Fashioning The Brand

Summer Doll-Myers
Graphic Design
Kutztown University

Ann Lemon
Kutztown University

The good, the bad and the beautiful of fashion advertising.

What does it mean to wear a label, a logo, a brand – across your chest or on your back pocket? Consumers, especially millennials, are becoming more invested in the brands they love by following, liking, and pinning products in addition to wearing them. The entire brand “story” is built from an archive of images that support an ongoing narrative. Fashion is a $1.2 trillion global industry according to a report from the U.S. Joint Economic Committee.

“Fashion apparel for the teenager is not the first considered purchase,” Wissink said. Teens see electronics as “popularity devices, not utilities.” –International Business Times

It isn’t just about “did you see what he’s wearing?” but more about “can you believe she still has an iPhone 4”?! Millennials are more skeptical about what they see as inauthentic or contrived messages.

The majority of ads for brands found in fashion magazines and online are non-conceptual. With the trend moving toward believing in a brand, ads need to be more than just pretty – they need to be designed around a solid brand concept.

After years of this Intro-Level Advertising Design assignment being used to teach students the power of the image in an ad, this brief got a revamp. First and foremost, students needed to have a concept. They were required to research positioning, and identify a specific audience. Beginning with sketches, they were not allowed to move on to shooting before a big, insightful, on-brand concept was approved. Students then explored the collaborative realities of production by taking on the roles of art director, photographer, casting director, writer, and stylist. We will show the project process award-winning student examples.


This research was presented at the Design Incubation Colloquium 3.1: Kean University on Saturday, Oct 22, 2016.

Kanga as a Form of Visual Communication

Ziddi Msangi
Associate Professor
Design Department, College of Visual & Performing Arts
University of Massachusetts Dartmouth
Founding Faculty, Graphic Design
Vermont College of Fine Arts

Throughout East Africa, but especially in Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda, women wear wraps called kanga. They contain a central image along with a patterned motif and saying. They range from political messages, proverbs, and religious messages. All ethnic groups seem to embrace the form. In a traditional hierarchical social structure where there are prohibitions against women engaging in gossip, speaking out of turn and shaming, kanga are used as a way of circumventing these restrictions.

This presentation explores the intersection of private and public space these garments inhabit when women wear them and their evolution as a distinct form of visual communication.

This research was presented at the Design Incubation Colloquium 1.5: Rhode Island School of Design on Saturday, March 7, 2015.