which created, and awards, the B Corporation certification for-profit brands such as Patagonia, Allbirds, Athleta, and more.
The program empowered Gelsomina to create her own wellness brand, Radical Pause. A message, method, and movement helping hundreds pause from the everyday hustle. By the end of the year, Radical Pause launched on corporate and college campuses, with an immersive brand experience and signature event “Self-Care Sunday.”
“Why? A simple yet thought-provoking word that we often forget to ask our clients, our audience, and ourselves. The Masters in Branding program at SVA gave me the courage, confidence, and clarity to ask the right questions and design brand solutions that resonate with today’s culture.”
Malavika Rao is the Director of Brand & Consumer Strategy at Razorfish, where she leads brand strategy on Dove, including its purpose and product work for North America and global markets. She works with a multifunctional team across digital and social, traditional advertising, PR, and legislation to create a more equitable world for women. The work they do aims to challenge the limited perceptions of beauty that exist in our world today to take positive actions towards inclusivity - across age, body shape and size, ethnicity, hair type, and more.
" The most valuable take away from my education at the SVA Masters in Branding program was the opportunity to connect and learn from some of the industry’s most brilliant minds - be it faculty, mentors or guest speakers."
Devanshi Shah works at Nearby Technologies Pvt Ltd, a fintech company based in India and Singapore with multiple B2B2C products that empower the rural Indian retailer. She is the Assistant Manager in Marketing, where she is responsible for brand development, management, and the formulation of the brand's long-term strategy.
"During my time at the Masters in Branding program, I was taught to think beyond the obvious and discover the connections between brands and their audiences. We were trained to solve problems faced by the consumer at the intersection of design and strategy. We were taught to leverage brands to make meaningful change in the world."
Charmie Shah is a Designer at Jones Knowles Ritchie, an Award-winning design-led creative company building brands for disruption, scale, and good. Based out of the Manhattan agency, she is an integral part of high impact projects such as the branding and strategic package design for Bud Light beverages like Bud Light Seltzer, and Bud Light Peels, rebranding for MLS sensations New England Revolution, among others. She also likes to give back to the community by being a regular "Maker" at Make-A-Mark events in and around New York.
"The Masters in Branding program at SVA taught me two of the most important things that I will carry in my professional as well as personal life: the subtle art of storytelling and brand persuasion. The fact that we were taught by such an eminent roster of the who's who in the industry is an added bonus."
Michael Shirey is a designer at AMIT Children, a nonprofit organization that helps support schools in Israel, where he creates a range of print and digital branding materials that further the mission of the organization. Michael's work at AMIT has gone on to win several gold and platinum MarComm Awards from the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals. He is also a freelance designer and reporter for Gay City News, New York's premier LGBTQ newspaper, and oversaw the publication's rebrand in 2018.
"The Masters in Branding program exposed us to some of the best minds in the industry and gave us the opportunity to work with multiple real-world clients, ultimately equipping us with all the tools necessary to create more strategically-informed — and thus more effective — creative solutions. On top of that, the program helped me forge the impactful career I wanted for myself."
Theresa Brondholt Sorensen is working as a strategist at Wolff Olins in London, UK. She helps companies who find themselves at a critical point to better navigate change. By understanding the internal environment of the company and external factors such as changes in the industry and significant cultural shifts, she works to deliver solutions that are both transformational and effective.
"During my time in the program, I learned three key skills that I currently apply daily: cultural analysis, the value of asking the right question, and how to communicate with clarity."
Dylan Taylor is a Senior Studio Artist at AT&T’s award-winning in-house creative team. In the past, Dylan has worked with Burberry, Spectrum, Baptist Healthcare, the Specialty Food Association, as well as several other agencies and nonprofits. As part of the world’s largest internet and entertainment provider, he is currently focused on helping realize AT&T’s vision throughout its expanding umbrella of brands, which includes HBO, DC Entertainment, WarnerMedia, DirecTV and more.
“The Masters in Branding program opened my eyes to the true impact of brands in the world we live in today. By taking a deep dive into the strategies, frameworks, and techniques that these brands utilize and learning how to decipher and reinterpret them has become a vital part of my career. It has allowed me to take my work to a new level by giving me a handful of new perspectives in which to tackle problems.”
Sakhi Todi works in Client Strategy at The Ricciardi Group, a woman-owned creative, strategy and marketing group based in NYC and one of Inc Magazine’s Fastest-Growing American Companies. Throughout her career, she has held in positions in Marketing, Advertising, Content Strategy and Design, serving a broad range of Sports, CPG, F&B, Retail and Fintech brands. She occasionally volunteers with AIGA NY and offers her services as a Strategist in the "Make a Mark" Makeathons.
"The program has enlightened me on the profound role a brand plays in shaping the human psyche, business and mainstream culture, and it is empowering to know that our ideas can stir this change. It taught me the fundamental skill of delivering information effectively and credibly, something we do every day at work. One of the most valuable lessons we can take away is learning how to brand ourselves and apply the frameworks we learn to solve brand problems on ourselves."
Emily Verselis is a hospitality-centered brand and experience strategist in New York City. Across her diverse experience, helping clients at key inflection points in their growth journeys, Emily developed an early appreciation for every interaction as an opportunity for a brand to resonate emotionally with people.
“Empathy is a driving force of human connection - in building trust, fostering loyalty, and delighting audiences. In the Masters in Branding program, we strengthened our sensitivity by experimenting with frameworks that challenged our assumptions and immersed us in cultural dialogues. These exercises ultimately enabled us to develop creative and meaningful solutions more central to the human experience.”
Fangjie Wang is a creative strategist with an extensive fashion design background. She is working on preparing her own lifestyle brand now. Meanwhile, she has worked with Hermes, THINX, Anthom, and more, helping the brands develop evocative business strategy and visual style for their target customers.
“The SVA Masters in Branding program is the most valuable learning experience I have ever had. It taught me how to transform my artistic sensibility into a more tangible executive form. I learned how to solve problems strategically and how to communicate professionally to win the audience’s trust. It also inspired me to reconsider my career path and personal development in a bigger picture.”
Yunke Xiao, a brand identity designer from Beijing, China, is currently working as an intern at Chermayeff & Geismar & Haviv in New York City. In addition to his design work, he is also responsible for China's market research and the development of potential clients in Asia.
"For me, the most valuable takeaway from the program is the strategy, research, psychology, and business behind great graphic design work. The principles and frameworks I learned during my studies help me to analyze and understand my clients to develop and deliver better design work."
After graduating from the Masters in Branding program at SVA, Khushbu Bagaria landed a job as a Senior Strategist at Landor India, where she learned the art of storytelling and the importance of understanding human behavior in order for brands to build meaningful connections. She is now the Founder and Managing Director of Wishbox, a brand consultancy in Chennai, India with new ambitions and a greater knowledge of how branding can change perceptions.
"The Masters in Branding program at SVA gave me skills to deeply analyze trends which I use daily. The course work continually challenged my creative & analytical thinking skills and pushed me away from typical formulaic approach and brand jargon."
Ryan Bone is a Senior Interactive Designer at AKQA working on-site for Apple. His projects span from transformative in-store experiences to product design that streamlines the digital shopping experience. His career has taken him around the world, where he’s worked with Nike, Microsoft, Intel, Coca-Cola, and Whole Foods.
“The rigorous SVA Masters in Branding program exposed me to new ways of strategically approaching complex problems with diverse groups of people. It also taught me how to methodically drill down to the key insights, develop a unique angle of execution, and present the creative direction in a compelling way.”
Joana Brito is a consultant for fashion brands in Brazil. She works as a marketing professional and has solid experience in PR, branding, social media, and events. Throughout her career, Joana has worked with global brands such as Chanel, Michael Kors, Moda Operandi, Vogue, and she had a monthly column about NYC in a leading Brazilian lifestyle magazine.
"The Masters in Branding program was crucial for me to understand business and culture to leverage the brands I work with daily. I also learned different and unique ways to approach trends. The program led me to develop a project called "Brand New Brands" in which I curate new, cool, undiscovered fashion brands."
Tara Chen is a co-Founder and Brand Strategy Lead at Blue Kiwi, a startup that helps Chinese brands establish and expand in the US Market. Throughout her career, from being a fashion designer to a brand strategist, she has learned it is not what we sell, it is why we sell. Tara is bridging the cultural gap by transforming Chinese companies not to sell only products, but more importantly, build a brand. By redefining this mentality, Tara is attempting to showcase Chinese cultural roots and help remove the Made In China bias.
"From the Masters in Branding Program, I was taught not only practical frameworks and strategic thinking but valuable problem-solving skills. The program enabled some key fundamentals: how to manage time-sensitive projects, present inspiring stories, and effectively communicate a brand's purpose."
Ina Dimitrova is currently a Design Director at BX Brand Experience Design Group, where she leads the development of comprehensive brand identities for both established and innovative health and wellness clients.
"Attending the Masters in Branding program at SVA taught me how to boil down complex problems to clear and straightforward solutions from immersive research. It helped me build upon my personal voice and translate it to professional growth. The program is truly a journey that does not end with graduation."
Kristina Ermolenko is a Design Strategist at HeatWork AS, a company in Northern Norway that specializes in mobile hydronic heating solutions. She works on a range of design projects, including brand development, product and digital strategy, experience, and service design. Kristina is also co-founder of Advance Educational Center in Russia, for which she developed a brand identity and continues to develop future business visions and identify new opportunity spaces.
"The Masters in Branding program helped me expand my design experience into the strategy world and gave me the multifaceted skills required for success in my current position."
Carlos Fuentes is the director of Strategist and Founder of a new strategic business studio based in Santiago called GrupoMarca, He's also the Founder of the twelve years old Branding Company, Panda. Throughout his career, he has worked with several brands, including New Balance, Sony, Principal, DeLonghi, Topshop, and some of the greatest Latin American Retail Brands. He defines himself as an entrepreneur, that's the reason why he is not only working for clients on these companies. He is also developing new business ideas all the time.
This is the reason he was able to create one of the most successful Hair Salon Chain in Latam with almost 31 stores, called Glam&Co. He also sits on the advisory board of Ronda, a non-profit of entrepreneurs like him that find the way to connect people with disabilities and the right working position for them. This year he is also starting with a new Fintech model that gives microloans to people using the same idea that inspired him to start his own companies "Money shouldn't be a drag, it should propel your life forward, and we are here to make it happen".
"During my time at the Masters in Branding program, I was taught how to use my own experience with much more clarity base in many valuable frameworks and the way to approach the constant problem solving that strategic working is always demanding."
Jenna Halbert is a Brand Strategist at Reddit, acting as a creative consultant for brands looking to advertise on the platform. She works to deliver insight-driven creative solutions that bring brand campaigns to life in ways that are unique to Reddit.
“I use so many of the skills that I developed in the Masters in Branding program every day, but by far the most valuable has been the way that I was able to improve on public speaking for presentations. What was once a huge fear of mine became something I grew comfortable with over the course of the program and is now an integral part of my job when I pitch to clients.”
Miguèle Issa is a strategist at The Nucleus Group, a collaborative headquartered in Brooklyn. Her experience spans a variety of CPG brands in categories such as Home Care and Fem Care but also a variety of social issues including but not limited to the Syrian refugee crisis of the Middle East, and issues of health and immunization in developing countries. At Nucleus, she is dedicated to increasing the capacity of others to employ human-centered research and design principles as vital tools to identify problems and create agile and effective solutions that scale.
"After working in the branding field for years, I gained a completely new perspective from the program at SVA. Throughout the program, we learned about various ways to approach branding at each stage: from defining challenges to conducting research and finding the right solutions. I was also lucky enough to meet incredible people who share my belief that thoughtful design can have a lasting positive impact on societies."
Cheryl Johnson is a New Business Manager at FutureBrand New York, a global brand transformation company connecting purpose with experience. Throughout her career, she has worked with innovating brands and organizations, including Virgin America, New York Fashion Week, Mailchimp, Equinox Hotels, and more. She also serves as a creative and marketing consultant to social media influencers, helping them fine-tune their offerings to brands.
"Choosing to enroll in the program was one of the best decisions I've ever made. I developed relationships with professionals I looked up to and admired, and had the opportunity to work with a diverse group of creatives who shifted my perspective. From the year spent in the program, I learned how to look at every project through a wider lens to hone in on the best approach to profoundly impact a business and its audience."
Jae Young Kim is a graphic designer based in NYC, currently working on freelance design projects and several design pursuits. Throughout his career, he has worked with several design agencies, and PepsiCo to create visual graphics and design strategies for packagings and brand extensions for their beverage portfolio, including Pepsi and Mountain Dew.
"Throughout my a year-long study at the Masters in Branding program, I learned so many valuable lessons beyond my expectations, which ultimately built and shaped who I am to become a thoughtful creative-individual. Not only towards the brands or the design, but I also learned how to observe and approach the challenges in our world and surroundings through in-depth research, strategic management, and most importantly, teamwork. My experience from the program will be carried on with me through the rest of my career."
Michelle Kwiatkowski is an Art Director at Prudential, the largest insurance company in the United States. Through design and visual storytelling, she strategically works across the company's brand to elevate the conversation around financial wellness, empowering individuals to take control of their finances so they can focus on the fun stuff.
"One of the most valuable things I learned in SVA's Masters in Branding program is how to create authentic brand experiences. In the ever-evolving world we live in, consumers have the power to dictate the success or failure of a brand. They want to connect with things that matter to them and for brands to be part of their lives in a meaningful way. Understanding this symbiotic relationship between consumers and brand experiences is more valuable than any product or service itself."
