Design and Branding Strategy MA

  • Overview
  • Course Content
  • Special Features
  • Employability
  • Fees
  • Entry Criteria

About the Course

This MA prepares students from design and other creative disciplines to design innovative strategies and act as a catalyst for change. This can apply in the design, branding and related professions and businesses, education and other organisations

See what our students say about this course.


The aim of the course is to develop high-level skills and creative thinking, and learn how to clearly communicate strategies for successful brand building, futures forecasting and change management.


Admissions and Course Enquiries
Web: Admissions Enquiries Information
Tel (before application): +44 (0)1895 265370 (College Marketing Office)
Tel (after application): +44 (0)1895 265265 (Admissions Office)
Contact Admissions or Course Enquiries Online

Acting Course Director: Dr Busayawan Lam

Related Courses

Course Content

You will engage with high-level skills and creative thinking and learn to communicate clearly strategies for successful brand building, futures forecasting and change management. You may expect to engage throughout with design and branding professionals through the excellent network of industry/professional support enjoyed by the College.

You will do a three-phase programme.


Phase One

Strategic Design Management

Exploring the effectiveness of design in a business and social context. The design management process, origins and development, relationship with other disciplines, new product and service development, cost and value of design, role of design in future business/social models, and how design strategy acts as a key driver for both innovation and branding. Integrating theory and practice and delivered with many contemporary case studies of how strategic design management works across many types of enterprise.

Branding Strategy

Traces the origins of branding and evolution of brand strategy. Evaluates the relationship of branding and design, communications, management and marketing.

Establishes the nature of design-led branding and its link with innovation. Understanding brand architecture, analysis and development tools, people and change management. Explores future scenarios including the identification and use of emergent trends. Offering a range of design-led brand development strategic models and tools.

Creative Enterprise

Introduces the creative economy and emergent cultural creative industry context.

Explores users and markets, the need for creativity, innovation and brand building, the business imperative, social enterprise, government support, financial implications. Service and experience design, application of design thinking, corporate and social responsibility, sustainability and development of future design-led strategies.

Design Research

The role and application of design research and its relationship with creative thinking. Using a wide range of tools to address and solve problems and develop design opportunities within a realistic commercial and/or social context. Formulating appropriate methodologies for design strategy development through to pragmatic solutions, incorporating future trends and visions.

Phase Two:

Design Research Project

Using the intensive Phase One learning, each student is supported to formulate an individual design-led project under personal supervision and workshop support.

Students are given support to seek placements and direct professional contacts as appropriate. Outcomes are expected to be of a strategic nature and may include future design concepts, models/tools, frameworks for effective use of design resources and must have a good potential and pragmatic value.

Design Branding/Innovation Futures

Delivered primarily by eminent external lecturers who present their scenarios of design branding/innovation futures with interactive workshops, teamwork and individual progress towards future visions. The programme explores current and emerging trends in design and such areas as innovation, branding, technology, industry, the design/innovation/branding professional, technology and social change.

It culminates with each student presenting his/her personal vision of design futures.

Phase Three:

Design Dissertation

A fully researched, critical and creative, well written and suitably visual thesis to demonstrate the ability to address a carefully formulated design strategic issue. It will include evidence of a sound rationale, analysis and evaluation, integrated creative thinking related to methods and/or design concepts. It is expected to include clear recommendations of commercial and/or social value. The outcome will be presented to a high professional standard supported by an interim verbal and visual oral presentation.

Most dissertations end with a practical design strategy, but students may incorporate design concepts to show future design directions.

With the help of your specialist tutor you will reflect on your process of learning and show how you will use your knowledge and skills to formulate strategies, plans and implementation recommendations for the effective use of design and branding in organisations.

At the end of the course you will be able to:

  • Communicate and demonstrate the potential value of design and branding;
  • Show expertise in your chosen specialism;
  • Critically evaluate the potential benefits of alternative design and branding solution strategies;
  • Show personal initiative in addressing challenging issues relevant to industry and other organisations and/or the design profession;
  • Enhance your career.

