I'm a graphic designer and writer in Northern Ireland. Welcome to my blog.

Decoding Design by Maggie Macnab

Decoding Design

Decoding Design: understanding and using symbols in visual communication is a book that aims to discover the hidden meanings inside common corporate logos and designs.

Maggie is past president of the Communication Artists of New Mexico, teaches logo design and symbolism as visual literacy for designers at the University of New Mexico/Albuquerque, speaks for conferences and universities, and gives workshops on creating more effective, engaging and aesthetic visual communications based in universal principles.

Page-spreads are shown on the Decoding Design website. I’ve taken a few snaps, too.

Decoding Design

Decoding Design

Decoding Design

Decoding Design

Decoding Design

Decoding Design

Purchase Decoding Design:

on Amazon.com (Kindle version)
on Amazon.co.uk (Kindle version)

Looking for more? A few good books.

My second book on Amazon

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22 comments about “Decoding Design by Maggie Macnab”

  1. Looks interesting David, will check it out further. Also quite good to have the video clip to help sell the book, haven’t seen it being used in this way much, works well. Thanks, Gareth

  2. Looks like a good read. I’ll have to swing by my local bookstore and thumb through it.

    I really like seeing logos dissected to see what makes them work.

    Should be good, thanks.

  3. Gareth, the video’s a great marketing addition. Nice touch.

    Jeremy, good luck in your bookstore. I’m looking forward to finishing the read.

  4. I’m interested – the 30 percent discount looks good too. The cover design is very striking and would really stand out on a store display, especially with the interactive wheel, and tactile too.

  5. I always find it interesting to see sketches by logo designers using lined paper! I don’t think I would enjoy sketching on lined paper like that….some shots in your post show sketches on paper like that…I always found it odd that some use it.

  6. Looks like a great read. The dissection of logos is always fascinating, but this seems to go a stage further by looking at the use of age old familiar shapes and patterns. Definitley on the ‘must buy’ list.

  7. Are you going to put this into your Logo Design Love?

  8. Tracey, it’s a nice discount. Amazon usually offer a fair chunk off.

    Brian, sketching on grids can help with sizing/alignment, but plain paper can be less restricting.

    Steve, using nature to illustrate iconic designs makes for a great topic.

    Rafie, I’d thought of adding an icon to the sidebar, listing a few decent books.

  9. It’s such an incredibly pretty book. Going straight on my wish-list!
    For the Brits out there – it’s £16.89 at the moment.

  10. That book sounds facinating! I love knowing why things work so that I can reproduce the results in my own designs! But you never said what YOU think about the book, David.

    Did you find it useful?
    Did you learn anything new?
    Were there things you didn’t agree with that the author supported?
    Most importantly, did you find it valuable enough to buy it? (It sounds like it was a desk copy)

  11. Another good recommendation David, thanks again.

    I have added it to my list, if only I had some more time though! I bought the last book you recommended but haven’t even managed to open it yet!

  12. A really great book! Maggie is a wealth of information – and was great to hang out with at the recent HOW Design Conference.

  13. Lauren, having only had the book a few days I’ll read more before first. Initial impressions are Maggie really knows what she’s talking about.

    Shaun, you read Marks of Excellence?

    Jeff, it would’ve been great to attend. Perhaps it’ll cross the pond one day.

  14. Yeah, I got it from Amazon on your reccommedation shortly after your post about it!

    I had a quick look at the time and it does look excellent, I’m sure I will get around to reading it eventually. Once I get this site redesign out of the way anyway.

  15. Thanks for the tip! I got the book and started reading it. Love it, even
    if I find it (on the first 20 pages at least) a touch too much on the “esoteric” side.
    What I love about it so far: It reminds me of thinking a little bit further when thinking symbols and design. Excellent tip.

  16. That looks like a great book. Your blog is great as usual David. :)

  17. Beth Ellen, been a while. How’s things with you? All good I hope.

  18. I am well David, thank you. I have been away due to health issues, surgery but am recovering well and just busy now with projects around home. I still want to learn to do logos. :)

  19. I’m very glad you’re well after. I hope it didn’t cause much pain. I’ve been quite lucky where hospitals are concerned. If you think I can ever help in your quest, do let me know.

  20. I missed this David.

    Yes, this is a must have book, it’s quite complex in it’s simplicity and there is so much interesting bits of information, also, an easy read.

    I was honored when the author approached me to feature some of my work in it.

    The book is well worth it.

    – Raja

  21. I just scanned the barcode off your screengrab – boy the price has gone up according to ShopSavvy’s scanner. Should have invested in 2008!

  22. Excited to have stumbled upon your book-list!

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