Phillip Lauria is a Senior Strategist at Thought Matter, a strategic design studio in Manhattan. Throughout his career, he has worked with several brands, including MAC Cosmetics, Hewlett Packard, Canadian Club, General Mills, Target, and more. He also sits on the advisory board of N Square, a non-profit collective of innovators working to reduce the nuclear threat.
"During my time with the Masters in Branding program, I was taught how to use many valuable frameworks and exposed to several real-world client projects, but the most valuable thing I gained was a new way of thinking. Over the life of the program, we were trained on how to approach challenges differently, to ask better questions, and to manage our assumptions when designing solutions."
Derek Lee is a Design Manager at Murmuration, a data and analytics organization in the political arena. Derek's career has taken him across industries and the world, starting in finance and publishing to education in Japan and back to his first love, design. Derek has a background in information systems and design. He combinesthis background with the Masters in Branding program training to create seamless visual systems across his current organization's products and services. Before Murmuration, Derek was on the global business development team at FleishmanHillard where he developed and pitched activation concepts to brands like Cadillac, Nike, Wells Fargo, Samsung, among others. One of the highlights of Derek's time during the program was getting the opportunity to design the logo for television's first gender non-binary character, Taylor Mason, on Showtime's hit financial crime drama, "Billions."
"The frameworks and practical instruction provided during the program gave a solid foundation in how to organize thoughts, identify insights, and present a compelling point of view. Also, the network of leaders and professionals involved with the program have helped steer me in the right direction when it comes to my career."
Oliver Liang is a brand designer at Publicis Group, a French advertising company in Manhattan. He has been integral in creating the consistent brand language for Walmart and building their brand book. He also worked on several pitches projects for clients including Jif, Microns, and WeWork.
"I gained so much valuable knowledge during my studies at the Masters in Branding program. It truly influenced the trajectory of my life and career in the most remarkable way. One of the biggest takeaways was the process of approaching problems. I now look at a client obstacle from a wider lens to gather all the crucial information and ultimately arrive at an elegant solution."
Camila Lisboa works on the Global Business Marketing team at Facebook, in São Paulo. In her day to day routine, she understands the needs of the Agency Team and gives them the support needed to strengthen their relationship with clients, drive business opportunities and educate people on how to use Facebook's platforms and products more effectively.
"My time during the Masters of Branding program gave me the tools necessary to derive solutions for my clients by synthesizing my analytical and creative thinking – both theoretically and practically. We were also given the opportunity to work with people from different countries and cultures, which enriched the discussions in class but my overall experience."
EB May’s curiosity to understand human behavior and how we interact with the world propelled her from the prestigious Acting program at Syracuse University to Broadway production for a Tony-nominated musical to SVA to earn a Masters in Branding. Most recently, she worked on the strategy team at Batten & Co., tackling big branding challenges for Fortune 100 companies, including Johnson & Johnson and Norwegian Cruise Lines.
“The Masters in Branding program encouraged me to think holistically about branding and business challenges by bringing together professionals and students with diverse specialties and perspectives. Not only do you learn the frameworks and theories, but you are also challenged to apply them in real-world situations and projects.”
Throughout her career, Caroline Peni Mumpuni has worked with agencies and independently in various industries across Europe and the US as a brand designer. Right now, she works with Catalyze Communications, a sustainability design agency in Bali, Indonesia, assisting NGOs and brands in creating impactful designs for the greener good.
"SVA's Masters in Branding classes range from the basics of psychology, trend forecasting, to business, those of which I've never thought of learning when I applied to the program. At the end of it, my approach to brand design has changed. It helped me, as a designer, to think more strategically in facing a creative challenge."
Josee Nakhle is a visual communicator at The Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children, an organization hosted by UNICEF with one focus: making the world safe for children. Throughout her career, she worked at fashion magazines such as A magazine and L’Officiel Levant as an art director with photographers and clients, including Juergen Teller and Riz Ahmed.
“During my time at the Masters in Branding program, I learned many valuable lessons. From dealing with and presenting to real-life clients to understanding your audience, to using frameworks to achieve your goal. As a designer, branding was an essential skill to learn. The program also offered amazing teachers and classmates whom I can now call friends for life.”
Lynette Pope is a Branding and Packaging Design Consultant, based in New York City. Throughout her career, she has worked with major brands, including The Home Depot, Oxo, and Yamaha Motor Company, and more. She is also an active member of the design community and collaborates annually with the HOW Design Live creative conference, as a leader within their Ambassador Program.
"The Masters in Branding program changed my life. It provided me with the tools that I demanded to become a more confident and thriving force within the strategic and design communities."
Kelsy Postlethwait is a Creative Strategist specializing in interaction and experience design at San Francisco based agency, Britelite Immersive. She works with brands—from Accenture to Visa—using physical space, experience architecture, and leading-edge technology to redefine how they engage with their audiences in the here and now. Kelsy is also a regular contributor to The Dark Side [blog], writing on topics surrounding the intersection of brand and experience.
“The skills and toolsets that I honed in the program have become my secret weapons and most valuable assets in the role that I now play at BriteLite. The work that I do regularly ranges from audience analysis to facilitating client workshops, to writing creative briefs, and developing content strategy or experience architecture—all of which benefit from the rigorous approach to brand thinking that I gained in my education. Ultimately the program has equipped me to create sound strategy for global brands and to present it with gusto and confidence.”
Surabhi Rathi is a Brand Strategist at Tether, a multidiscipline creative agency in Seattle founded by Stanley Hainsworth. Throughout her career, Surabhi has worked on the agency and the client side, spearheading branding projects for early-stage startups as well as global brands. Her strategic insight and creative rigor have positively impacted brands including Microsoft, Nike, Gatorade and more.
“While in the program, I learned to work with a diverse set of people in ways that built on each other’s strengths - a skill that I find (surprisingly) rare in the professional world. This program served as a one-year journey in self-reflection. Every class inspired us to unearth assumptions and see the world from a critical perspective. Overall, the degree brought clarity and conviction to not only my professional goals but also to my personal beliefs.”
Carina Sandoval leads strategy at Champions Design, a design and branding agency founded by SVA Branding mentors Jennifer Kinon and Bobby C. Martin. Carina guides the research and strategy that informs and inspires the studio's visual identity system design for clients across industries. In 2019, she joined the faculty at the SVA MFA Design program, where she taught a Thesis Consultation course that brought students through the process of building a brand strategy for their thesis ventures.
“The intensity of the Masters in Branding program prepared me to thrive in rigorous environments and equipped me with the tools I needed to pivot my career path and achieve my goal of working with brands that are changing society for the better.”
Matei Schwartz currently serves as a Graduate Assistant for the International Center for Studies in Creativity at SUNY's Buffalo State College, where he also studies to earn a Graduate Certificate in Creativity and Change Leadership. Matei leads the brand transformation initiative for the 52-year-old institution, while he continues consulting in Romania, his home country. He works and studies at the intersection between brand theory, creativity research, and innovation practice.
"I value immensely, and I use every day the profound understanding of brand theory and physics gathered from the Masters in Branding program. This has been the most complex, intense, and fulfilling educational experience of my life. It helped me shape my approach to our practice and, more importantly, it made me a better person."
Christine Shin is currently a designer at Roxanne Assoulin, working on collections for in-house and private label fashion brands. She is a strategic-minded creative with a focus on research and trends. Highlights from past experiences have included working on projects for a wide range of brands including Apple, Samsung, YouTube, Urban Outfitters, and Stitch Fix.
"What I found most valuable about the Masters in Branding program was learning to apply an acute awareness of cultural trends to create cohesive, compelling narratives for brands."
The Brand Director/Strategist Lead at Studio Eagle, award-winning workplace design and delivery firm, Jess Spataro works with her team of creatives to redefine the workplace. From leading strategic processes and research for Studio Eagle's clients to managing the direction of the company's brand, Jess continues to immerse herself in discovery to offer insight and bring to life branding in the built environment.
"What I found most valuable during my studies at the Masters in Branding program was the progressive, interdisciplinary curriculum and the opportunity to study with some of the most brilliant minds working in branding today. My time in the program allowed me to examine the complex relationship between design and strategy critical to my work and exercise thoughtful investigations to ultimately master an understanding in the power of brand thinking. I seek to be a part of designing environments that can prepare us for the future of work and believe my journey at the Masters in Branding program has been an invaluable resource for the continuous development of her professional life."
Peeraya Taechajinda is a strategic designer and entrepreneur. Having worked with experiential and environmental design for several brands, she is fascinated by the impact those brands have for changes in our society. She founded "Raw Project Juice," a mindful drinks company, and is on track to create another brand to take part among her peers in regentrifying where she grew up, Taladnoi, the old-town Bangkok
"The Masters in Branding program has taught me to be tough on the thought process––from questioning, exploiting information, applying frameworks, to translating those variables into solutions. As Debbie Millman always says, 'branding is deliberate differentiation.' In addition to the above, the most valuable thing I was trained from being in this program was to keep challenging myself and say 'I can do it!'"
Rosario Belli is an Innovation Insights Senior Manager and part of the Transformation and Break-though Innovation team at PepsiCo's Innovation & Design Center in Manhattan. She is also an entrepreneur and founded a social business in Nicaragua, which takes healthy entertainment to low-income areas and is used as a marketing platform for companies. Throughout her career, she has developed a passion for doing good through business and innovation. In her current role, she champions consumer centricity, lean startup, agile, and entrepreneurial ways of working.
"The Masters in Branding program was essential for my transition from living abroad to the United States. It got me up to speed with the latest and best practices in branding and opened my eyes to completely new ways of thinking about the relationship between people and brands. Working heavily in teams has prepared me greatly for my current role in innovation, which is very cross-functional and relies strongly on collaboration. I've definitely been able to add a unique point of view to the companies I've worked for after attending the program."
Carter Bird is a senior strategist at Gretel, a creative brand studio in New York. There, he transforms divergent problems into convergent clarity to empower brands like Nike, National Geographic, Knoll, The New York Times, and more. Carter joined the Gretel strategy department in its infancy and has since helped form the studio's approach to the strategic process. Throughout his career, Carter has remained a generalist, guiding research, core strategic thinking, architecture, verbal tonality, and design directives for projects, both big and small.
"The Masters in Branding program was essential to my formative understanding of the branding practice. More than frameworks or tools, Debbie, Elizabeth, Bret, Tosh, Mark, Tom, and the rest of the remarkable staff introduced me to a unique methodology of thinking. But perhaps more importantly, the program ignited a professional drive in me that has carried forward ever since."
Shivani Gorle is a Cultural Strategist at ThoughtMatter, a New York City-based strategic design and branding studio focused on Work Worth Doing. She plays a key role in expanding the studio's strategic capabilities and works with creative teams to build brand identities for clients that capture the cultural context around their offering. During her time with ThoughtMatter, Shivani has tracked and written about emerging trends and opportunities across a number of industries, with a focus on art, innovation, sustainability, and civic engagement.
Shivani's educational background includes a Masters degree in Branding from the School of Visual Arts. She also has an undergraduate degree in mass media from the University of Mumbai, specializing in advertising. In addition to brand strategy, Shivani's "Queens OnScreen" illustration series has landed coverage in publications including Brand Equity Economic Times, Buzzfeed, ATTN:, AV Club, Mashable and Hindustan Times.
"Learning from instructors who were also working professionals threw me right into the marketing and advertising mecca that is New York City. Working with diverse teams on fast-paced assignments and workshops trained me to take on briefs and deliver pitches with tact. But most of all, my year at the program taught me how to turn information into inspiration. The Analysis, Insight and Forecasting course was a real standout. Always one to revel in changing trends and discover how brands use "cultural capital" to influence our consumer choices, I explored how to translate cultural signals around me into actionable insights for businesses. I became a more nimble and curious thinker. It's what keeps me coming back to the program year after year as a teaching assistant."
Shayla Hunter is a Strategist at Egg Strategy, a marketing strategy consulting firm with offices in Chicago, New York, and Denver. Shayla has worked in lifestyle, health, and consumer package goods groups with brands including Samsung, the NFL, Edward Jones, and McCormick & Company. Shayla is also the creator and illustrator of The 100 Black Females Project, a project that empowers the voices of black women and girls of all ages.
“The Masters in Branding program gave me an opportunity and space to hone in and sharpen my skills as a critical thinker. Allowing curiosity to lead me to ideas and insights that can help create change for the better. During the program, I learned the importance of diving deep into human behavior and finding the ‘why’ we do what we do.”
Hillel Hurwitz is the Marketing Director of a global non-profit based in DC. He has over 15 years of marketing and brand strategy experience. Hillel has worked with many leading brands, including Sony Pictures, HP, Apple, Mercedes Benz, The Intercontinental Hotel Group, and more. He is currently working on opening up his own brand strategy shop.
"Enrolling in the Masters in Branding program was one of the best decisions I have ever made. The program didn't just give me tools and skills; it helped me become a brand builder and a connoisseur of culture. The program stretched me creatively and has opened doors to incredible new opportunities. I would do it again!"
Namrata Kalani is the founder of ‘The Narration,’ an online women’s western wear brand which specializes in geometric paneling and color blocking. Before starting her brand, she was the Head of Product at ‘The Setting,’ an experiential branding studio in Manhattan. This gave her hands-on experience in handling different product segments by working for various brands, including M.Gemi, Free People, Bridgeton Holdings, Pure Change, Vitruvi, and more.
