Brand Thinking

Brand Thinking

Debbie Millman’s new book Brand Thinking and Other Noble Pursuits is an engaging collection of dialogues between Debbie and different leaders in the field.

It follows the same casual format of the Design Matters podcasts, and here are a few stand-out quotes from inside.

“Branding is an experience, and advertising is a temptation.”

“What I really, hugely, and antagonistically dislike is the attempt to quantify the unquantifiable. And if you are a branding consultant, you have to accept that there are a lot of things you just cannot quantify.”

“Brands exist in the minds of the people who interact with them.”

“I have great admiration for designers for many reasons, but when called upon to defend how they create value for the corporation, they could have said, “Without us, you don’t have access to culture.” But they haven’t.”

“About 98 percent of all the work we do is rejected. It’s a very wasteful process.”

“Most of the brands that I’m interested in have a similar sensibility. You’re able to identify them without ever having to see a badge, logo, colour combination, or any type of sign.”

“The only requirement of a symbol is that it have substance underneath: The first thing to do is to try to establish the substance. The style comes after the substance. Only then can the style help the substance, and vice versa.”

“It doesn’t occur to most people that everything is designed — that every building and everything they touch in the world is designed. Even foods are designed now.”

“We should tell more young designers not to worry about what they’re going to do with their design careers. They should start their own brands. Designers should create their own beautiful brands that can change the world.”

“Our objective is not to get an award-winning design into the market. Our objective is to sell more stuff for our clients.”

Brand Thinking

The section with Nike’s former creative director Stanley Hainsworth can be read here on Fast Company. Thanks for piecing this one together, Debbie. Great addition to my little library.

Purchase Brand Thinking and Other Noble Pursuits direct from Allworth Press, or:


More recommended reads: A few good books.

8 responses

  1. Maybe I need to be more informed, but I still get a touch nervous when people say, “you need to create a brand.” I think of “branding” as using design, communication strategies, and business sense to shine a spotlight on what one does best. Brands, as Brian Collins’s says “….exist in the minds of the people who interact with them.” Unless we’re assuming complete control over the thoughts and attitudes of people, I prefer “brand positioning” to “creating a brand.” Maybe I’m caught up in semantics?

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