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Rock-Solid Brands

A successful brand identity is built to last. See how it's done by studying these famous household names.
4.3 (4 ratings)
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134 students enrolled
Created by Joseph Caserto
Last updated 2/2016
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  • 31 mins on-demand video
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
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Learn the history behind some of the most recognized consumer brands in history, and study their visual identities that made them that way. We'll explore the histories behind how some of these products and businesses came to be, and the reasons that some have stayed powerful for generations, while others have faded away. You'll see examples of packaging, logos, advertising, and other fundamental elements of a brand's identity.

Get a Quick Introduction to the Essentials of Visual Branding

  • Build your knowledge of key concepts used to identify products and businesses.
  • Explore the histories behind some of the world's most famous trademarks, like the one for CBS Television.
  • Understand how social change can drastically affect how consumers perceive a brand, as it did with Aunt Jemima, and how a company might respond to keep it from failing.
  • Learn what might happen to a logo when two brands become one, as Cingular and AT&T Wireless did.
  • Explore how a brand like Coca-Cola extends and strengthens its identity with elements beyond its logo.
  • Study some products that have become so famous, that they lost control of their brand names, which became synonymous for their competition.
  • See what happens when a rebranding fails because consumers don't like the new look.

The Key to any Successful Brand is a Strong Identity

I built this course for absolute beginners who want to get started learning about visual branding, and related areas like trademark and package design, and advertising. Even trivia buffs will find it useful! You'll need absolutely zero knowledge in design, business or marketing. In about 30 minutes, you'll see how the visual identity of a brand works, through over 20 clear examples of products and businesses with strong consumer recognition.

You'll find 13 video lectures, 24 external resources for further exploration, and four quizzes to test your knowledge on what you've learned. There are even some fun guessing games worked into the lessons.

Lectures use old and new examples of elements of strong brands, and explore how they came to be, and in some cases, how they lost their standing. You'll see why a product's identity may need to change, and when it's strong why protecting it is important.

Once you complete the course, you'll know be understand some essential concepts of brand identity, and know the history behind several famous consumer products and businesses, which will give you a strong foundation for further study in subjects like branding, marketing, graphic and package design, and the history of consumer trends.

Who is the target audience?
  • This course is for beginning students interested in learning more about advertising history, trademark and package design, and branding and corporate identity fundamentals.
  • This is not for you if you're looking for in-depth analysis of branding trends and concepts, or if you want business and financial data on company statistics,
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What Will I Learn?
Study strong brands, explore their history, and how they remain successful
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View Curriculum
  • Desire to study how a consumer brand identity is created and maintained.
  • Interest in advertising history, trademark and package design, and consumer trends.
  • Curiosity about the history of American consumerism and the brands that people use.
  • Working computer with web browser and internet access.
  • Paper and writing instrument, or software to take notes if desired.
Curriculum For This Course
Expand All 13 Lectures Collapse All 13 Lectures 31:29
2 Lectures 02:15

Joseph Caserto, the Instructor, starts the course with a quick and fun game, in which you have to guess three famous brands based on the phrases he gives you for each. You'll learn a bit about Joe's background, get an idea of what he'll cover in this course, and see a few examples of the trademarks and packaging that will be used in the lectures.

Preview 01:51

Learn how to find Joseph Caserto on social media, so you can get tips, tricks, and information to expand your knowledge beyond the course. You'll learn more about the design world, see sneak previews of new courses before they're published, get coupons for special unannounced sales, and be inspired by other designers and resources.

Preview 00:24
To Change, or Not To Change?
2 Lectures 08:14

The trademarks of these three brands have changed very little during their lifetimes, making them some of the strongest in history. Find out what inspired the logo for Coca-Cola when it was born in 1886. Learn who designed the famous Eye logo for CBS Television. And, do you how the architecture of the earliest McDonald's restaurants played a part in the corporation's identity? At the end of this lecture, you will!

NOTE: For further study, please see the external resources for this lecture.

Preview 02:53

Change is a constant factor in life. Whether driven by what society deems to be socially acceptable, or by the proof of scientific research, the latest idea of what's right and what's not always seems to be evolving. For example, in the 1950's, it was rare for women to work outside of the home once they were married and had children, and common for them to consume alcohol during pregnancy. Sometimes, outside forces like these make changing a brand's identity necessary. See how social change and legal troubles led to new identities for two of them.

NOTE: For further study, please see the external resources for this lecture.

Preview 05:21

Test your knowledge on what was covered in this section, before continuing on to the next one.