"During my time at the Masters in Branding program, I learned the amalgamation of design and strategy and how both play an integral role in branding. Learning and implementing new strategies for real clients was exciting, and the program gave the right amount of flexibility to implement different approaches while working on projects."
Katie Kravit is the creative director and co-founder of Ugly Wolf, a collaborative strategic design studio based in Los Angeles & New York. Throughout her career, she has worked with many brands, including Amazon, Minibar Delivery, Chief, Purpose, and more. She has a love for storytelling and an unwavering passion for affecting the human condition through branding. When she's not designing, strategizing, or running her business, Katie can be found catching sunsets with her rescue pup, Rocky, exploring the world, repurposing antiques, and seeking out the best guacamole in the city.
"The Masters in Branding Program at SVA was an invaluable experience for me because it changed the way I think. The program gave me the tools and the confidence to start my own business. I use something I learned at SVA every day when I run my strategic design studio, Ugly Wolf. I also hire many former students for my client projects because I can trust that they've been trained with the same high-quality standards and have the same curiosity to question. I would recommend the program to anyone who wants to truly invest in themselves."
Farida Leheta is a Brand Strategist at The Brand Company, a branding consultancy located in Cairo, Egypt. She works on brands that range from startups to market leaders. Her most memorable clients include Azza Fahmy Jewellery, El Gouna, and The Grand Egyptian Museum.
“My time at the Masters in Branding program instilled in me my many things, but what stayed with me the most is the determination to dig deeper to create something that touches on a universal feeling or need because there is nothing more real than that.”
Steph Millar is an in-house creative on the marketing team at Hershey, using her strategy, copywriting, design and social media marketing skills to build their Canadian in-house creative agency. Her insatiable curiosity and ability to wear many hats has enabled her to work on a diverse portfolio of brands spanning the food, beverage, alcohol, and cannabis industries. Outside the office, you can find Steph riding horses, trend hunting, curating eclectic playlists, and mentoring students as part of the Association of Registered Graphic Designers' Mentor Program.
"The SVA Masters in Branding Program truly equipped me to understand the branding profession in a new light by exposing me to a diverse toolkit and holistic approach to brand building through culture, psychology, creative, and business lenses. The ability to study in a global classroom environment alongside students and professionals with diverse backgrounds has proven to be invaluable as the professionals I worked with and learned from will be lifelong connections."
Hannah Mowrey is a Chicago-based designer, brand builder and pun master. She’s a third-generation partner of her family-owned branding studio, Grin. It’s here where Hannah’s role as a designer has shifted into a multiple hat-wearing-juggler. Along with her team, she creates work for a wide range of industries from major hospitality brands to global manufacturers of education technology. The work she and her team create is focused on developing unique brand voices, designing bullet-proof brand identity systems and making sure their clients are actually being seen by the right people.
Hannah takes a strategic approach to design that focuses on uncovering the best, most honest approaches for brands that will build business and turn frowns upside down. All while doing everything with a glass laugh full approach, and a slew of terrible puns along the way.
"This program made me better. Better at taking risks, better at listening, and better at understanding differences. It was here where I was able to find a focus in my work that would have taken many years on my own to discover. It was also in this program where I met the best friends I've ever had. These friends became my family."
Fabian Amaru Muenala is co-founder and owner of Alter-Native, a Native American brand & retail business with stores in New York and New Jersey. Fabian’s mission is to unify and create a platform for Native artists from North, Central & South America, all to help voice and amplify indigenous cultures and artworks. His desires to further aid and strengthen First Nations people and their stories has been through the Rimay Raiz Collective in New York, and the Runas in Resistance initiative in the Andes region of Ecuador.
“One of the most important lessons I took away from the Masters in Branding program, is that I realized that it didn't matter if you were a product, a service, or a company, they all could have meaningful and impactful stories to tell. An honest and simple story could help people stand behind a brand, donate to an organization, or build a community around a goal.”
Allison Mussoline is the Brand Director at Ranch Rider Spirits Co., a startup cocktail brand in Austin, TX. In this role, she combines her years of brand management in the fashion retail sector with her experience as a brand strategist. Allison's responsibilities as Brand Director include developing Ranch Rider Spirits' foundational brand strategies and visual guidelines, managing and executing all media and marketing strategies, as well as establishing successful brand partnerships.
“The Masters in Branding program taught me the importance of having a greater awareness for what’s happening in culture and how to translate those cultural insights into thoughtful, intentional messaging for brands to have a positive impact on society. By the end of the program, I learned the science and the artistry that goes into crafting a strong brand strategy and was equipped with the tools and frameworks to continue that practice into my own professional work."
Throughout her working career Hilal witnessed that in order for a company to have a sustainable business it needs to define its brand but also needs to form cultural awareness to become a global citizen. Realizing that this will help move a company forward in all industries, Hilal decided to pursue her passion of branding. Moving back up to her home area Hilal is looking forward to the Masters in Branding program to become a branding expert.
Petter Syberg is a senior strategist and copywriter at Today, a branding studio in Oslo, Norway. He works closely with a handful of brands, helping them stay in touch with culture and connect with people. His clients range from big and global to small and local from freshly caught fish to freshly baked goods.
"I learned so much during my time at the SVA Masters in Branding program. Like the value of asking better questions and how to spot larger themes that lead to insights. The program also drastically improved how I present work and the confidence in which I do it."
Richard Vassilatos is an Associate Director of Strategy at Ayzenberg, an independent full-service agency based in Pasadena. His work bridges the gap between business realities and shifting consumer expectations for clients, including P&G, Pepsi, Amex, City of Hope, and Xbox Game Studios.
"I am forever grateful for all the access to the brilliant minds I had during the program. Two essential things that I learned, among others, is that branding is a team sport, and questions can be more powerful than answers. These two concepts are always with me and have become core to my work."
Memoli Ward is Senior Interactive Designer at M.Gemi, a luxury retail brand in SoHo, where she leads visual brand strategy. Memoli also provides consulting design and strategy services to start-ups in the New York metro area.
"The Masters in Branding program completely reformatted my system of empathy. Today, I not only look at brands differently but thanks to the Meaning of Branded Objects class led by Dr. Tom Guarriello, I constantly think about human motivation and how brand professionals affect the environments in which we live."
Melinda Welch is Co-Director of the Strategy team at Brand Bureau, a multidisciplinary branding and design agency in New York City. In collaboration with the studio's interior and graphic design teams, Melinda and her fellow strategists develop brands, define experiences, and design spaces. Throughout her career, she has had the pleasure of working with world-class brands, including Four Seasons, Google, Virgin, Ford, Marriott, Budweiser, and P&G, among others. She enjoys assistant-teaching an honors class in the Masters in Branding program and teaches an undergraduate Branding & Messaging course at Pratt Institute.
"Each esteemed faculty member in the Masters in Branding program imparts their particular wisdom on the curriculum, fostering a dynamic understanding of the modern practice of branding. No singular approach is favored, nor rulebook provided. This is because strategic brand development and stewardship can consist of any practice which applies cultural, commercial, and behavioral insights to creatively solve business challenges. Don't let anyone tell you that there's only one right answer in branding."
Samantha Joy Ariola is a Filipino-American creative based in New York City. Samantha considers business branding to be a harmonious fusion of verbal and visual communications that a company puts forth to represent its personality to its consumers. Just as every person conveys a personality to the world, every company must pinpoint its own brand persona and strategically communicate it to a target audience. This branding philosophy mirrors Samantha’s own process of self-actualization. Her passion for aesthetics, design and psychology have converged in the field of branding – although it took time for her to discover this niche.
Samantha graduated from NYU with a degree in History specializing in Race, Gender, and Sexuality studies and subsequently worked in corporate immigration for five years. Throughout this period, as is common for many individuals of the Asian bridge-generation in the United States, Samantha grappled with striking a balance between her desire for a creative career and her loyalty to achieving her family’s more “practical” definition of the American dream. After much soul searching, Samantha rebranded herself in pursuit of personal authenticity, taking courses in graphic design and mobile application development, as well as watching every online design course she could find. Earning a Master’s degree in Branding at SVA proved to be the inevitable next step toward transitioning into her career in Brand Design and Creative Direction.
Every twist and turn that has defined Samantha’s path, no matter how seemingly tangential, will serve her well in the branding industry. Working with corporate immigration clientele, Samantha understands the dynamic structure and operations of the modern day multinational corporation. Certainly, her pragmatically grounded immigrant upbringing has fostered a characteristic duality to her branding approach; as her creative ideas naturally flow, they are refined by an inherently practical worldview.
In her free time, Samantha is inspired and recharged by fine dining, painting, hiking, traveling, and surpassing Queen with her emotional karaoke rendition of “Bohemian Rhapsody”.
After earning a degree in Business Management at the University of Lodz in Poland, Natalia moved to New York to pursue a Master’s degree in Branding. The program exposed her to a range of industry professionals and made her very competitive among other individuals in the world of design and strategy. Immediately after graduating, Natalia accepted an internship at Sterling Brands which turned into a full-time Strategist position.
Always passionate about beauty, after working in the design and branding agency for 2 years, Natalia started a skincare brand with her grandmother - Herla Beauty (herlabeauty.com). Herla is known for its ability to help women reduce an over-dependence on makeup by nurturing healthy and great looking skin. Herla offers a full line of PETA approved clean and natural skincare products. The brand is available at macys.com and in Soft Surroundings stores and catalog.
"The Masters in Branding program was tremendously helpful for me. I applied knowledge and skills I learned to many areas of building my skincare start-up - creating a brand story, packaging design, initial market research, pitching to retailers, etc. What I found most valuable is learning to work in teams and that it is crucial to have a great team to build a successful business."
Shazeeda Bhola is a strategist and designer at Nucleus, a brand strategy collaborative that uses human-centered methodologies to investigate how we emotionally connect to ideas. Since joining Nucleus, Shaz has had the pleasure of working with Crane on a brand positioning and visual identity brief, designing a website for the End Violence Against Children Initiative, and helping to lead Nucleus’ effort to build communications capacity in service of nuclear risk reduction.
“The Masters in Branding program gave me a totally new way to think about persuasion and branding. Done well, it’s not gimmicky, nor does it rely on catchy taglines and a well-designed logo. Persuasion and branding are exercises in emotional connection and thoughtful, evidence-based insights. I’ve come to appreciate the process just as much as the outcomes, and I still rely on the same tools and frameworks that were shared with me by the incredible faculty.”
Corin Camenisch is a Senior Product Marketing Manager at Pathfinder, a fast-growing software startup in London. Throughout her career, she has managed several consumer goods brands in Switzerland, started her own branding agency where she positioned startups in NYC and SF, and is now building the future of marketing automation across the pond.
"The Masters in Branding program has taught me to think strategically about every aspect of a brand, to create presentations that tell compelling stories and last but not least to deal with an immense amount of pressure."
Francesca Curry is the Creative Director for NOW//with, a content meets commerce startup focusing on making celebrity lifestyle videos shoppable. Francesca spent the last few years building and managing the user experience design for a platform at Macy's Beauty. There she worked with many of the industry's leading beauty brands, while also leading an innovation advisory board between Estee Lauder Companies and Macy's. Francesca's focus has been on connecting the worlds of strategy and design to better a brand's visual identity.
"The development of my intuition and instinct is my most valuable takeaway from the Masters in Branding program. The program allowed me to rewire my thinking in a way where I now see the connection in things I never would have seen before. I see the possibility where logic may have dictated otherwise, and most importantly I can see the big picture without losing all the small details. As a designer, the ability to understand strategy and big picture brand thinking without losing sight of the beautiful minute details is incredibly important, and not an easy thing to develop."
CJ Draper is an award-winning Design Director at Pearlfisher, NY; an independent branding agency focused on creating simpler, lighter, and more desirable brands for the future. Since graduating from the Masters in Branding program in 2016, CJ has had the pleasure of working with many brands from ABInBev, Diageo, General Mills, Mars, and even Metallica. While he likes working with established brands, CJ loves working with startups challenging the norm.
“I came to the Masters in Branding Program as a designer in search of an additional skillset. What I got from the program was a holistic view of what a brand is. I learned a ton in the fast-paced program, including the logistical and business end of things, assessing cultural trends, and strategic storytelling. I am now better equipped to build a brand from multiple touchpoints and not just visually.”
Ryan Hausberger is Branding and Creative Strategist, currently based in London. After completing the program, Ryan went to work for FCBWest in San Francisco, where he created advertising for a wide variety of clients, including Clorox, Ghirardelli, Arizona State University, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and even Smokey Bear. He's served as a One Club Bootcamp mentor and enjoys writing about where culture and brands meet.
"The SVA Masters in Branding gave me the right balance of practical experience and theoretical understanding. Strategy relies heavily on theory, but if that doesn't translate into a great piece of work, then it's all for naught. The program emphasized that balance, and it's something I return to often."
Anu Khosla is a freelance strategist based in San Francisco who applies brand thinking to progressive social movements. Her work supports transformative non-profits, social businesses, activists, and civil society organizations. Past clients include Google, Black Economic Alliance, Community Foundations of Canada, and Maybelline New York. She currently sits on the Business Advisory Council for ProPublica.
"The Masters in Branding Program honed my ability to be highly adaptable –– a fundamental part of creativity. Regardless of the industry or organizational challenge I'm dealing with, I know that culture is the key to progress. The faculty has gifted me with a great melange of analytic and creative tools."
