Sessions @ The Dieline Conference: Debbie Millman

by First name Last name on 01/26/2012 | 1 Minute Read


Debbie Millman has worked in the design business for over 25 years.

She is President of the design division at Sterling Brands. She has been there for 17 years and in that time she has worked on the redesign of over 200 global brands.

Debbie is President Emeritus of the AIGA, the largest professional association for design. She is a contributing editor at Print Magazine, a design writer at and Chair of the Masters in Branding Program at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. In 2005, she began hosting the first weekly radio talk show about design on the Internet. The show is titled “Design Matters with Debbie Millman” and it is now featured on In 2011, the show was awarded a Cooper-Hewitt National Design Award.

Debbie is the author of five books on design including “Brand Thinking and Other Noble Pursuits,” (Allworth Press, 2011), “Look Both Ways: Illustrated Essays on the Intersection of Life and Design,” (HOW Books, 2009) and “How To Think Like A Great Graphic Designer” (Allworth Press, 2007)."

In short, Debbie Millman has done A LOT.  Aside from knowing the ins and outs of the design community, Debbie offers tremendous insights to every disussion and topic she covers.  The Dieline Package Design Conference Boston marks Debbie's return alongside branding master, Wally Olins!

The Session: Design Matters Live: Debbie Millman Interviews the Godfather of Modern Branding, Mr. Wally Olins

Last year, Debbie Millman interviewed Wally Olins for her book Brand Thinking and Other Noble Pursuits. Debbie considers their discussion to be the best interview of her career. Now Debbie and Wally meet face to face—for the very first time—to continue their conversation on such topics as:

Why branding is a profound manifestation of the human condition?The common denominators between branding and religion?How branding demonstrates a tribal sense of belonging?Why Wally is skeptical about advertisingWhy and how the branding of nations is more critical than ever?Whether market research perpetuates mediocrity?Why the quality of work is more important than anything?

1. Burger King (Sterling Brands)




"Burger King, the second largest burger chain in the world, needed to revive its brand and give consumers a new reason to come back. Sterling created a new global positioning that reignited the brand’s passion for taste. From that strategic foundation we created a bold new identity that maintained the equity of the famous BK buns while bringing more energy to the brand.

With new communications that ranged from packaging and retail signage to employee and franchisee materials, Burger King saw a 10 to 12% increase in same store sales within six months of the launch of its rebranded outlets.

Our Work: Brand identity system, in-store materials, packaging graphics."

2. Look Both Ways








"Look Both Ways: Illustrated Essays on the Intersection of Life and Design is a book about life, art, love, design, tunes, brands, poetry, shame, and even physics. In many ways, it is the culmination of over 25 years of working in the design business, and probably took its first shape when I began my radio show on design and culture, Design Matters, nearly five years ago."

This is a great read. These arresting essays recount personal moments through Debbie's lifetime, each with a distinct design and layout. Gorgeous book. 

3. Design Matters with Debbie Millman.

"Design Matters with Debbie Millman is an opinionated and provocative internet talk radio show. The show combines a stimulating point of view about graphic design, branding and cultural anthropology."

Past interviews include: Tina Roth Eisenberg (Swiss Miss), Grace Bonney (Design Sponge), and Andrew Gibbs of The Dieline.

4. Dunkin Donuts (Sterling Brands)


"Although familiar and comforting, the quality and variety of Dunkin’ Donuts products was not clearly communicated in their packaging. In redesigning Dunkin’ Donuts pound of coffee packaging, and in-store coffee cups, Sterling’s team has been able to help communicate the expertise behind Dunkin’ Donuts coffee, while capturing the joyful spirit of the brand.

We were also charged with designing identities for two innovative new Dunkin’ Donuts lines, 'Oven Toasted' and 'DD Smart', which contribute to the overall brand expression.

Our work: Consumer Insights research, naming, identity and package design."

5. Tropicana (Sterling Brands)




"Sterling’s design team led the dramatic restaging of this iconic juice brand on every supermarket shelf.

The market situation had become confusing - with every brand of orange juice employing similar design cues, finding Tropicana was a challenge. Beginning with an intensive design exploratory, the Sterling team quickly began to isolate the orange and the straw as a key symbol for the brand.

The new design celebrates Tropicana Pure Premium’s superior quality and taste, creates a clearer shopping experience, and helped Tropicana reassert its leadership position in juices.

Our Work: Consumer insights research, brand equity study, visual territories, brand design system, packaging, identity." 


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