Faculty Feature: Anita Zeppetelli
Branding New York City and Identities
May 13, 2019
by Georgette Maniatis
In her Brand Identity - Creating an Image course, multifaceted designer Anita Zeppetelli has students choose a New York City neighborhood and create branding for it. Here, she shares some images and reflections from the course.
Why did you create this branding assignment?
My goal for the course was to offer an opportunity for students to find their creative voice through a subject they know: NYC. The process of creating a brand for a neighborhood isn’t all that different from that for an organization. The goal is to identify a neighborhood’s essence, translate that into a logo and visual system, and then implement it in various design touchpoints.
New York City is where I choose to live and work. What better way to pay homage to it than with this course assignment?
How do you define design in 2019?
Two words: multidimensional communication. As a brand designer, I discovered early on in my career the power of a visual expressed through all media, from print to digital and beyond. This depth and breadth allow one to reach a larger audience. Today, design is much more informed by branding than ever before.
Additionally, digital technology has created a new interactive paradigm. This challenges the designer and the way we reach our audience and offers us ways to connect on a deeper level.
What does design mean to you?
It’s my way of self-expression. A way to communicate in the most effective and impactful way while evoking an emotional connection. My relationship with design was influenced early on by teachers, mentors and employers that had that right mix of design passion and work ethic. These examples, shown to me early on, were pivotal in my design career and how I approach and look at design today.
Branding in particular offers me the opportunity to wear many different hats and combine different design disciplines. I tell my students if you can master this, you can do anything.
How has teaching inspired you?
As the physicist Frank Oppenheimer once said, “The best way to learn is to teach.” I have had many an “aha!” moment in the midst of teaching, which have further honed my own skills. Teaching has also inspired me to adapt and try new techniques or approaches to support students along the way. I sometimes feel like it’s less about the presentations or lectures and more about listening and identifying blocks that the students are experiencing early on. I remind them that sometimes feeling uncomfortable is part of the process of learning something new.
Learn more about Anita Zeppetelli and her courses here.
A version of this feature appeared in our summer 2019 issue of SVA ContinuEd, available now by visiting or calling our office. See all of our Design courses here. Follow our updates and stories on our Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram pages!