Kate Larrabee is a brand strategist and a true blend of creative strategic thinking. Professionally Kate likes working with brands to navigate change, pivot in times of industry disruption, and find greater relevance as consumer desires shift. As a result, she has developed an interest in work at the intersection of insights, innovation, and brand transformation.
Anna-Rae Morris is a Design Strategist at TRIPTK, a brand transformation studio in TriBeCa. Working at the intersection of design and strategy her work has leveraged cultural trends and design thinking to bring to life on-shelf products, services, and experiences for some of the world's most recognizable brands. Her recent projects have included Moet-Hennessy, Snickers, Disney, Baileys, Smirnoff, and Marriott International.
"During my time at the Masters in Branding program, I was introduced to all facets of the branding process from research and insights to strategy, brand positioning, and visual brand worlds. Learning the process of how all these inputs culminate and come to life in the world was such a foundational piece of learning for me going into the industry. Learning how to weave multiple inputs to tell a compelling brand story is something I have used daily since graduating."
María Sanoja is a designer and lead strategist at 5 Hormigas Caribe, an account planning shop in Santo Domingo, in her native Dominican Republic. She seeks to combine wonder and reason to create resonance. At 5 Hormigas Caribe, María has led planning projects for diverse prominent local brands and challenges, ranging from customer segmentation to full branding projects. Simultaneously, she works on mostly branding projects as a designer and illustrator. She also has a personal project called 100 Days of Overthinking. In the past, she has worked as a designer at Lippincott, Droga5, J.Crew, Mother Design, among others.
"The Masters in Branding program led me to develop a new way of thinking about brands: what shapes them, what feels right for each one, providing the frameworks and tools to get there. It taught me that there is a special relationship between each person and brand and that this is rarely arbitrary. Through wonderful teammates and remarkable instructors, the Masters in Branding helped me better understand culture and zeitgeist, to look beyond my point of view and perspective, and the value of teamwork."
Sarah is a 2016 graduate of the Masters in Branding program who has a deep love for just about anything involving the slightest bit of creativity - graphic design, painting, video production, and so on - but also has a compulsion to organize EVERYTHING from paperwork to cabinets. Naturally, after graduation, she found herself in a Management position at a creative agency specializing in strategy.
"Despite not knowing what the ultimate dream career was for me, the “it’s not work if you’re doing what you love”. I have always known that every step of the way would get me to unveiling that answer, and the Masters in Branding program was step number one. Now four years after graduating, I am a Senior Account Manager at a large New York City based strategy and design agency and continue to TA for the program every chance I get."
Sophie Steinmeyer is currently a Strategist for "adidas Runners" global at act.3, a brand activation and strategy agency located in Berlin, Germany. After finishing the SVA Branding program, Sophie first interned at Graj + Gustavsen, a branding and design agency for Fortune 500 Companies, and then was hired as the Brand Manager for Marlo Laz, a fine jewelry brand based in New York City. Since relocating to Germany in 2019, she has been working on global brand strategy, management, and concept development for "adidas Runners," a worldwide running and brand community by adidas.
"For me, enrolling to the Master in Branding program at the School of Visual Arts was a highly beneficial decision that influenced my professional career and development in multiple positive ways. Throughout this intensive one year degree I not only had the opportunity to learn from leading professionals in the Branding industries, but also work on multifaceted client-based projects with companies like Crane & Co, The United Nations and PBS. These valuable and unique experiences allowed me to further cultivate my understanding of cultural investigation, the branding world, and strategic design thinking."
Jordan Hayes Elliott is a strategy and design consultant living in Los Angeles. After spending the better part of a decade in creative studios in New York City, he has taken on a new challenge by joining the design team at Wanderlust with brands like Butcher's Daughter, Apotheke, and Pulqueria. Currently working on the design for the newest Butcher's Daughter outpost, Jordan still plans his time to consult in a strategic capacity for brands in the luxury Real Estate and Hospitality space.
"Throughout my time at the Masters in Branding program at SVA, I was constantly challenged to unpack my thinking from both strategic and brand ethos viewpoints. That sort of thinking, coupled with my experiences at agencies like Baron & Baron and Noë & Associates, lead me to a very strategic, and designed focused brand worldview. It allowed me through immersion plus experience, to become a better overall creative professional."
Sneha Keshav is a Brand-Product Design hybrid currently working at Jigsaw, Google, to help make the internet a safer place. From branding VR for the building industry at IrisVR to designing bidets at Tushy, recontextualizing health and hygiene, she enjoys working with emerging tech brands where the challenge is to build a narrative with little or no precedence. In her free time, she tries to capture the quirks of everyday language through expressive typography.
Jui Khopkar is an Associate Director, Insights & Strategy at SpotCo, an entertainment advertising and branding agency based in New York. Through her work in audience research, trend analysis, and brand planning, she supports the Arts, building entertainment brands that come to New York. Previously, she has worked at TBWA Worldwide with global clients such as Pepsi, Nissan, Tic Tac, Hilton, to name a few and was also a part of the Common Future Project that won the UN Global Leadership Award in 2018. In her free time, she volunteers at the Rotary Club of New York.
“The Masters in Branding program gave me a deep knowledge of the relationship between business and branding. It expanded my skill set and has enabled me to grow as a creative thinker. The most valuable part of the program for me has been the network of professors, mentors, and classmates who turned into my New York family. I continually keep learning from them.”
Kejal Macdonald is Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Zuzu Digital, a decentralized marketing agency that champions remote work. Previously, Kejal was VP of Brand Marketing at THINX, Inc., a job she landed as a direct result of her 100 Day project. Current and past clients include CVS Pharmacy, American Express, Toyota, Harley-Davidson, Anheuser-Busch, and The New York Times. She is fascinated by the human decision-making process and will challenge all existing assumptions about a target audience.
"During the transformational year of the branding program, the most valuable muscle I built was learning to constantly scan culture, analyze what was happening, use those insights to inform big strategic ideas, then articulate those ideas in succinct, convincing, and unexpected ways."
Maria's passion is discovering the compelling kernel of truth at the root of each brand and using it to create a unique story. In addition to being the lead brand strategist at Mucca Design in New York City, she is an award-winning designer, with recognition from CommArts, TDC, LAD, and BID. Some of her recent clients include Union Square Hospitality, WeWork, 7Fresh, Fairway, and Ficosota.
"Even though I was exposed to great tools, books, and theories during my time at the Masters in Branding, I quickly understood that there is not a formula for doing strategy. After the program, your strongest asset is how you connect & analyze information, how you create your perspective and develop your intuition."
Michi Ohira is a Senior Art Director at MKTG, an experiential marketing agency in NYC. Since graduating from SVA, Michi has designed branded experiences and environments for global brands, including Facebook, Amazon, Levi's, Spotify, and Canon. Michi's focus is on crafting brand engagements that break the boundaries of traditional storytelling through multidiscipline design and human-centered research.
"The Masters in Branding was essential for my personal career growth. Since graduating from SVA I have continued to utilize the program's tools and frameworks on a daily basis and have seen great success from its application. Most importantly, it has given me the foundation to continually evolve my design approach and practice by rooting creative ideas in human behavior and business intelligence."
Philippe Ostiguy is a brand and creative strategist at Exposure and, previously, at 2x4. Current and past clients include Prada, Uniqlo, MAC Cosmetics, Converse, and Second Stage Theater. He is interested in culture-making; in fandom; in the music, movies, art, and design that expand our imagination.
"The program's most valuable lessons, to me, centered working with people—peers, teachers, advisors—and learning to leverage their talents, guidance, and perspectives to create work that has real soul and energy. That and knowing there's value in intuition."
Jennifer Passas is a Strategy Director at Gensler, an integrated architecture, design, planning, and consulting firm. Her work involves positioning and creating unique ways brands can tell their story and come to life through analog and digital experiences in the built environment. Throughout her career, she has worked with a wide variety of brands, including Bank of America, Coach, IBM, Live Nation, Kate Spade, Netflix, Tapestry, White & Case, and many others. She is a judge for the Core77 Design Awards, the SXSW Place by Design Awards, and has been a speaker at SXSW.
During my time at the Masters in Branding program, I had the privilege of learning from experts in the branding field who shared their experiences and best practices for developing and positioning brands. The two most valuable learnings I gained from the program, and that I now bring to every project are: 1) the importance of understanding culture and how brands need to respond to, and in the best case, help to shape culture, and 2) the ability to present concisely and confidently. Being able to craft a compelling, interesting, and unique story to share with clients is an invaluable skill that I took away from the program.
Michelle Poler is the founder of Hello Fears, a social movement that has empowered millions to step outside of their comfort zone and tap into their full potential. She is the author of the book "Hello, Fears" and a renowned keynote speaker. She has been invited to speak at hundreds of companies, including Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Toyota, Coca-Cola, Facebook, Dunkin', P&G, ESPN, and many more. She is also the host of her own podcast in Spanish, Desde El Avión (From The Plane), and the lead content creator at @hellofears on Instagram.
"Being part of the SVA Masters in Branding program completely changed my life. It opened a world of possibilities. From the amazing faculty to the remarkable group of students, and from the eye-opening discussions, to the challenging projects; this master gave me everything I needed, and more, to become the successful entrepreneur that I am today. I not only learned how to brand a product or a company, I learned how to brand myself in a way that resonates with millions, and THAT can be life-changing."
Purva Sawant is a Digital Product Designer at the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) headquarters in New York. In this role, she translates research into digital products, pushing UNDP's digital transformation mission for more efficient and faster ways to communicate in the humanitarian sector. Her diligence to use design in the social innovation space lead her to work with UNICEF and other not for profit organizations in India in the past.
"The Masters in Branding program was pivotal in strengthening me as a design professional and also as a human being. Not only did it show me the power of brands but also showcased how crucial and complex is right branding in changing Govt. policies, building countries, and breaking societal norms. Branding is not limited to beautiful identities but can break or mend ideologies."
Lana Ugurtas is a Senior Strategist at Momentum, an experiential agency in Manhattan. Throughout her career, Lana has worked with several brands across various categories, including Estee Lauder, Canada Goose, Kiehl's, TUMI, Verizon, and many more. Lana is passionate about crafting brand stories with a strategic outlook grounded in the current cultural and marketplace trends. As a lateral thinker and visual storyteller, she crafts unique brand strategies that transform brands and establish their foothold in culture.
"During my time at the Masters in Branding program, I gained problem-solving skills by learning how to ask the right questions through the lenses of human behavior, culture, and business and devise solutions by crafting compelling brand narratives. My time at the program was invaluable. This is where I gained an understanding of what it means to be a strategist and a brand, and in the process, I became a part of the branding community."
Starrain Yang has worked as a Planning Manager in several international advertising agencies with honors and now she is currently an independent Brand Consultant and Strategist with a focus on brand strategy and social content for brands in China and the US market. Her clients include Cadillac, Wyeth, Centrum, Aptamil, Lenovo, Shanghai Pudong Development Bank and more.
“Joining the Masters in Branding program in SVA is one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life. It helped me to develop the essential combination of creativity, strategy and business acumen under the tutelage of professors, who are the most accomplished branding experts in the world. Because of this program, I have a much more deeply understanding of branding, which is the fusion of art and business; of creativity and practicality; of design and devotion; of storytelling and selling; and of innovation and imagination.
Montse Zamorano is a Design Strategist Consultant at Accenture Interactive in Madrid. Through her career, she has worked with brands in the Resources, Hospitality, and Real Estate industries, such as Radisson, Repsol and Aston Martin, creating connected experiences through branding, design, and technology. In her free time, she works on her passion for photographing architecture professionally.
“The Master in Branding at SVA was a life-changing experience for me. Coming from an architecture background, it really helped me adapt my analytic mindset to a new way of thinking to understand better the threads connecting culture, people, and brands.”
Aru Agarwal is an Associate Strategy Director on the Business Transformation team at R/GA. Aru has spent most of her career in brand and innovation strategy, helping global companies envision their future and craft relevant and empathetic products, services, and experiences. She is also the New York Chapter Lead for Women In Innovation, where she's on a mission to help close the gender gap in innovation.
"The SVA Masters in Branding Program provided the foundational tools that continue to help me unlock a deep understanding of the consumers, brands, and the business behind brands that I work with. Most importantly, it taught me essential problem-solving skills that I've been able to apply across a range of roles I've taken on and industries I've worked in, making it an invaluable investment in my career."
Veta Bates is Co-founder and Head of Strategy at Versus Studio, a creative studio in New York City. Her strategic insights have aided the ambitions of solopreneurs, small businesses, growth-stage companies, and nonprofits as well as Fortune 500 companies, including Google, The Walt Disney Company, Procter & Gamble, The Coca-Cola Company, General Mills, and Paramount Pictures. Veta is a volunteer teacher at NYU's Institute for Impact & Intrapreneurship, which aims to extend the privilege of an entrepreneurial vocabulary to people or places with less exposure and access. She is also a mentor and brand advisor for Restore NYC, whose mission is to end sex trafficking in New York and restore the well-being and independence of its survivors.
"The immersive and intimate nature of the SVA Masters in Branding program are two of its most intense and invaluable traits. I loved working so closely with professors, peers, and real-world clients, and am so grateful for the life-lasting bonds, which include my thesis-teammate turned business partner Saloni Soni ('14)."
