Musings on book writing

pencil eraser
Image copyright: the trial

I’ve been asked to author the first logo design book from Peachpit Press.

We’re discussing possible topics, and the aim is to publish a book that’s different from any other in the logo design market. I thought it’d be a good idea to involve you.

Peachpit Press

It’s funny how these things come about. Nikki (my contact at Peachpit) has long admired my logo design for Miskeeto, and it turns out that Robert Hoekman, who runs Miskeeto, is also a Peachpit author and one of Nikki’s long-time colleagues.

The main reason I’m asking for your advice is on the book’s focus. Nikki suggested we call the publication, “Logo Design Love“, then add a descriptive subtitle e.g. “Logo Design Love: the sketchpad diaries”, or, “Logo Design Love: iconic logo designers”.

Great idea, I thought, and a nice way to promote my website offline.

Here are just a few of the topics we’ve considered.

Creating effective identities

An all-encompassing look at the journey of a logo, from initial design brief through to style-guide and contextual use. Nikki thought we could include a section showing how to use Adobe Illustrator for creating specific logos. I’m reluctant, however, to incorporate software screenshots, as this automatically dates the content. Besides, Peachpit already publish some excellent Illustrator handbooks (I own one).

Iconic logo designers

This idea revolves around the iconic logo designers website. When compiling that resource, I chatted with many of the featured designers. They may want to participate in a book that highlights their skills.

Conversations from the blog

Since October 2006, I’ve published more than 450 blog articles, with the main emphasis upon logo design and the business around it. You’ve helped create some compelling debates in the comment section of certain articles, and there’s no denying the mass of possible book content contained within.

Why write a book?

Personally, business is better than ever, so do I need the additional workload? As with anything, there are pros and cons.

The preparation involved will undoubtedly improve my knowledge of the industry, which is a big plus, and in a way, I’d consider it like return to education — spending long periods of time researching a personally chosen subject. I’ve also been contemplating writing a book, although on the other hand, sacrifices will obviously need made, and I won’t be able to focus as much on client projects.

Self-publishing

It’s no longer a requirement to use traditional publishers, and with the digital age comes the ability to self-publish your book. Cardiff-based designer, Mark Boulton, is doing just that in the form of an ebook, and recently shared how he’ll deliver his published works online (broken link removed, 2014).

Blurb screenshot

Blurb and Lulu are two print-on-demand options, where I could always produce a small run of hard copies, for a memento more than anything.

Elliot Jay Stocks has recently finished writing a book, and although he used a traditional publisher to produce his writings, he’s now considering self-publishing for his next instalment.

One of the most appealing aspects of self-publishing, is that you create your own deadline, and aren’t working towards the schedule of a publisher. The last thing I want to do is cause anxieties when client projects may need precedence over looming book deadlines.

Your thoughts

Nikki and I both thought it’d be a good idea to gauge your opinion.

What content would compell you to buy a logo design book? If placed in my position, would you choose to run with an established publisher, or attempt to self-publish your book?

61 responses

  1. I think it’s a great idea! I don’t think it should be a question of “if” you should write a book but “do” you have the time for it? If business is good, then does it make sense to take your attention away from your work? I think books are great because they increase your exposure and credibility. I think you already have credibility but let’s be honest, can you ever have too much exposure?

    I’m in the process of writing a book, it’s been a real learning experience and I’ve enjoyed it so far. I say do it!

    http://twitter.com/Colorburned

  2. “What content would compell you to buy a logo design book?”

    I only own one logo book, it was an impulse buy and I’m not to fond of it, basically it is just a lot of logo’s covering every page.

    Sure, it works as a quick reference and inspiration but as a book, it’s as useless as a chocolate oven.

    Personally for me to buy a book about logo’s it would have to include, planning, sketches, concepts and final designs. It would be a much better read than just pages plastered with logo’s, however good the logo’s are.

  3. Hi David,

    You have lots of loyal fans, who I’m sure would appreciate a solid keepsake of your work :) My favourite thing about your site is that you don’t just display logo work,but actually talk about the process behind creating it… you show us your rejected sketches, you tell us what the client says and more. I would shy away from creating a mere gallery book, as there’s lots of books that have already done that (los logos series and many others). They are good, but I think you can do more than that. Maybe you could show people through the process of making different logos like a work book? You could give people a more solid understanding on how and why certain processes work. You could even showcase other designers that have something specific to teach as lessons. Part of each lesson could be seeking out both good and bad criticism and trying to work with it.

