The variety of quality books available on graphic design and branding are not extensive. There are numerous publications outlining the branding process, but the number of recent authors willing to tackle the subject from the designer’s point of view is a small handful.
The No Nonsense Guides to Branding
The following books discuss contemporary branding from the graphic design perspective. The first two books are an essential read because they discuss how to balance the strategic part of the branding process with the creative aspect. They’re both fast reads, written in an entertaining style. If you are boning up on the subject, you should start with these books, then move on to the others, which give you the best of the best in graphic design visuals. The starting gate books are: “The Brand Gap: How to Bridge the Distance Between Business Strategy and Design” and “Zap: The Number One Strategy of High-Performance Brands,” written by Marty Neumeier and published in 2005 and 2006.
Neumeier claims that a company can produce a “charismatic brand” by seizing on the synergy between image and savvy marketing. The author uses no nonsense techniques to help you grasp the essentials of brand innovation. For instance, he defines brand as the “gut feeling” a person has about a product, service or company.
He also discusses the five ingredients of brand building: differentiation, collaboration, innovation, validation, and cultivation. Collaboration, Neumeier explains, is one the most important elements because brand building is a community, networking event involving on the primary level everyone in your company.
Then it becomes an out-reach effort from there incorporating the design and marketing team and the target audience. Most importantly from the graphic design angle, the author talks about how the appreciation of design is an emotional experience from the customer’s perspective. They look for something that affects them and something they can identify with. This separates a brand from the barrage of media in the marketplace.
In Neumeier’s second book, Zag, he focuses on differentiation, one of the main ingredients of brand building that he looks at in The Brand Gap. Basically, he explains how the right design coupled with a radical strategy can sweep away the clutter and the competition in the marketplace and create a winning brand that will stand out in the customer’s mind.
Logo Design and Branding
After absorbing some of today’s best and easiest to comprehend brand and design theory, you are ready to take a look at some amazing graphic design approaches. Since branding often involves starting from the foundations of a logo and building outward, “Logo Design Love” by David Airey, published in 2009 will give you a great overview of what logo design is all about. He not only covers some artful company logos and what re-branding accomplished for several clients, but he also walks you through the design process from the viewpoint of the graphic designer, as well as the client/designer relationship. This book is extremely helpful for anyone going through the logo design process.
Wow ‘Em on the Internet
The next book is essential for any company or designer since it contains the latest and greatest ways to promote a company on the web. Branding a company on the Internet is extremely important in today’s digital market, and “The Web Designer’s Idea Book, Vol. 2: More of the Best Themes, Trends and Styles in Website Design” by Patrick McNeil, published in 2010, will show you the best of what’s on the World Wide Web. This will allow anyone to be conversant with web design, and put owners in the driver’s seat regarding ideas they want implemented regarding brand identity on the Internet.
Award Winning Graphic Design
Any person involved in branding and marketing a company should be aware of the latest trends in graphic design. If you want to have the kind of zag in your brand design that Neumeier talks about, you’ll be able to see it in action in the 46th Publication Design Annual or (Society of Publication Designers’ Publication Design Annual 2012). This book showcases the best in graphic design from around the world. The Society of Publication Designers releases a new book every year displaying award-winning and innovative designs that are sure to inspire you.
Whether you are a designer, company owner, marketer or creative director, having a grasp of the branding process from a graphic design viewpoint will help you understand what is happening in the marketplace, how to guide the branding design process yourself, and give you a benchmark of how to judge advertising art.