Jenny is the Associate Creative Director at Britelite Immersive, a creative technology agency in San Francisco that is working to transform how brands engage with their audiences in the ever-evolving world of digital experience design. Throughout her 15-year career, she has developed award-winning print and digital experiences for ambitious brands, including Visa, Sutter Health, Audi, Amgen, Salesforce, Accenture, SAP, and more. Her work is defined by a dedication to cross-functional collaboration that results in emotionally impactful visual narratives and functional design systems built on emerging technology.
"The SVA Branding program taught me how to think. From how to discover a brand's essence to developing insight-based solutions that have a sense of belonging, my success since graduation is a direct result of these lessons in how to communicate value effectively combined with a healthy amount of experimentation and perseverance."
Alejandra Bellosta is the Marketing Director of a financial group in South America. She has developed their companies' visual strategies and respective platforms to enhance their customers' experience. She has also worked throughout her career with several companies, including Leo Burnett, Arc Worldwide, and McDonald's Corp.
"As a designer, the SVA Masters in Branding Program allowed me to understand the whole thinking behind brands. I learnt more about people, their desires and how they project them on services & products. By the end of that journey, I could develop more powerful ideas and translate them into meaningful design."
Sara is a Ph.D. researcher and independent strategist. In tandem with her doctoral studies in sustainable luxury at the Humboldt Universitat, she advises North American and European emerging and heritage brands. She also leads the brand development segment of the Hungarian Fashion & Design Agency’s incubation tank initiative, Central Europe’s largest fashion hub. She currently splits her time between Europe and the United States.
“The interdisciplinary approach to branding made me realize that culture and human behavior, two of my passions, can be applied in a business environment in a number of fresh and inventive ways.”
Salka Fernandez is a Director for Corporate Brand at Johnson & Johnson, an 82+ Billion dollar enterprise, the world's most broadly-based healthcare company. Salka is shaping the J&J Brand evolution and implementation across touchpoints, applying design thinking to solve the most complex organizational challenges. Before joining Johnson & Johnson, Salka worked for Nabisco, Procter & Gamble, Bayer, among others. She has been a recurrent guest lecturer at NYU Stern School, Rutgers, and SVA. A speaker at DMI and The conference board.
"I treasure meaningful connections made at the SVA Masters in Branding. SVA helped me to build a robust network of knowledge, resources, and talent, that I often leverage in significant ways."
Alison Ketchledge is an Account Director at Sterling, a branding and design agency in Manhattan. Throughout her career, Ali has led accounts for a diverse roster of clients, including The Hershey Company, Mastercard, L.L.Bean, Colgate Palmolive, and the Estee Lauder Companies. Prior to Sterling, Ali worked at a boutique luxury branding agency, And Partners, as well as in-house at Amalgamated.
"I can honestly say the SVA Masters in Branding program changed my life. Before being accepted into the program, I was on a different career path on the other side of the United States. This program gave me the opportunity, education, and confidence I needed to get where I am today. Everything about this experience was impactful, but the thing I carry with me most is the perspective I gained being around my classmates. The lifelong bond we formed during our time at SVA is priceless."
Alejandro is an associate creative director at Huge, where he leads projects for the Brand Strategy & Identity team. Additionally, he is the co-founder of Travel Trove, a planning platform with the goal of helping travelers go on their best trips. He has played a key role at several early stage startups including Away and Paddle8, where he led creative teams, helped define the brand, and created a unified consumer experience across digital and physical touch points.
"As a designer, the SVA Branding program was essential in helping me bring well-rounded and strategic thinking to my work. It provided me with the right tools to not only ask better questions, but become the bridge between what a brand stands for, and a compelling and unified consumer experience."
AJ Mekky is Senior Associate Director, Global Design at Bayer, a multinational enterprise with core competencies in the Life Science fields of health care and agriculture. Throughout his professional design journey, he has worked with numerous global brands, including Microsoft, Lufthansa, Air France, AT&T, Aspirin, Aleve, Coppertone, Dr. Scholl's, and more.
"For me, the SVA Masters in Branding program was a great platform that helped me refocus my design career from creating solutions in advertising and UX industries into a new approach of solving for holistic brand experience challenges. A great team of faculty and a fantastic group of classmates brought me a new robust network of mentors and best friends. In the end, I acquired new training, tools, frameworks, and methodologies that I now utilize every day in assessing and solving for various complex design and business problems."
Graham McMullin is an Associate Director of Strategy at Aruliden—a creative studio with expertise in strategy, brand design, and graphic design. Prior to his career in strategy, Graham worked as a scientist in clinical and research laboratories. His time in science allowed him to hone a methodical and iterative approach to problem-solving before his love for culture and interest in understanding people drew him to the Masters in Branding program at the School of Visual Arts. Today, he leads projects across a broad range of categories, helping brands like The Ritz-Carlton, BMW, and Verizon, among others, to create compelling consumer experiences.
“The Masters in Branding program was the perfect way for me to transition into the world of branding. It gave me an academic and professional understanding of the field, the practical skills I needed to get started, and a network of amazing friends and colleagues.”
Julián Puente is currently a Branding and Marketing Professor at EGADE – the Business School of leading Mexican University Tec de Monterrey. Throughout his professional career, Julián has had the opportunity to lead strategic work at various agencies, including Ogilvy, McCann, and DDB, for iconic global brands such as VW, McDonald's, Coca-Cola, Chevrolet, Nestlé & MARS. During his years at Interbrand, he contributed to building Mexican brands such us Cinépolis, Grupo Martí, Grupo Rotoplas, and Grupo Herdez. He was the Head of the Creative Shop at Facebook Mexico for the past 2.5 years, where he was able to join forces with creative agencies and tech partners to transform the digital creative ecosystem in Mexico.
"Studying at SVA and graduating from the MPS Branding Program was a tipping point in my career. I learned about culture and innovation through a different lens than I had ever experienced before, which changed some of my established opinions in marketing and branding. Being pushed out of my comfort zone gave me the will and energy to lead a group of strategists and students in Mexico who are making strides in how branding and planning are being approached in Mexico City today."
Saloni Soni is Co-founder and Head of Design at Versus Studio, a creative studio in New York City. She has developed high-concept, culturally relevant, and lasting designs for companies including PepsiCo, Unilever, Google, Constellation Brands, Newstand, and Banco San Juan International. Her strategic design work has also been recognized by Print Magazine, GDUSA, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and The World Brand Congress.
"The Masters in Branding program offered me fresh ways of seeing and making sense of the world around me, an invaluable skill I now apply to all aspects of life. It gave me a community – personal and professional – that inspired a business partnership with Veta Bates ('14), and led to nearly all the professional work I've done since the program."
Julia Vidigal is co-founder of Crudo, a brand consulting specialized in the Hospitality, Food & Beverage segment. She has helped local and international brands to understand the Brazilian market place and build meaningful experiences. Through research, strategic planning, and content, she has collaborated with retail brands, Michelin starred restaurants, and hotel chains, such as Fairmont and Inbev.
“My experience with the SVA Masters in Branding Program helped me amplify my vision on brands and their meanings. Moreover, I came to understand what our consuming habits say about us as a society and how cultural movements impact the way we buy and sell things/ideas. That gave me tools to approach challenges and clients differently in my workplace.”
Nourah Alammary is currently the Senior Manager of brand strategy at Banque Saudi Fransi in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, one of the oldest banks in the kingdom, as well as a singer-songwriter, and one of the first female Saudis to perform in public spaces consistently. She was tasked with leading the bank's rebrand and developing a strategy that cascaded to all the different functions, especially the culture. Since graduating, Nourah has worked on developing brand and creative strategies for government, semi-government, and social enterprise entities and projects. Through her music career, she hopes to influence change, giving more opportunities for young Saudis to pursue whatever passion they choose, far away from taboo and social pressures.
"The program taught me first about myself, through different projects, challenges, and a lot of self-reflection. It gave me the knowledge, tools, strength, and confidence to develop brands with an authentic narrative that is unique and simple, built on data and insights, to help direct the brand to the right business and communication decisions. Attending the SVA Masters in Branding program in New York was one of the best decisions I've ever made."
Archie Bell is SVP, Head of Content and Creative Development at One X Studios, the branded content division of Urban One, LLC. Throughout his career, he has worked at various advertising agencies and media companies, crafting vivid stories and authentically connecting brands and advertisers to culture.
"In my experience, the SVA Masters in Branding program was instrumental for two reasons. It gave me an opportunity to hone skill sets acquired throughout my career then find ways to connect them. Secondly, the program served as a platform for unique voices to be heard and recognized. Being able to immerse myself in a creatively academic environment guided by different cultural perspectives and strong points of view was refreshing, and it illuminated pathways that may not otherwise have been revealed."
Lary Bismuth is a Site Manager at Meet in Place, a chain designed to provide high tech rooms for meetings and conferences for a diverse set of clients. ‘Meeting matters’ being the startup mission, Lary oversees a team that caters to extensively various industries that book these rooms for their gatherings and helps them improve the productivity of their meetings.
“Getting my Masters in Branding degree at SVA was an opportunity for me to learn a great deal about branding, and how it fundamentally starts with people. That educational background has helped me in my current role as I interact with professionals from different principals, from those in the financial sector to the fashion industry, advocacy NGOs and diplomatic missions looking for a space to meet fellow diplomats. I continually need to adapt to a variety of work cultures and needs to provide the right framework for my clients. While working simultaneously on real-life projects, the program helped me develop my creative thinking and ability to think outside of the box to deliver a unique solution for each client.”
Tom Calabrese is a co-founder and product designer at Quill.org, an education technology non-profit. Quill.org's mission is to help all students become strong writers and critical thinkers. As of 2019, the website has positively impacted over 2.4 million students.
"For me, the most impactful part of the program was the people. I was fortunate enough in the program to have had two mentors who deeply influenced my career projection. Since graduating, most of my client work and jobs have been through connections from the program."
Kimberley Carey has worked for the past 14 years in the media/advertising industry, working on notable brands including Proctor & Gamble, Kimberly-Clark, Revlon, and many more. She recently moved to the west coast, where she is rebranding herself as a Software Engineer.
"The SVA Masters in Branding program challenged me to master the fundamentals required to develop effective strategies when building a brand and all things that come with it. The program helped to transform and further develop my critical thinking and problem-solving skills, which has been particularly beneficial in my roles in both the advertising and tech worlds."
David Carofano is a Senior Manager of Strategy & Innovation at Pure Grey (a division of Marriott International), a strategic hospitality design studio in Manhattan. Throughout his career, he has worked for some of the most innovative creative agencies in the world. He has helped some of the most innovative companies, including Virgin, IBM, GE, Marriott, Pernot Ricard, InterContinental Hotels, Crowne Plaza Hotels, AC Hotels, Illumination Entertainment, Target, and more.
"During my time with the SVA Masters in Branding program, I was exposed to so many real-world experiences, working with real clients, and seeing the process of innovation come to life. Over the course of one year in the program, I grew and learned more than any other year of my professional career. It was eye-opening and life-changing, an experience for which I will forever be grateful.
Andy McGrath is currently SVP of Marketing at Sony Music Entertainment in New York City and has a long history in cultural marketing throughout his various roles in artist management, recorded music, and brand marketing agencies. Throughout his career, he has worked alongside many of the most recognizable artists and brands, including Coca-Cola, Radiohead, Converse, Paul McCartney, Sonos, Gorillaz, YouTube, Bob Dylan, and many more.
"During my time at the SVA Masters in Branding program, I learned a great number of invaluable skills that I apply in my 'marketing life' every day. The program also taught me quite a lot about myself, my motivations, and how I might shape the future of my career. It was challenging on many levels but in the absolute best way possible."
Randy Gregory is a Senior Design Strategist at IBM Watson Health on a team located in Austin, Texas. During his career, he has worked on many projects and focus areas, including healthcare, artificial intelligence technologies, cloud systems, mobile applications, design thinking facilitation, large brands, non-profits, small businesses, city infrastructure projects, and propelling design communities.
"The Masters in Branding program taught me how to intertwine many skills and frameworks together, which provided me with an invaluable set of tools and experiences to lean upon, which makes me valuable enough for any project. In the global world of IBM, my ability to think in more distinct ways about our challenges, assumptions, and radically develop empathy for my users & my colleagues has propelled my career to heights I previously thought unachievable."
Lauren Martiello is a lead conceptor at M Booth, a creative agency in Manhattan. She uncovers valuable insights and finds the tension in culture, both of which serve as the strategic building blocks for her to come up with a compelling narrative and new, big ideas that underscore her client's business goals.
"I left the SVA Masters in Branding program with an arsenal of knowledge, but the most valuable thing I learned was how to identify cultural patterns, determine what those patterns said about the consumer, and use those consumer insights to come up with meaningful brand work."
Jeremy Miller is a Senior Designer on the creative team at Landor's New York office, a global brand consultancy firm that has built iconic brands such as FedEx and Levi's. His role focuses on conceptualizing ideas based on the design strategy and creative briefs. Throughout his career, he's had the opportunity to work with both small studios and large agencies for a variety of clients, including Credit Suisse, Bombardier, and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
"As a designer, the Masters in Branding program was and is helpful in my creative process in providing me with tools to be better equipped to build brands and to gain a better understanding of the foundational strategy work that takes place before visualizing an identity or touchpoint. "
Karen Morvan is the Senior Digital Marketing Manager at Stuller, Inc., North America's largest manufacturer and distributor of fine jewelry, located in Lafayette, Louisiana. Throughout her career, she has led B2B and B2C marketing teams in the healthcare, entertainment, and luxury goods industries.
