Why SharePoint Branding?
Answer: Because we can. Finally.
Yes, the customization ‘features’ of SharePoint have been well criticised for a while, so it is good to see that branding and formatting is now a simple combination of master page changes and CSS.
Not that it is trivial, but as Kathy Hughes covered (extremely well I might add) in her session, it is very straight forward once you know how. Getting your head around the Content database and how pages are constructed with Page layouts, Content placeholders and web parts is a little confusing at first, but soon starts making sense.
Themes are also supported, but I had to leave the session before we got to this part (a pity).
The customization tools are spread across SharePoint Designer, Visual Studio and also in browser changes.
The session covered the basic steps of Design, Coding and then Cascading down through sites.
So, to repeat my earlier answer to Why SharePoint branding…
Answer: Because we can, and we can do it reasonably easily now.