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Debbie Millman on Branding for Social Change

Learn how to build a strong brand aligned with your social mission and purpose.

Brands signal our affiliations. At their best, they tell stories that define, differentiate and humanize organizations and indicate what companies stand for in the world. When executed well, brands can connect us with like-minded people and visions, reflect our values, inspire us to take action, or help us feel part of something bigger than ourselves.

For all these reasons, social enterprises and nonprofit organizations working on tackling the world’s most critical challenges like poverty, climate change, sexual violence, or homelessness need to build strong brands. In our fast-moving and chaotic world, it matters more than ever that social change-makers learn how to cut through the noise and get other people to pay attention to their causes, services, and innovations.

In this self-paced +Acumen course bundle, Debbie Millman, Mike Bainbridge, Brian Collins, Jennifer Kinon and Bobby Martin will teach any social entrepreneur, nonprofit manager, or social change agent to build a compelling brand identity for their cause or initiative that will get others to sit up, pay attention, and feel connected.

What You'll Gain Access To:

  • 10 page workbook with activities that will help starting to build your brand
  • Tutorial videos from 5 leading experts and authors and accompanying exercises
  • A dynamic forum to share your process with other brand-builders across the social sector
  • A Certificate for successful completion of all course requirements
  • The ability to revisit any section of the course bundle as needed (the course is self-paced and starts whenever you have the time!)

About the Instructors:

Debbie Millman is an American writer, journalist, educator, artist, curator and designer who is best known as the host of the podcast Design Matters. She has authored six books including Brand Thinking and Other Noble Pursuits and Brand Bible The Complete Guide to Building, Designing and Sustaining Brands. She is the current President Emeritus of AIGA, chair and co-founder of the Masters in Branding Program at the School of Visual Arts in New York City, and Editorial and Creative Director of Print magazine. 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 has worked with over 200 of the world’s largest brands, including the redesign of Burger King, merchandising for Star Wars, and the positioning and branding of the No More movement.

Mike Bainbridge is the Executive Vice President of Design Intelligence at Sterling Brands. He has over 25 years of experience in the brand design business and heads up all strategic planning for all Sterling's design clients. During his time at Sterling, Mike has pioneered and overseen the development of a host of pre-design planning tools and techniques for the company to help its clients understand and evaluate existing visual equity and consumer/brand relationships through design. He has worked with hundreds of brands including Tropicana, Haagen Dazs, Campbells, Kleenex, Huggies, Rubbermaid, Martell, Celestial Seasonings and Alka-Seltzer.

Brian Collins is the Chief Creative Officer and Co-founder of COLLINS. For ten years prior to the founding of COLLINS, Brian was the Chairman and Chief Creative Officer of the brand and innovation division of Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide. Brian’s clients have included Airbnb, Coca-Cola, Facebook, The Ford Motor Company, Giorgio Armani, IBM, Jaguar Cars, Instagram, Levi Strauss & Co., Mattel, Microsoft, Nike, Spotify, Target, Unilever, The Walt Disney Co., and The Guggenheim Museum. Brian is now a professor at the SVA Graduate Program since 2001.

Bobby Martin is the cofounder of the branding agency Original Champions of Design (OCD). In 2017, Fast Company named Bobby Martin one of the Most Creative People in Business. He led an internal design team for Nokia in London where he oversaw brand identity across their global packaging range. He also served as design director of Jazz at Lincoln Center working with Artistic Director Wynton Marsalis to reach new audiences and bring the brand to life. Bobby is now faculty at the School of Visual Arts in NY.

Jennifer Kinon is a cofounder and leads business, design and strategy for Original Champions of Design (OCD). Jennifer Kinon worked in Pentagram's New York City office with Michael Bierut, overseeing a roster of clients including Benetton, NYU, Saks Fifth Avenue, Sesame Street and Barclays Center. She served as Design Director of NYC’s 2012 Olympic Bid. In 2016, Kinon served as Design Director of Hillary for America. Since founding OCD, she has developed brand identity systems for clients that range from the Girl Scouts of the USA to The New York Times and the WNBA.


Your Instructor


Debbie Millman
Debbie Millman

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 widely recognized and awarded podcast Design Matters.

Debbie is the author of six books, including: How to Think Like a Great Graphic Designer and Brand Thinking and Other Noble Pursuits. Her illustrations have appeared in publications such as The New York Times, NewYork Magazine, Print Magazine, Design Observer and Fast Company.

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.

For 20 years, Debbie was the President of Sterling Brands, one of the world’s leading branding consultancies. In 2009 Debbie co-founded with Steven Heller the world’s first graduate program in branding at the School of Visual Arts in New York City.

She is a frequent speaker on design and branding at Universities and Design Associations around the world including: Princeton University, the Hong Kong Design Association, Design Thinkers in Toronto, the Festival of Art and Design in Barcelona, QVED in Munich, ING in Dubai and PS One in China. She has been a juror for competitions including Cannes Lions, The Clio’s, the One Club, and many, many more.


Class Curriculum


  BONUS: Free Preview of +Acumen Master Class
Available in days
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Frequently Asked Questions


When does the course start and finish?
The course starts now and never ends! It is a completely self-paced online course - you decide when you start and when you finish.
How long do I have access to the course?
How does lifetime access sound? After enrolling, you have unlimited access to this course for as long as you like - across any and all devices you own.
What if I am unhappy with the course?
We would never want you to be unhappy! If you are unsatisfied with your purchase, contact us in the first 30 days and we will give you a full refund.

Get started now!