"The SVA Masters in Branding program gave me the tools and confidence to approach problems both creatively and analytically. The ability to translate between these two disparate worlds has been an invaluable asset that continues to open doors for me that I never imagined possible."
Dan Onufrishyn is a Senior Designer / Art Director at JP Morgan Chase & Co., where he is a part of the creative team within brand marketing. Before JP Morgan Chase & Co., he worked at ESPN for five years and has been freelancing for Fortune 500 companies and agencies on the side. Throughout his career, he produced work for notable clients such as Amazon, Bank of Cardiff, Ford, Intenze Tattoo Ink, Paramount Pictures, Pauseforthought, Statefarm, Toyota, Walmart, and YouTube.
"The SVA Masters in Branding program has taught me many ways of approaching brand and design problems; these frameworks for creative problem solving are truly priceless. The coolest part is piecing different processes together into your own unique framework, and pressure testing it through the thesis project."
Christina Bou Raad is the Design Director at TMRW, a software company revolutionizing the IVF medical industry. Previously, she worked with New York-based boutique design agencies, where she collaborated with a team of design and tech experts to develop advanced solutions for clients such as Brookfield, MoMA, and CVS.
"The SVA Masters in Branding program helped to complement and strengthen my background in graphic design and strategic thinking."
Tyler Smith is an associate creative director at SOS, a brand intelligence agency based in Toronto. He has worked in branding and design for over a decade and has worked on brands ranging from local startups to global powerhouses like Nike, Reebok, Mini, and Porsche.
"My time in the Masters in Branding program changed every aspect of my life. Not a day has passed where I have not been influenced by the learnings I gathered at SVA - both professionally and personally. I was introduced not only to some of the most prolific minds in the industry, but ultimately to the way that they thought about meaning making and our role in the world as builders of brands."
Amy Speck is a senior brand and social impact strategist at BBMG, an agency in Dumbo, Brooklyn. She works with purpose-driven businesses, non-profits, and foundations to tell the story of why and how they exist to serve society better. She has worked across industries, with local, national, and international organizations such as Burton, the Ford Foundation, Brooklyn Greenway Initiative, Willow, and Nespresso.
"The SVA Masters in Branding program introduced me to the power of a brand to hold stories from the past, reflect, and shape culture. By studying a multitude of disciplines from professors with different backgrounds and perspectives, I learned about the interplay between brand, business, and design and how to optimize these relationships."
Greg Tatum is a Creative Director at Wasserman, a sports marketing and talent management company. With a proven track record of creative problem solving, he has worked on a variety of brands, including American Express, Nike, Coca-Cola, Burger King, Proximo Spirits, Bayer, and Wells Fargo.
"The SVA Masters in Branding program gave me the confidence to tackle the most daunting of challenges for brands. I learned how to reapproach not only the way I think creatively but also how I analyze a problem from a critical business perspective."
Catalina Torres is a Lead Product Designer at Crossover Health, a next-generation healthcare organization that uses a membership-based approach and technology to fundamentally change the way health care is practiced, delivered, and experienced. Before Crossover, Catalina was a Product Design Director at Grubhub, the online food delivery market leader where she was responsible for the design and content strategy of consumer apps (iOS, Android, responsive web). Before Grubhub, Catalina was the Cofounder of Viking Lab, a nimble interaction design studio that supported multiple startups and established companies within the healthcare industry.
"My experience at the SVA Masters in Branding program gave me a new and broad business vocabulary, which turned out to be an incredible complementary skill to my previous design training. I gained the confidence to manage ups and downs, and I felt more prepared to take a "seat at the table." I'm convinced that my SVA education opened the doors to the leadership roles I've been able to take on since I graduated."
Shantie Villada is an Associate Director at MRM//McCann, the world's leading ad and marketing agency. Throughout his career, he has worked with global brands like IBM, Google, Microsoft, ADT, Honeywell, American Express, as well as a roster of startups in the U.S., Mexico City, and Spain.
"During my time with the SVA Masters in Branding program, I learned how to approach culture from a strategic perspective. Understanding the nuances in the world around us and create work that helps brands become part of the popular culture across the world and connect with consumers in their daily lives."
In loving memory of Lauren Zaleski, our remarkable student, and alumni. She was a born and raised New York City native – a woman after our own heart. We are forever grateful to have known you, taught you, and call you part of our branding tribe.
Martin Batt is the founder of The Creators Club, a strategic design studio based in London and New York City. He has worked with several clients within the fintech space such as UBS and Draper Esprit to CrowdWorks, where he is now a Partner and acting CMO. CrowdWorks is a digital platform that helps the investment ecosystem to meet, invest, and co-create value.
"The SVA Masters in Branding program opened my eyes to see the world through the lens of trends and cultural manifestations, enabling me to focus on projects that are deeply in tune with human emotions and behaviors. And it gave me the frameworks and confidence to develop strategies that are out to change the world and our experiences of it."
Chris is a co-founder and strategist at Goal, a branding practice based in Utah. With experience working both brand-side and in consulting roles in the technology and consumer packaged goods industries, his clients include Johnson & Johnson, Google, software startups, and e-commerce businesses. Chris also teaches as an adjunct lecturer at Brigham Young University.
"The SVA Masters in Branding faculty all bring to their courses a palpable enthusiasm for solving difficult problems. I left the program confident that with disciplined thinking and a bit of curiosity, there's no limit to the impact one can have in the field of branding."
Billy Burke is an entrepreneur, lawyer, creative strategist, marketing specialist, author, and content producer. Throughout his career, Billy has launched companies, helped build compelling brands, authored a book on street culture, directed an award-winning documentary as well as created, directed, and produced television series on topics ranging from hip-hop music to tattoo culture. Billy holds a J.D. and a Masters in Branding.
"During my time with the SVA Masters in Branding program, I was taught valuable frameworks and strategies that help me build and manage compelling brands. However, the most important thing I gained was a network of incredible branding alumni and faculty that I still work with today."
Tricia DelGaudio s a Senior Marketing Manager, leading lifecycle marketing at Intuit. Prior to her current role, she was a Strategy Director at Epsilon SF, leading the Google Home account for three years. Her work for Google won a 2018 Silver ADDY Award (AAF), 2018 Horizon Interactive Gold Award and 2018 DMN Award for the exemplary and innovative use of data, strategy, and technology in pursuit of marketing excellence. In 2019 she presented at the MarTech Conference on marketing in the age of voice assistants.
"Reflecting on my time in the SVA Masters in Branding program, the greatest skill I gained and still use today, was a differentiated approach to problem-solving. It's the superpower all my MBA colleagues wish they had."
Raquel Martinez is a Customer Experience and Digital Transformation Consultant, working with several global nonprofits in New York. Raquel's mission is to grow the impact and footprint of women in technology. She also produces Brandstand a free, public event to dissect, debate, and discuss a timely topic 'on the stand,' the flagship event of the SVA Masters in Branding Alumni Network.
"The SVA Masters in Branding program helped me develop a new mindset. All the classes reinforced the discipline of understanding the challenge at hand and its context, to then make the right connections between insights, ideas, and tactics to create a relevant solution that will affect behavior, and make impressions. The faculty helped me galvanize my intuition and imagination to become intentional and strategic in my work and life."
Anna Paskow is the Director of People & Culture at theSkimm, a news company focused on millennial women. With over ten years of expertise in internal branding, employee experience, and community building, her mission is to empower employees to do their best work at a company they love.
"The Masters in Branding program forced me to push myself in every way possible. Over the course of a year, I learned a tremendous amount about myself and left the program with newfound confidence, point of view, and passion for internal branding and culture building."
Hansel Perez has worked as a creative professional at Bloomberg LP for over a decade. He currently works in the marketing department on the video production team. He creates videos for financial products, global events, and all brand level communication. Hansel is an active participant in Bloomberg's Diversity and Inclusion programs. He serves on the leadership board for the Bloomberg Latinx Community.
"While earning my Masters in Branding at SVA, I developed a passion for public speaking and communication. This has served me well at Bloomberg where giving presentations is key to selling ideas. Through practice and honest peer and professor feedback, I lost my fear and gained confidence that carried into all areas of my life."
Payal Shah is an Associate Strategy Director at Interbrand, Mumbai. Throughout her career, she has worked with several brands, including Seagrams Gin, Colgate Palmolive, Unilever, Hilton and Godrej Group of Industries, and more. A firm believer in passionate side projects, she is the Organizer of CreativeMornings Mumbai Chapter and a Brand Mentor at Ecole Intuit-Lab.
"During my time with the SVA Masters in Branding program, I was taught to use a wide range of valuable frameworks that opened up a new world of branding for me. I was exposed to multiple real-work client projects that helped me hone my skills and the learnings. Over the life of the program, we were trained how to approach challenges from the root cause, to look beyond the obvious solutions and challenge the status quo for a deeper and a meaningful impact."
May Shek is head of design & insights at Luminary Labs, where she helps organizations design better futures. She leads teams through human-centered research to translate insights into design opportunities, systems, and experiences for public and private sector clients.
Having lived and worked in New York, Hong Kong, and Europe, May applies a multicultural lens to uncover deep human needs — from conducting ethnography interviews and collecting in-field observations to leading co-creation workshops. Before joining Luminary Labs, May was a senior strategist at Siegel+Gale, where she wrangled multidisciplinary teams to tackle complex problems — from reimagining the future of health for CVS Health to rethinking the financial wellness of freelancers with Fidelity Labs. Advocating for diversity and gender equality is an integral part of May's work. She is part of the leadership team for Women In Innovation and founded The Take A Stand Project, a nonprofit collective of designers."
Marla Stough is the Creative Director at Erno Laszlo, a luxury skincare brand focused on efficacy and its 90+ year heritage. She has over 14 years of experience developing creative work in the beauty industry, with roles at Amorepacific, Revlon and Almay.
"The SVA Masters in Branding program taught me how to approach a problem from all angles using thoughtful but innovative methods. I was able to learn not only from the esteemed faculty but from my fellow students, all hailing from different industries. I saw an immediate improvement in my creative & thought processes and developed a more impactful way of clarifying and presenting my ideas. The program completely changed how I thought about my projects & career and the immense rewards of a curious mindset."
Pablo Ulpiano is an account executive, creative director, and faculty member. He currently works at Johnson & Johnson Design, where he helps to build and drive innovation into some of the world's most beloved brands (Jonhsons, Aveeno, Band-Aid, Listerine) being the bridge and the strategic liaison between the business partners and the design team. In the past, Pablo worked with startups, multinational companies, and government agencies across industries ranging from healthcare to financial services to luxury retail. His clients include S&P Global, BlackBerry, DirecTV, Philips Design, and Colgate-Palmolive. He has also been a branding & design consultant for firms such as The & Partnership, Sudler & Hennessey - Y&R, Red Antler, Intellectual Capital Investments, and Elmwood.
"The Masters in Branding program helped me to acquire the practical knowledge and understanding of business and people needed to help brands and enterprises find purpose in creating positive value for a better world."
Margaux Aristhène is a Senior Brand Marketing and Brand Strategy expert, specializing in the hospitality industry. Before starting her consultancy, she worked for Hilton Worldwide, where she led the global identity update of Hilton Hotels & Resorts. She also worked on the positioning and identity of a new hotel brand 'Signia Hilton’ and led the development of many advertising campaigns across EMEA and the Americas. Throughout her career, her experience has ranged from agency to client work, small hospitality groups, up to the largest hospitality company in the world, leading local to global projects covering up to 37 languages. Other brands she has worked with include Curio Collection, DoubleTree by Hilton, Yotel, 8Hotels, Viceroy Hotel Group, Andre Balazs Properties, and Morgans Hotel Group.
"My professional journey would have never been the same without enrolling in the Master in Branding program. It has led to more opportunities and gave me the confidence and credibility needed to have a seat at the table early in my career. Learning to connect the creative and the strategic side of a brand gave me a competitive edge that other traditional marketing programs did not offer."
Noah Armstrong is a creative director at VSA Partners in Chicago, where he's part of the Google team. Since graduating from the Masters in Branding program, he's contributed strategy and design work to studios like Sterling Brands and Firebelly and spent four years in the music business working with the management of artists like The xx, Spoon, Major Lazer, and Zedd.
"The Masters in Branding program taught me to think about and frame my work in ways that have been applicable across so many different types of clients and projects. Just about every career opportunity can be traced back to the program. Each class and faculty member was truly fascinating, and to top it off, I met people that, ten years later, are still some of my most loved friends."
Lee Changzhi is the Global Creative Lead of Events and Live Experiences at ZS Associates, a management consulting firm with 22 offices worldwide. He is currently based in the New York office. Throughout his career he has helped brands articulate their voice through experiential methodologies, be it a launch of a new product, a staging of a test drive, or in his most recent role, the development of training sessions, team building events, innovative workshops and summits to help clients articulate or solve for a business problem.
His projects over the last ten years have included illustrious events for brands such as TIME Magazine, Microsoft, the Walt Disney Company, ABC Family, ESPN, Nespresso, Equinox Fitness Clubs, Qantas Airways, Intel, Blackberry, Volkswagen Australia, P&G's SK-II, the London 2012 Olympic Games and the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.
