Cannes Lions

Branding at the Speed of Culture



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SVA Masters in Branding (MIB) was the first of its kind. What started as an experiment is now in its 10th year of developing the next generation of brand builders.

Companies and talent alike are becoming more interested in how to move business forward through ideas rather than traditional marketing and analytics. New pathways to industry are being carved out and SVA MIB is one of those; a feeder of rising talent into brands, agencies and consultancies.

But, despite its reputation the program needed to respond to key challenges:

Performance: To compete against MA and MBA programs we needed to clarify what made MIB different and better than other degrees.

Reach: To attract the right people and more diverse talent, we needed to tell the program’s story more effectively across the right channels.

Relevance: Employers don’t realize its significance. We needed to legitimize the program for prospective employers.


We anchored the identity on a truth of the program: MIB has a course, faculty and environment set up to teach branding as a reflection of culture — that the discipline must always adapt and keep pace with cultural change. We coined this idea “Branding at the Speed of Culture.”

The photography, colours and cultural objects of the brand identity change annually, truly demonstrating the agility required for the future of brand thinking.

Our hope is that the rebrand inspires students everywhere to create tomorrow’s culture-defining objects and brands.


The identity moves at the speed of culture. We worked with typographer Berton Hasebe, to build a continuous typeface with hundreds of unique ligatures, creating an uninterrupted flow of characters that crash together and redefines like culture does.

We collaborated with Pantone to create an evolving color palette inspired by forward-looking trends. For imagery, our solution was an archival photography series that celebrates the impact of some of the most iconic, controversial, and influential objects in visual culture.

To launch the new identity, we created a campaign that dramatized what it means to be a ‘master’ in branding, subverting iconic equities — deploying it through relevant channels (print, digital, website, social) to drive awareness.

We also created a short film that occupies the mind of a passionate new candidate of the program, bringing to life the flow of their thoughts and seedling ideas as they embark on their year-long journey.


Our hope is that the rebrand inspires students everywhere to create tomorrow’s culture-defining objects and brands.

"The design work on our new identity, flags, posters, or Instagram ads is likely the first moment students will learn that a program like ours even exists — opening up a world of possibility and potentially igniting the spark that changes culture forever." Debbie Millman, Department Chair, SVA

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