Designing Brand Identity

Designing Brand Identity

Alina Wheeler’s Designing Brand Identity: an essential guide for the whole branding team is currently in its third fourth edition. I don’t know why I haven’t picked it up sooner, given how closely the topic resembles Logo Design Love. Anyway. I’ve been dipping in and out and thought I’d share a quick look inside (the third edition).

“The tools have changed. The fundamentals have not. The questions are the same whether you’re on Facebook or in Shanghai: Who are you? Who needs to know? How will they find out?”
— ALINA WHEELER

The book’s split into three parts:

  1. Basics
    “The difference between brand and brand identity, and what it takes to be the best.”
  2. Process
    “This section answers the question “Why does it take so long?” and addresses collaboration and decision making.”
  3. Best practices
    “These highly successful projects created by branding firms and design consultancies inspire and exemplify original, flexible, lasting solutions.”

Designing Brand Identity

The content is arranged in a way that lets you read specific sections depending upon what’s most needed at the time. I didn’t thumb from front to back as if reading a novel, but instead focused on sections of most help to the tasks I was working on. There’s a definite text book feel (lots of lists, diagrams, charts, pull quotes) which is perhaps why Alina has been so successful getting the title included on many design course reading lists.

Designing Brand Identity

Do you know that little “Customers who bought this item also bought…” section on Amazon? Ever since my book was published, Alina’s has been a mainstay alongside it. In fact, a potential client approached me a couple of days ago after reading my book. He bought it at the same time as Designing Brand Identity. I didn’t think to ask if he’d approached Alina, too. Should’ve.

Designing Brand Identity

There’s so much relevant info in this book with most of it in blog post-sized chunks that I’m surprised Alina hasn’t included more on her website, or indeed launched a blog. A lot of the info details parts of the process that I hadn’t thought to include (in some cases hadn’t needed to) when working with clients — maybe because it’s targeted at branding teams, and not exclusively at self-employed designers. But I think it’s useful for both, even if I found that the layout made it difficult to stay focused on a specific train of thought — perhaps down to my reading preference more than anything.

My publisher labelled my book as beginner/intermediate. Alina’s is certainly a step up.

Designing Brand Identity

Find Alina Wheeler on Twitter.

Purchase Designing Brand Identity:

on Amazon.com
on Amazon.co.uk
on Amazon.ca

If you’ve read the book I’m interested to know what you thought.

Looking for more? A few good books.

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22 comments

  1. I’ve had the 2003 edition on my desk for years! It’s an excellent resource, and sits nicely alongside your own book and Michael Evamy’s Logo. Hopefully this edition has more focus on branding on the web – it’s incredible how quickly this area moves, so books on the subject can date rather rapidly.

  2. Christian Guidetti

    Count me in the category “People that purchased your book also purchased DBI” :)

  3. *Click* added to wish list ;) (which I use, kind of like a shopping list)

  4. Andrew

    I love this book! I have the second edition of it & I have gone back to it many, many times. Shows great examples & great processes.

  5. Everyone should buy this book. For those times when you need to explain things to a client in a simple concise way, this should be your bible. The simple layout and the content list allow you to find exactly what you’re looking for in seconds, and pretty much every aspect of branding is covered. I realise this is a brown-nose shining review, but it deserves it. This book has come to my rescue on a number of occasions.

  6. Hey! I just bought that book too!

    Definitely one of the better books on branding out there.

    So it goes…

    -dp

  7. “..even if I found that the content’s layout made it difficult to stay focused on a specific train of thought..”

    Although this book has been a wealthy resource for quite some time, I must agree to the quote above. To me, all the bits’n pieces (quotes and borrowed textual content from other sources) made it difficult to stay in focus of the actual story. It felt like a bit of a maze game to me.

    Nevertheless, I’d still recommend this book to anyone interested in branding identity.

  8. Clayton Borah

    I have the 2nd edition and reference it on a weekly not daily basis. I also wrote a 6 part series on my blog about the branding process using this book as reference.

  9. I love the way Alina has brought a complex idea about branding down to an irreducible and plain english minimum.

    Who are you?
    Who needs to know?
    Why should they care?
    How will they find out?

    Brilliant!

  10. Hello Everybody,
    I have just placed an order for Logo Design Love (David’s Book) and I just want to know how different or useful this book is from Logo Design Love.

  11. Thanks for the review, I am just getting into branding and logos hence the usefulness of this book.

  12. I suggest very often that book to my students. She’s simple to understand, very relevant, and offers an excellent way to understand the basic principle of branding. Maybe a French version in the future? I hope.
    Congratulations Alina!

  13. I saw Alina give a presentation about the content of this book at last year’s Design Thinkers in Toronto and she was such an incredible speaker. Had us answering those key questions – dynamic, interactive and compelling! Even had a gong! If she is ever in your city giving a talk – a definite must-see!

  14. Ariane

    I highly suggest DBI to those who want to start a business. The content is very interesting to read with the brand identities and how logos really affect the way a company is perceived. This is a very helpful guide in creating a good design for a business plan.

  15. ‘Designing Brand Identity’ has been an integral resource of mine for quite some time. As you quoted David, Alina’s mantra, “Who are you? Who needs to know? Why should they care? How will they find out?” (from the 1st Edition) continues to remain relevant – regardless of touch-point change. Alina recently finished ‘Brand Atlas’, with designer Joel Katz, a compendium of the smartest diagrams to chart businesses and brands. I am patiently waiting for my copy to arrive. Best, DD

  16. This book was required reading on one of my design courses at my college, I got to say its been extremely helpful and just full of allot of useful information! I strongly recommend this book!

  17. Alina did a wonderful interview with Ellen Lupton a few weeks ago. The audio was available on the AIGA site, if I recall correctly. She has a gift for describing – in simple terms – what brand development is all about.

    This book is definitely on my list to buy ASAP! Thanks for the review, David.

  18. I bought the book a while ago, and it has been by far the best read on brand identity, mainly for the fact that the subject is approached rationally, analyzed in depth, and well visualized.

    For those wondering about the difference from David’s book, this book covers a wider and more complex subject (branding), while not concentrating on all the specific aspects of logo design as one segment of it that David’s book covers. Hope it helps…

  19. I’ve had this book for a while and i must say i find it an excellent resource. One of my favourites for sure!

  20. Yep. As I was buying your book, I obeyed Amazon and bought her book too. I like it.

  21. I love this book, very insightful and a useful resource. I use it for a refresh when I have a new identity project along with your book.

  22. On every project I use this book. The introduction and how the information is structured makes things come together really easy. It a must have especially for students!

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