"During my time in the SVA Masters in Branding program, I most valued the interactions between students and faculty who were at the top of their field. Being part of the inaugural class of 2011 was an exhilarating experience as we had the opportunity to interact with some of the most well known designers, strategists and practitioners in the industry. We helped shape the curriculum and chart the course of where no one had gone before. I learned to take risks, try new things, and develop my own methodologies that have shaped my career since."
Sascha Donn is the Global Head of Employer Brand at BlackRock, the world’s largest investment manager. Prior to joining BlackRock, Sascha worked for brand engagement firms Sullivan and Straightline, where she led brand and marketing projects for clients, including Brown University, Cornell University, JP Morgan Chase, Shutterstock, Twitter, Alphabet, and Walgreens, among others. In her free time, Sascha is the Global Finance Lead for WIN: Women in Innovation, a nonprofit on a mission to close the gender gap in innovation. She is also on the board of Mothership, a nonprofit dedicated to increasing access to high-quality health information and resources for families.
“As part of the inaugural Masters in Branding class, I helped beta test the first iteration of the program. The most valuable things I gained from the program were an introduction to trend forecasting, an exploration of personality archetypes, and the stamina to tackle full-time work with full-time studies.”
Taryn Espinosa is a Senior Art Director at Muse 10, a creative agency where she works on strategic design direction for Billboard, MRC, The Hollywood Reporter, and more. Throughout her career, she has worked with several brands, including Alo Yoga, Barry's Bootcamp, Bloomingdale's, and Saatchi Art.
"During my time in the Masters in Branding program, I was taught how to research and understand brands from the inside out; to help come up with thoughtful, strategic, and forward-thinking design solutions. We worked on real-world projects that informed me of how the inner-workings of everyday projects are really created. This practice helped to build my understanding of what steps and frameworks are needed to come up with on-brand design solutions. I graduated with a network of thinkers who are always there to bounce branding ideas off of when needed."
Rebecca Etter is a Global Marketing Director at Grupo Bimbo, a Mexican multinational bakery product manufacturing company headquartered in Mexico City, Mexico. It is the world’s largest baking company, and it operates in 32 countries. Throughout her career, she has also worked at The Hershey Company, Diageo, Interbrand, Landor, and Conde Nast Publications.
“The program fosters conversation. We always had input from our cohorts, professors, and guest lecturers. Perhaps the greatest asset of the program is how it embraces different worldviews and ways of working in order to teach its students a truly empathetic approach to branding. This grounding has helped me in all group dynamics, professionally and personally, locally and abroad.”
Brian Gaffney is a New York City-based consulting leader within PriceWaterhouseCoopers’ (PwC) Advisory Practice and customer competency. Throughout his career, client-side, and consulting, Brian has occupied various consumer marketing and brand roles - in strategy and operations - with a focus on the entertainment and media sector. Outside of his professional services work, Brian, who quietly aspires to become the Chief Customer Officer (CCO) for the specialty coffee industry, works to more directly and meaningfully connect coffee producers to their end consumers.
“The beauty of my time at the Masters in Branding program is that I began as the ‘odd one out.’ Whereas the majority of my classmates were designers looking to better understand and engage with business strategy, I was the business person who wanted to learn more about the creative process and practice being a better partner to my designer colleagues. During my year in the program, I learned to think like a designer, to invite creative insight into the conversation as early as possible, and to use storytelling to drive the solution narrative effectively, be it qualitative or quantitative. Now, I work to employ a disciplined creative approach to every problem that I’m afforded the opportunity to solve.”
Jessie McGuire is the Managing Director at ThoughtMatter, a strategic branding and design studio committed to Work Worth Doing. Jessie has been integral to shaping the purpose and vision of ThoughtMatter while spearheading creative projects that raise awareness for and drive change within communities, start-ups, non-profits, and cultural institutions. She has managed global design projects for brands owned by P&G, Kimberly Clark, and Colgate-Palmolive, as well as local initiatives in New York City’s Lincoln Square, Lower East Side, Long Island City, and Downtown Staten Island. Jessie also serves as a board member at AIGA NY. A passionate advocate for design’s role in the age of distrust, she is committed to advancing social equity both on and off stage.
“I was in the inaugural class of the SVA Masters in Branding Program, and it changed my life. The program gave me the confidence to challenge the notion of branding – what is it, who does it, does it matter, will it make a difference? Brands should unite people behind ideas, to create a feeling of community and elevate the dialogue around important issues for the betterment of society. Today I believe that branding has the responsibility to lead conversations that spark change – that’s why I am thankful for an entire Masters level program dedicated to its practice.”
Maxine Gurevich is Vice President of Insights + Strategy at the digital agency VaynerMedia where she leads cultural trend studies, social platform analytics analysis, brand positioning workshops, and digital content strategy plans. Her client roster spans across global brands in developed and developing markets, including PepsiCo EMEA, Ponds Southeast Asia, Dove, L’Occitane, Mondelez, The Shed, Calvin Klein, Brazil Tourism Board, among others.
“The Masters in Branding program quite simply taught me how to think, not just about brand experiences and how to define them, but about the context in which they live, the importance of surrounding narratives, human choices, and behaviors.”
Tim Harms is the Creative Director of Global Branding at Hewlett Packard Enterprise.
"As a graduate of the inaugural class for the SVA Masters in Branding program, I wasn't exactly sure what to expect. Both students and faculty threw all their time and energy into making it a success. The opportunities to work with and learn from top leaders in branding, technology, design, and strategy is an impressive list and too long to mention here. But the close relationships made between all of our classmates and the faculty is what I will remember most."
Abby McInerney is a Senior Creative Director at Amazon’s audio entertainment company, Audible. She leads strategic brand initiatives across the customer experience sitting at the intersection of Marketing and Product Development. Before this, she spent a decade at Time Inc. building the enterprise brand, articulating their transformation story, and working with iconic brands such as Time, Sports Illustrated, and People.
“For me, it had been a while since I had been in school. The rigor and immersive nature of the program made it easy to jump back in and really hone my critical thinking, develop valuable presentation skills, integrate cultural trends, and above all, own my voice and perspective. Bringing my lens to the tools and frameworks has helped me define a purposeful place in the work I do.”
Kathryn Spitzberg Johnson is a partner at Big Squirrel, a boutique consultancy that helps brands and businesses navigate disruptive cultural currents by gaining a deeper understanding of how people think, feel, and act. Whether it’s uncovering the deepest values that connect unique “tribes” of people or examining the nuances that make us individuals, Kathryn has helped a diverse range of brands and clients take confident steps to create a meaningful impact in an ever-changing world. Her most recent work includes helping PepsiCo understand what it means to be a foodie across the globe and examining the modern woman for Stacy’s Pita Chips. She assisted in creating a meaningful space in a saturated ice cream market for Steve's Ice Cream, as well as analyzing and reimagining the retail experience for HanesBrands.
"The Masters in Branding Program taught me that to understand how to solve brand and business problems, you must understand people – what influences us, what drives our behaviors, and what motivates our decisions. Having a deeper understanding of the universal truths that make us human and connect us is what enables brands and companies to thrive in an ever-changing world."
Zach Lynd currently serves as President of De ELLA Mezcal, a pure plant-spirit company that is reimagining the world of spirits. Previously Lynd was a co-founder of creative consulting studio Kizmet, where he directed large global initiatives for a portfolio of luxury clients, including Estée Lauder Group, Moet Hennessey, Luxottica, Faena Hotels, and Chanel. His work designing award-winning restaurants and retail experiences, creating and launching new products, brought Lynd notoriety across industry and features in Vogue, Architectural Digest, and Departures Magazine.
“The SVA Masters in Branding program is a metamorphosis, one in which you enter knowing everything and graduate confidently confused about the world at large. Broken open, clumsy with knowledge and trained by the best, one leaves with all the questions and advantages necessary to take on the big, prescient challenges of our times."
Jeremy DiPaolo is the founder of Nomscape, a creative strategy consultancy for the food, beverage and hospitality industries, and Chief Gelato Officer for Mjuk Mjuk, Nomscape’s premium gelato brand in Scandinavia. He was a founding member of the PepsiCo Design & Innovation team, helping secure a Red Dot award in 2014 for Client of the Year. His work spans five continents and has built lasting value for companies such as Dineequity, American Airlines, Skyy-Campari, Kimberly-Clark, P&G, Unilever, Target, Walmart and CVS Health, and has been covered by Harvard Business Review, Vogue, The Atlantic, The New York Times, Fast Company and Bloomberg Businessweek, among others.
“Even ten years later, the breadth of study, the thinking, the conversations that took place during the Masters in Branding program are foundations on which I still rely on in my work today.”
Mo Saad is currently based in Singapore as Creative Director at Landor, the world’s largest brand consultancy, where he leads an extensive P&G portfolio and works with diverse corporate clients across South East Asia. His career saw him work with Novartis, Merck, and Genentech in New York City; he later worked between Saudi Arabia and the UAE with clients like Dubai Opera, Emaar Hospitality, and Saudi Telecom. Mo is also the founder and president of AIGA Middle East, the first international chapter.
“My time at the SVA Masters in Branding program was one of the most cherished milestones of my life and career. Being part of the first batch of graduates brought challenges and risks, all of which taught me the value of teamwork and were invaluable learning moments in themselves. Learning to see brands through a more ‘human’ lens and understanding the psychology and behaviors behind why we buy what we buy has shaped every aspect of my life and career since.”
Natasha Schmahl is the Chief (Brand & Business) Architect of KlimaHelden, a Munich-based start-up, empowering businesses to easily take action for the environment. Before co-founding the start-up with her husband, she helped some of the largest corporations in Thailand with their brand strategy, and many corporations in Europe, such as Lufthansa, Royal Bank of Scotland, and UBS, with their human-centric innovation.
“The Masters in Branding program taught me the importance of, and allowed me to gain expertise in, creating holistic and consistent brand experiences. I also learned how to design products, services, and experiences that are truly human-centric. This knowledge truly allowed me to pivot my career from visual design into strategic brand and innovation design, which is a lot more meaningful to me. For this, I am very grateful to the branding program.”
Dan Onufrishyn '13
JP Morgan Chase & Co., Senior Designer / Art Director
Jennifer Passas '15
Gensler, Strategy Director
Steph Millar '17
Hershey, In House Creative
Nourah Alammary '13
Banque Saudi Fransi, Senior Manager of Brand Strategy
Aru Agarwal '14
R/GA, Associate Strategy Director
Corin Camenisch '16
Pathfinder, Senior Product Marketing Manager
Jui Khopkar '15
SpotCo, Associate Director of Insights & Strategy
Archie Bell '13
One X Studios, SVP & Head of Content and Creative Development
Veta Bates '14
Versus Studio, Co-founder & Head of Strategy
Cj Draper '16
Pearlfisher, Design Director
Philippe Ostiguy '15
Exposure, Brand and Creative Strategist
Maria Sanoja '16
5 Hormigas Caribe, Designer & Lead Strategist
Michelle Poler '15
Hello Fears, Founder
Randy Gregory '13
IBM Watson Health, Senior Design Strategist
Alison Ketchledge '14
Sterling, Account Director
Sophie Steinmeyer '16
Adidas Runners, Strategist
Sophie Steinmeyer is currently a Strategist for "Adidas Runners" global at act.3, a brand activation and strategy agency located in Berlin, Germany. After finishing the SVA Branding program, Sophie first interned at Graj + Gustavsen, a branding and design agency for Fortune 500 Companies, and then was hired as the Brand Manager for Marlo Laz, a fine jewelry brand based in New York City. Since relocating to Germany in 2019, she has been working on global brand strategy, management, and concept development for "adidas Runners," a worldwide running and brand community by adidas.
Lana Ugurtas '15
Momentum, Senior Strategist
Janavi Kothari '13
Brand Tonyc, Brand Strategist & Designer
Janavi Kothari is an independent brand strategist and designer based in Toronto. She started her practice, Brand Tonyc, to create holistic brand strategies and design experiences for clients who are in industries such as fintech, food and beverage, cannabis, and more. She is also an Instructor of UX and UI design at Brainstation, a leading digital education school in North America.
Alejandro Largo '14
Huge, Associate Creative Director
Andy McGrath '13
Sony Music Entertainment, SVP
Andy McGrath is currently the SVP of Marketing at Sony Music Entertainment in New York City and has a long history in cultural marketing throughout his various roles in artist management, recorded music, and brand marketing agencies. Throughout his career, he has worked alongside many of the most recognizable artists and brands, including Coca-Cola, Radiohead, Converse, Paul McCartney, Sonos, Gorillaz, YouTube, Bob Dylan, and many more.