Special Features

Brazilian week: We host an annual visit from top Brazilian designers. This can be an extremely exciting and rewarding experience for both students and visitors, as throughout their stay the visitors will conduct joint activities with Brunel students.

Industrial links:

Design Futures: Every year, as part of the Masters Design programme, the academic team run a Design Futures module. The aim is to give students a chance to explore future trends and scenarios and to use research in order to find design-based solutions to issues facing the world. As part of this initiative we invite eminent guest speakers from all aspects of the design profession to come to Brunel, and give the students their views of the future, and the role that design will play in meeting global challenges.

Design Consultancies: Many Design staff are practicing design consultants in their own right, and Design staff also work closely with several Design consultancies, for instance, Design Bridge. Working with Design Bridge, an International Brand Design Agency, has resulted not only in this company participating in Design Futures, but offering student projects, internships and also graduate employment positions

International: The MA Design courses enjoy a truly international flavour recruiting students from all over the world


Design and Branding Strategy is accredited by the Institution of Engineering Designers (IED).


All students are encouraged to carry out their dissertation with industrial partners.


This course is based on our successful MA Design Strategy and Innovation course which began in 1994 and former graduates now work in key positions in such prestigious organisations as BAA plc, Tesco, Daewoo and Herman Miller; also in leading design consultancies and education. The course prepares you for work in the design field or for other roles in the emergent creative economy.

At Brunel we provide many opportunities and experiences within your degree programme and beyond – work-based learning, professional support services, volunteering, mentoring, sports, arts, clubs, societies, and much, much more – and we encourage you to make the most of them, so that you can make the most of yourself.

» More about Employability

Fees for 2015/6 entry

UK/EU students: £8,000 full-time; £4,000 part-time

International students: £16,500 full-time; £8,250 part-time

Read about funding opportunities available to postgraduate students

UK/EU students can opt to pay in six equal monthly instalments: the first instalment is payable on enrolment and the remaining five by Direct Debit or credit/debit card.

Overseas students can opt to pay in two instalments: 60% on enrolment, and 40% in January for students who commence their course in September (or the remaining 40% in March for selected courses that start in January).

Fees quoted are per annum and are subject to an annual increase.

Entry Requirements 2015/6

A UK first or second class Honours degree or equivalent internationally recognised qualification in a design or a closely related creative discipline. Other subjects with relevant work experience will be assessed on an individual basis.

Entry criteria are subject to review and change each academic year.

International and EU

If your country or institution is not listed or if you are not sure whether your institution is eligible, please contact Admissions

This information is for guidance only by Brunel University London and by meeting the academic requirements does not guarantee entry for our courses as applications are assessed on case-by-case basis.

English Language Requirements

  • IELTS: 6.5 (min 6 in all areas)
  • Pearson: 58 (51 in all subscores)
  • BrunELT: 65% (min 60% in all areas)

“Brunel University London strongly recommends that if you will require a Tier 4 visa, you sit your IELTS test at a test centre that has been approved by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) as being a provider of a Secure English Language Test (SELT). Not all test centres have this status. The University can accept IELTS (with the required scores) taken at any official test centre or other English Language qualifications we accept as meeting our main award entry requirements. However, if you wish to undertake a Pre-sessional English course to further improve your English prior to the start of your degree course, you must sit the test at an approved SELT provider. This is because you will only be able to apply for a Tier 4 student visa to undertake a Pre-sessional English course if you hold a SELT from a UKVI approved test centre. Find out more information about it.

Brunel also offers our own BrunELT English Test and accept a range of other language courses. We also have a range of Pre-sessional English language courses, for students who do not meet these requirements, or who wish to improve their English.

Our International Pathways and Language Centre offers a range of foundation and pre-masters courses to provide you with the academic skills required for your chosen course.”

Page last updated: Thursday 04 June 2015