Entry requirements

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.

Months of entry


Course content

About the course

This MA prepares students from design and other creative disciplines to apply their knowledge and skills in the branding domain.

The course develops your high-level skills and creative thinking, helping you learn how to clearly communicate strategies for successful brand building, futures forecasting and change management.

During the course you will also gain valuable industry insight from design and branding professionals who are part of Brunel’s extensive network of industry contacts. You will complete an individual design project, supported by personal supervision, and complete a final year dissertation on your specialist subject of choice.


All organisations use design, but few master its use strategically. This course provides the skills and knowledge to students wishing to enter this exciting and rewarding field of endeavour.

We were one of the first Masters programmes, globally, that sought to explain the relationship between branding and design and the importance of applying a strategic approach using design thinking, design methods and process. Today we remain a unique course internationally and attract students from all over the world, from different creative and design backgrounds, both with one purpose - to become masters of design strategy.

By the time you graduate you will be equipped to:

  • effectively apply design to create and deliver innovative brand propositions
  • creatively communicate brand values and deliver brand experiencein engaging and meaningful ways through a combination of tangible and intangle design
  • demonstrate expertise in your chosen specialism in exciting fields, such as branding for the collaborative economy
  • critically evaluate the roles and potential benefits of design in brand strategies
  • show personal initiative in addressing challenging issues that are relevant to the design industry.

Course Content

The balanced combination of critical examination and rigorous academic research and creativity is a unique characteristic of Brunel's MA programme.

You will do a three-phase programme:

Phase One Modules: Taught Element (September - December)

Strategic Design Management

This module explores the effective use of design in a commercial, business and social context. Beginning with the roots, history and development of design management, the 12-week lecture and workshop programme explains where design can be found in companies large and small, its relationships with marketing and other departments, how design is used to deliver business goals, and the importance of measuring design effectiveness.

The module discusses the use of new product development, service design and the link between design, branding and innovation. Cost and value of design, global versus local and the impact of e-commerce and digital branding are also considered in a future context. Importantly, the differences and the inter-dependence of design leadership and design management are discussed with the help of guest speakers and contemporary case studies.

Branding Strategy Studies

We explore how brands are built or rebuilt through design, how brands can be analysed both from a consumer and financial perspective. We discuss the importance of user experience, internal cultures in off-line and virtual communities; we consider specialist areas such as place branding or luxury fashion brands, how adding value through brand extensions. We investigate the rise of social media, digital, sensory experiences, plus emerging concepts such as brand spirituality or sociability and their impact on society and brands.

Innovation Strategy and Management

This module explores how design could be a catalyst for various types of innovation ranging from new products/services, right through to a new way of running an organisation. It enables students to evaluating user needs and market demands, and discusses key factors influencing innovation development, such as digital economy, sustainability, collaborative economy and social responsibility. It also investigates emerging practices and processes in the field of design, innovation and management in order to help students develop appropriate strategic directions for innovation and innovation culture.

Design Research

Rigorous research is required for all kinds of strategic planning. This module helps students develop research skills and knowledge, which will prepare them for practical research in organisations/consultancies and academic research if they wish to continue their studies at the doctorate level. It explores the role and application of design research and its relationship with creative thinking. It also introduces a wide range of tools to address and solve problems and develop design opportunities within a realistic commercial and/or social context. It enables students to formulate appropriate methodologies for design strategy and pragmatic solutions.

Phase Two Modules: Taught/Tutored (January - April)

Design and Branding Futures: Seminar & Workshop Programme

Design Futures is a uniquely delivered module that explores futures scenarios and the role design could play in shaping society and enabling new technologies. Working in teams and on self-chosen topics, the module involves around nine weeks of facilitated workshops supported by both internal lectures - and an extensive programme of external guest lecturers, by experts drawn from some of the world’s leading brand, innovation and design organisations. This exciting module culminates in students describing their vision of the future as part of a team presentation and expressing their own, personal views through the preparation of a creative Reflective Log.

Design and Branding Research Project 1

Design and Branding Research Project 2

Phase Three Module: Student-led (May - August)

Design Dissertation

This module provides students opportunities to develop and demonstrate sophisticated and advanced knowledge about the role of strategic design in innovation and/or branding. They are expected to carry out research and present a coherent dissertation on current and challenging issues relevant to design management, branding and/or innovation. The deliverables are expected to be 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.


MA graduates hold positions in some of the world’s most prestigious agencies and organisations:

Saffron, Imagination, Interbrand, The Brand Union, Sapient Nitro, Macmillan Cancer, Proctor & Gamble, Shell, Instituto Ethos, LG Electronics, LBi Australia, Flamingo, Asus, Point-Blank International, ebay, Yahoo, ICC Lowe Zurich, The Brand Team, John Lewis, Modern Atlanta, Brabantia, Nokia, Hexagon, Bentley Motors, Weber Shandwick, BBH London, CIA Inc, Kohler Mira, Nasty Gal, Saudi Aramco, Nestle Korea, JKR, Virgo Communications Inc (Caribbean), LinkedIn, Rufus Leonard, WPR Beauty Spa Cosmetic, ihandmade.cn, Huawei, Amazon, BBC 3, Orange, Axiom, Samsung, Rapp Collins Athens, Cheil worldwide, Shiseido, Barnardo's, FutureBrand, Unilever, Leo Burnett, Kempinski Hotels, Alibaba.com, Truphone, Nike Colombia.

Information for international students

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

Fees and funding

UK students
£8,500 full-time; £4,250 part-time
International students
£17,500 full-time; £8,750 part-time

Read about funding opportunities available to postgraduate students

Qualification and course duration


full time
12 months
part time
24 months


AssessmentWhat kind of work will I be doing? (proportionally)
Written coursework / continuous assessment65
Dissertation35 (20000 words)

Course contact details

Brunel Course Enquiries
+44 (0)1895 265599