I was so excited to have the honor to have a Q&A with Debbie Millman and then get to actually meet her at the HOW conference. Debbie was the President in the design division of Sterling Brands starting back in 1995. After leaving that job around 2005 Debbie started her own podcast called “Design Matters,” which I highly recommend to any creative. She is also a department chair for a degree she co-founded at the School of Visual Arts in Branding. It kind of hard for me to even grasp how she juggles it all.
During our Q&A session, a question was asked about where her design inspiration comes from and when did she realize she liked branding, she had told us that it started way back when she was working as a cashier in her father’s shop. It kind of came naturally to her. She was there for so long and would see what people were buying and not buying. She began to understand why some people would but certain thang and would not buy others. Also, she became really good at selling after she understood why people were attracted to certain objects. Working there for 10 years helped her to understand branding and that fascinates me.
The biggest thing that stuck with me, which I disagree with, is when she said that people can’t be brands. She said that branding has a manufactured meaning so it made it impossible for people to be brands. She also said that there are components which make up a brand. This got me things and made me realize why I disagree with her. Look at Danielle Bregoli for instance- the “How bout that” girl. She is a perfect example of a person being a brand. In every music video she has the same pulled back red hair with a couple gold accents jewelry in it. She doesn’t wear makeup besides mascara and eyeliner. She always has the same white shirt on and long finger nails. She only wears joggers and jays. Lastly all her music videos are the same aesthetic. Those are all components that make up a brand and that brand is her.