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Branding. In Five and a Half Steps

D&AD Brand Communication

“Branding surrounds us whether we like it or not. The question is, do you understand it?”

Michael Johnson

Course Outline

This session is designed to demystify branding and give those who attend a much clearer understanding of what it means, and what it does. Drawing and building on his bestselling book of the same name, Michael Johnson shows how to firstly define, then design brands that make a difference.

Taking inspiration from Johnson Banks’ portfolio of blue chip, cultural and charity clients, and applying what he’s learned in 25 years at the coal face, Johnson gets under ‘the bonnet of branding’ in an intense day of workshops, discussion, thinking, writing and design, revealing key insights that you’ll be able to apply in your own work. 

Learning Outcomes

  • Learned new ways to analyse a market, how to ‘map’ it and look for gaps and opportunities
  • Tested out Johnson’s own brand model to clearly define a brand’s verbal and strategic basis
  • Undertaken naming exercises and gained a greater understanding of the process
  • Taken at least one example through, from research, to narrative, to naming, then design
  • Seen and heard examples throughout the day backing up each of the stages of the process, including in-depth examples of Johnson’s own projects and case-studies from across the world
  • Gained a new appreciation of why some brand thrive and why others fail
  • Gained unique insights into both the strategic and design sides of the process, when and how they interact and how each side can learn from the other

Suitable for

  • Anyone who wants a better understanding of the full spectrum of the branding process
  • Marketing and communications directors and managers
  • Designers

  • Anybody who is employed in the communications industries
  • Ideally participants will already have some experience/knowledge of branding 

Your Facilitator

Michael Johnson is Creative Director and Founder of johnson banks, the award winning branding consultancy. He is a frequent speaker on branding and a decade ago served as our president at D&AD. Johnson Banks’s clients include the Science Museum, charities such as Shelter and Unicef, blue-chips such as Virgin Atlantic and the internet pioneer Mozilla. Michael’s projects make a creative impact, including seven Yellow and one Black Pencil, from fourteen nominations, at D&AD. And they also make a measurable impact too – his work for the University of Cambridge raised £310 million in just one year. As you might expect, Michael is passionate about the subject of branding – if you want to know how it works, what it can do, and use it to your advantage, then this is the session for you. 

Branding. In Five and a Half Steps

Branding. In Five and a Half Steps


09:30 – 17:00



64 Cheshire Street 
E2 6EH
United Kingdom

"Simple, direct, brilliant, inspirational, really intense"

Michele Genghi
Design Director
CBA Design Solutions

Excellent day, with so much more insight than I had expected. Michael was an inspirational and engaging leader.

Marc Avery
Marc Avery Studio

Looking for More Information?

If you're interested in learning more about this course and would like to discuss it with a D&AD Training professional, please leave your details and someone will be in touch very shortly via email or call us on +44 (0) 20 7840 1154.

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