Lauren Martiello '13
M Booth, Lead Conceptor
Montse Zamorano '15
Accenture Interactive, Design Strategist Consultant
Tom Calabrese '13
Quill.org, Co-Founder and Product Designer
Jenny Beatty '14
Britelite Immersive, Associate Creative Director
Anna-Rae Morris '16
TRIPTK, Design Strategist
Jeremy Miller '13
Landor, Senior Designer
AJ Mekky '14
Bayer; Senior Associate Director, Global Design
Marla Stough '12
Erno Laszlo, Creative Director
Karen Morvan '13
Stuller, Senior Digital Marketing Manager
Julian Puente '14
EGADE, Branding and Marketing Professor
Saloni Soni '14
Versus Studio, Co-Founder & Head of Design
Julia Vidigal '14
Christina Bou Raad '13
TMRW, Design Director
Abby McInerney '11
Amazon Audible, Senior Creative Director
Tyler Smith '13
SOS, Associate Creative Director
Kathryn Spitzberg Johnson '11
Big Squirrel, Partner
Amy Speck '13
BBMG, Senior Brand & Social Impact Strategist
Zach Lynd '11
De ELLA Mezcal, President
Greg Tatum '13
Wasserman, Creative Director
Jeremy Dipaolo '11
Surabhi Rathi '18
Tether, Brand Strategist
Catalina Torres '13
Crossover Health, Lead Product Designer
Mo Saad '11
Landor, Creative Director
Shantie Villada '13
MRM//McCann, Associate Director
Natasha Schmahl '11
KlimaHelden, Chief Architect
Christine Shin '18
Roxanne Assoulin, Designer
Jess Spataro '18
Studio Eagle, Brand Director & Strategist Lead
The Brand Director & Strategist Lead at Studio Eagle, award-winning workplace design and delivery firm, Jess Spataro works with her team of creatives to redefine the workplace. From leading strategic processes and research for Studio Eagle's clients to managing the direction of the company's brand, Jess continues to immerse herself in discovery to offer insight and bring to life branding in the built environment.
Carina Sandoval '18
Champions Design, Strategy Lead
Katherine Burke '19
Sandblast Productions, Creative Director
Malavika Rao '19
Razorfish, Director of Brand & Consumer Strategy
Josee Nakhle '18
UNICEF, Visual Communicator
Melinda Welch 17
Brand Bureau, Co-Director of the Strategy
Khushbu Bagaria '18
Wishbox, Founder & Managing Director
Memoli Ward '17
M.Gemi, Senior Interactive Designer
Camila Lisboa '18
Facebook, Global Business Marketer
Richard Vassilatos '17
Ayzenberg, Associate Director of Strategy
Derek Lee '18
Murmuration, Design Manager
Allison Mussoline '17
Ranch Rider Spirits Co, Brand Director
Tim Harms '11
Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Creative Director of Global Branding
Tim Harms is the Creative Director of Global Branding at Hewlett Packard Enterprise.
Phillip Lauria '18
Thought Matter, Senior Strategist
Fabian Amaru Muenala '17
Alter-Native, Co-Founder & Owner
Maxine Gurevich '11
VaynerMedia, Vice President of Insights & Strategy
Michelle Kwiatkowski '18
Prudential, Art Director
Hannah Mowrey '17
Grin, Designer & Brand Builder
Jessie McGuire '11
ThoughtMatter, Managing Director
Cheryl Johnson '18
FutureBrand, New Business Manager
Farida Leheta '17
The Brand Company, Brand Strategist
Hansel Perez '12
Bloomberg LP, Creative Professional
Brian Gaffney '11
(PwC) Advisory Practice, Consulting Leader
Miguèle Issa '18
Katie Kravit '17
Ugly Wolf, Creative Director and Co-Founder
Sakhi Todi '19
The Ricciardi Group, Client Strategy
Anna Paskow '12
theSkimm, Director of People & Culture
Rebecca Etter '11
Grupo Bimbo, Global Marketing Director
Jenna Halbert '18
Reddit, Brand Strategist
The Narration, Founder
Theresa Brondholt Sorensen '19
Wolff Olins, Strategist
Raquel Martinez '12
Customer Experience & Digital Transformation Consultant
Sascha Donn '2011
BlackRock, Global Head of Employer Brand
Gena Cuba '14
Nucleus, Partner & Creative Director
Carlos Fuentes '18
GrupoMarca, Director of Strategy & Founder
Carlos Fuentes is the Director of Strategy and Founder of a new strategic business studio based in Santiago called GrupoMarca, He's also the Founder of the twelve years old Branding Company, Panda. Throughout his career, he has worked with several brands, including New Balance, Sony, Principal, DeLonghi, Topshop, and some of the greatest Latin American Retail Brands. He defines himself as an entrepreneur, that's the reason why he is not only working for clients on these companies. He is also developing new business ideas all the time.
Shayla Hunter '17
Egg Strategy, Strategist
Charmie Shah '19
Jones Knowles Ritchie, Designer
Tricia DelGaudio '12
Intuit, Senior Marketing Manager
Tricia DelGaudio is a Senior Marketing Manager, leading lifecycle marketing at Intuit. Prior to her current role, she was a Strategy Director at Epsilon SF, leading the Google Home account for three years. Her work for Google won a 2018 Silver ADDY Award (AAF), 2018 Horizon Interactive Gold Award and 2018 DMN Award for the exemplary and innovative use of data, strategy, and technology in pursuit of marketing excellence. In 2019 she presented at the MarTech Conference on marketing in the age of voice assistants.
Lee Changzhi '11
ZS Associates, Global Creative Lead of Events & Live Experiences
Kristina Ermolenko '18
HeatWork AS, Design Strategist
Shivani Gorle '17
ThoughtMatter, Cultural Strategist
McCann Erickson, Strategic Planner
Chris Crosby '12
Goal, Co-Founder & Strategist
Chris Crosby is a co-founder and strategist at Goal, a branding practice based in Utah. With experience working both brand-side and in consulting roles in the technology and consumer packaged goods industries, his clients include Johnson & Johnson, Google, software startups, and e-commerce businesses. Chris also teaches as an adjunct lecturer at Brigham Young University.
Noah Armstrong '11
VSA Partners, Creative Director
Ina Dimitrova '18
BX Brand Experience Design Group, Design Director
Carter Bird '17
Gretel, Senior Strategist
Talia Evans '19
Martin Batt '12
The Creators Club, Founder
Margaux Aristhène '11
Senior Brand Marketer & Strategist
Tara Chen '18
Blue Kiwi, Co-Founder and Brand Strategy Lead
Rosario Belli '17
PepsiCo, Innovation Insights Senior Manager
Sneha Keshav '15
Google, Brand Product Designer
Roberta Cajado '19
Nucleus, Senior Strategist
Natalia Bednarek '16
After finishing the Branding program, Natalia got an internship at Sterling Brands which turned into a full-time position. After two years of working in the branding and design industry, Natalia started a skincare brand with her grandmother, HERLA (@herlabeauty). Her brand recently launched at Macys.com and is launching in Soft Surroundings stores this spring.
About Herla Beauty: Herla is known for its ability to help women reduce an overdependence on makeup by nurturing healthy and great looking skin. The company was founded by Natalia Bednarek and her grandmother Krystyna with the purpose of spanning the age gap in skincare. Herla offers a full line of PETA approved, clean and natural skincare products in three categories: Gold Supreme, Damask Rose and Kakadu Plum. To learn more about HERLA visit herlabeauty.com.
Kelsy Postlethwait '18
Britelite Immersive, Creative Strategist
Shaz Bhola '16
Nucleus, Strategist & Designer
Shaz Bhola works as a strategist and designer for Nucleus with her colleagues–also all Masters in Branding alumni or faculty. Nucleus brings marketers, designers, and behavioral specialists together to advance business strategy and social impact. Shaz works on a wide variety of projects in both spaces, from hair wellness to stationery to nuclear non-proliferation.
Ryan Bone '18
AKQA, Senior Interactive Designer
Purva Sawant '15
UNDP, Digital Product Designer
Kejal Macdonald '15
Zuzu Digital, Co-Founder
Courses take place in the evenings from 6:30pm–9pm, Monday through Friday. We also have a Saturday course that meets five times during both the Fall and Spring Semester, once per month. The program starts in September with the Fall semester and concludes in July after the Summer Semester.
No. Candidates should be curious and dedicated to understanding the business of branding, marketing, and design.
Yes. This program has been designed for working professionals, and a majority of our students work full-time.
This is a full-time program and courses are not offered remotely. Studio courses and social aspects of the program are central to its culture and require students be present for its success.
Brand Consultant, Strategic Planner, Design Manager, Art Director, Brand Designer, Market Researcher.
Brand Manager, Design Manager, Design Director, Corporate Communications Manager, Marketing Services, Market Researcher.
25 - 30 students per year.
All Graduate applicants are required to complete the online application form and submit the non-refundable $80 application fee using a credit card.
Official Transcripts are required from each college or university attended.
To be considered, official transcripts must be submitted in an unopened envelope that is stamped and sealed by the college registrar of the issuing institution.
Transcripts should be mailed or delivered by the applicant or university to the Graduate Admissions Office.
The School of Visual Arts now accepts secure electronic transcripts from Parchment, National Student Clearinghouse, and Scrip-Safe. Check with the registrar's office at your institution to see if your school is a member. (IMPORTANT NOTE: Please be sure that all electronic transcript submissions are directed to 'Graduate Admissions' at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Transcripts from foreign institutions must be officially translated into English and U.S. grading equivalencies.
Applicants who have attended institutions outside of the United States must prove that their educational background is equivalent to the U.S. Bachelor’s degree. Transcripts must be evaluated by ECE (http://www.Ece.Org/) or WES (http://www.Wes.Org/)
In addition to the general application requirements, international applicants whose primary/native language is not English must demonstrate proficiency in written and spoken English. The following are acceptable ways to demonstrate English proficiency:
A minimum score of 70 (internet-based or paper-delivered) Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)
The CEEB code for the School of Visual Arts is 2835. This is the code that must be supplied to ETS in order to have TOEFL scores mailed to SVA.
*Please note this means a composite score for a single test date. We are not accepting MyBEST TOEFL scores.
A minimum score of 6.5 on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
IELTS is jointly managed by University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations (Cambridge ESOL), British Council and IDP Education Australia: IELTS Australia.
A minimum score of 6 in all categories of the English proficiency examination administered by the New York University American Language Institute in New York.
For information on taking the NYU test, call 212.998.7040.
A minimum score of 53 on the Pearson PTE Academic. For more information on taking the PTE, visit pearsonpte.com
This requirement may be waived for native English speakers who are citizens of any of the following countries and attend schools where English is the primary language of instruction: England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Singapore, India, South Africa and Common Wealth Caribbean (Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago).
SVA will consider waiving the English proficiency exam requirement for students who have earned a degree at a regionally accredited U.S. college or university. Students seeking this waiver must submit a written request with their application materials.
Brand Evaluation Writing Sample
Applicants are required to submit a typed analysis (750 words) critiquing a brand of their choice. Subject matter should include the following: Relevance in the market; Historical significance (if any); Assessment of the brand’s positioning; Creative analysis.
Applicants must submit a resume which should include professional experience as well as related activities, such as research, awards, and exhibitions.
Letters of Recommendation
Three letters of recommendation from instructors or practicing professionals. Letters of recommendation can be uploaded through the online application portal, emailed by the recommender to Graduate Admission email@example.com or mailed to the Graduate Admissions's office 209 E. 23rd Street, NY, NY, 10010.
Once your application has been processed you will be notified if this is required. (not all applicants are interviewed)
Statement of Purpose
Applicants are encouraged (though not required) to submit a statement of purpose outlining why they have chosen to apply to this program, what they hope to achieve during their course of study and what the concept of “branding” means to them.
Any other material outlining the applicant's expertise in this discipline will be accepted but not required, including any or all of the following:
OPTIONAL: Brand strategy, positioning proposals, or white papers. (If you have them)
OPTIONAL: Any branding work currently in the market that you have contributed to with a statement outlining the challenge, your participation and a rationale for the result (if you have this)
OPTIONAL: A creative portfolio is not required for this program, but will be reviewed if submitted.
All required materials must be uploaded through the online application.
Supplemental materials, such as a PDF portfolio, can me emailed to the Graduate Admissions Department firstname.lastname@example.org.
To submit printed supplemental materials, you can hand them in person or mail them to the SVA Graduate Admissions office 209 E. 23rd Street, NY, NY, 10010.
Students will be admitted on a rolling basis, until seats are full.
It all starts with an online application. Please feel free to reach out if you would like a tour of the studio!
As you're starting your application for the Masters In Branding program, we want to help make it as easy as possible to complete the process.
When you start your application, there is a list of items you need to mail in or write before your application is considered complete and we're able to review it. Below, you'll find some tips related to each item. Please visit our requirements page for more details about each item.
Writing Sample / Brand Evaluation
This is a 750-word essay critiquing a brand of your choice. Subject matter should include: relevance in the market, historical significance (if any), assessment of the brand’s positioning & creative analysis. Remember to consider the amount of time needed to revise and proofread your writing.
This is an optional but a highly encouraged portion of the application. This is a written statement of intent outlining why you would like to receive this degree, what you hope to achieve during your course of study and what the concept of “branding” means to you. (500-750 words)
Be sure to make this easy to read and understand. This should include professional experience as well as related activities such as research, awards, and exhibitions.
Letters of Recommendation
These are taken very seriously for our applicants; each one is read. Take into consideration the time it will take for the people you ask to write their letters. It is important to speak with the person you're going to ask to recommend you beforehand, so they know to expect the request from SVA.
Official College Transcripts
If you've been out of school for awhile, remember to consider the holiday break when requesting transcripts from your undergraduate university.
Evaluation of Foreign Transcripts
Foreign transcripts may require more time to be translated and received. Applicants who have attended institutions outside of the United States must prove that their educational background is equivalent to the U.S. Bachelor’s degree. Transcripts must be evaluated by, ECE or WES.
Proof of English Proficiency
Consider the amount of time to study and take the test. Test results are good for up to two years.
Though not required for our application, you can upload your portfolio as a PDF to your application portal.
General Department Inquiries
Director of Operations, Graduate Advisor
General SVA Contact Information:
International Student Office