Review: To Change, or Not To Change?
6 questions
When Two Brands Become One
3 Lectures 06:02

The experience of working in the high-power world of business has been described as "swimming with sharks." Another oceanic metaphor is used when one company takes over another, when it's said that the bigger business "swallows up" the smaller business. In this lecture, we'll see some examples of what happens to the branding when two companies become one, and they need to decide whether to use one of the existing identities, or create a new one.

NOTE: For further study, please see the external resources for this lecture.

Mergers and Acquisitions

In business, as in life, those who are on top are bound not to stay there for ever. We'll see that the merger with America West wouldn't be the last for US Airways, and see how the branding of its new partner, American Airlines, would change after over four decades, once the two carriers combined.

NOTE: For further study, please see the external resources for this lecture.

Acquirer, Acquired

Test your knowledge on what was covered in this section, before continuing on to the next one.

Review: When Two Brands Become One
4 questions

You've hit a milestone! Get a pat on the back and some encouragement from Joe on your accomplishment.

Halfway Done!
Visual Identity Beyond the Logo
2 Lectures 08:08

We've learned that a brand's trademark is the main component of its identity. But, that element isn't limited to only a graphic or symbol. A product's packaging can also be used as a tactile, 3D trademark. We'll look at a one treat that uses its container as a world-famous component of its identity, and another that does the same with its wrapping.

NOTE: For further study, please see the external resources for this lecture.

The Whole Package

Could you identify a brand with your eyes closed and your hands behind your back? Well, let's use a more realistic scenario and say could you do it for the radio, which doesn't let you use visuals, only sounds? Like symbols, and packaging, words can be an effective branding tool. These products have well-known phrases associated with them, which are key components to their identities.

NOTE: For further study, please see the external resources for this lecture.

Strong Words

Test your knowledge on what was covered in this section, before continuing on to the next one

Review: Visual Identity Beyond the Logo
5 questions
Good Times and Bad Times
2 Lectures 04:56

A big struggle once a product becomes well known is getting the brand recognized while still protecting the identity from being mistaken for the competition. Some famous brands haven't succeeded in protecting their trademarks from becoming synonymous with the products they represent, and with their rivals.

NOTE: For further study, please see the external resources for this lecture.

Fake I.D.s

You've just rolled out a redesign of your new identity. What could go wrong? Well, people often don't like change, so it's to be expected that some feedback from the public will be negative. But, occasionally, consumer response is so strongly against the new look, that the best choice is to pull the plug on the relaunch, and go back to the way things used to be. That's exactly what happened with these two nationally known brands.

NOTE: For further study, please see the external resources for this lecture.

Out with the New, In with the Old

Test your knowledge on what was covered in this section, before continuing on to the next one.

Review: Good Times and Bad Times
3 questions
2 Lectures 01:54

Before we wrap up, a reminder that you can let others know what you thought about this course, and that you can contact Joe if you have any questions, comments, or concerns.

Preview 00:29

Congratulations, you've reached the end! Before we say goodbye, let's quickly go over what you've learned, with a brief review of the topics that were covered.

Course Wrap-Up
About the Instructor
4.5 Average rating
199 Reviews
5,175 Students
12 Courses
Design Professional :: Educator :: Consultant

I'm Joseph Caserto, a design professional, educator, and consultant. I have over 20 years of experience as a publication art director and designer, and worked on the staffs of several national magazines before starting my own business. Since then, I've worked with many publications, including BusinessWeek, Marie Claire, PC, TV Guide, and Vibe. My projects have included helping to produce several issues of the iPad edition of Fortune, and consulting on the launch of Parents for iOS (Apple iPad) and Android (Samsung Galaxy).

I'm also an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Digital Communications and Media, at New York University, School of Professional Studies, Center for Advanced Digital Applications, Department of Design Digital Arts and Film. Formerly, I was an Adjunct Lecturer at the City College of New York, in the Art Department's Electronic Design and Multimedia Program. I have several online tutorials published, and have been a guest critic and speaker at Cooper Union, and SUNY Fredonia.

I've consulted with clients including FP Design, The Archdiocese of New York, and The Uniformed Firefighters Association of Greater New York to help them learn and maximize the potential of their software, and to explore graphic design principals.

I earned a BFA, with Honors, in Graphic Design from Pratt Institute, where I completed one of the first classes that explored graphic design produced with a Macintosh. I'm a member of AIGA, Freelancers Union, the Graphic Artists Guild, and The Society of Publication Designers. A lifetime resident of New York State, I've lived in Brooklyn since the late 1980s.

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