    Anyway, just thinking about what I personally would want from a logo book, but I’m sure you’ll get lots of suggestions from your readers :)

  4. I think your case studies, walking through the design processes of particular logos, would form an excellent basis for a book. Particularly talking through the *whole* process from initial brief through to sign off.

    Personally, I’d like to see something on the application of type, forms, composition and colour in logo design. This has been covered in more general design books but tends to be neglected in the logo design books I’ve read which tend to focus on showcasing various logos rather than discussing the logo design process itself in any particular detail.

    A well structured book talking through the design process with a liberal sprinkling of case studies would certainly be an excellent and welcome addition to my book shelf!

    On the subject of publishing, have you read the ongoing article by Mark Boulton on self-publishing at http://www.markboulton.co.uk/journal/C107/

  5. I think it is an excellent idea. As for incorporating screen shots, I think it would be more of an advantage than a disadvantage overall. Techniques don’t radically change from software version to software version, plus, it’s a good excuse for a new version/volume of the book every year or so. You could consider marrying the book content to some content online that you have created specifically for people who purchased the book, that way you’d have some control over updating it as needed to remain current – plus, it would draw more traffic. There’s no down side to this. It’s another form of creativity – an extension of what you already do and it could open up whole new avenues to you. Good luck!

  6. I have a few logobooks, old and recent and we at the agency subscribe to http://logolounge.com . Logos are not my speciality but I love to see great logos. Logos are probably the reason I found this site.

    What I find missing in the bookshelves is a logo book that describes the process of the making of the logo. Similar to what can be seen about the new FontExplorer logo http://hicksdesign.co.uk/journal/recent-work-fontexplorer-pro

    I am pretty sure that many more than me want to see inside the head of the designer.

  7. I agree with many of the comments already posted:

    1. You don’t need a reason to write the book. You need a passion.
    2. Do you have time?
    3. Re: content – show how logos were developed not just finished pieces.
    4. Re: self-publish or not – depends on your depth of passion and your budget!
    5. I like Scott Denney’s suggestion about marrying offline with online – drive people back to your website.
    6. Keep it simple.
    7. Don’t create a gallery book.
    8. Make your book a learning tool

  8. I tend to agree with the comments above on this idea. I am not a logo designer but still an avid reader of your blog. One of the main reasons I enjoy reading your articles is due to the fact that you explore so many aspects of the process: discovery, concept development, client interaction, revision, etc. I also appreciate the fact that you focus on both the designer and the non-designer (or potential client). You subtly illustrate the benefit and pleasures of working with a professional, without self promotion or the negativity often associated with choosing the alternatives. Your main goal seems to be educating your readers as well as learning through interaction with them. I think a book like this would give you an excellent opportunity to educate the designer, the interested non-designer as well as the potential client on logo design and design in general.

    These are my thoughts, I wish you the best of luck in the endeavor. I know I’ll be picking up a copy.

  9. David – Great to learn more about your project. I think a “Logo Design Love” would be a great book idea. With the blog you have an incredible archive of adaptable material and a well-established target market.

    Back in 2001-02 when I was approached by HOW Books to write a book, I had not given such a project much consideration at all. I was asked to submit three books ideas for consideration – and all three were immediately rejected.

    I was later contacted by a HOW editor and was told “we have the perfect book for you to write.” “The Savvy Designer’s Guide to Success” release in 2004 was the result – and suddenly multiple publishers (including Peachpit) expressed interest in doing future books with me. Contractual obligations gave HOW first right of refusal on my next book – and my proposal for “Identity Crisis!” was immediately accepted. It was much more the identity design related book I originally wanted to write.

    Working with an established publisher provides many advantages. It gives you, as an author, some legitimacy as a recognized expert in the your professional based in part on the reputation of the publishing company, and provides the ease of world-wide distribution – both online and in “real world” bookstores. A “name” publisher will also bring some proven marketing avenues to the promotion of a book. In my case, my publisher also produces HOW Magazine, and PRINT, and markets HOW books through forum ads, their website, their online bookstore, email newsletters and design conference promotion. Still, as another HOW author warned me before my first book contract was ever signed, an author will most likely end up doing most of the marketing and promotion for their own book. Your own book may be the center of your universe; while it is just one of sometimes hundreds of releases from a major publishing company.

    With the success of “Identity Crisis!,” once again came the interest of other publishers to produce my next book. One day, while at the local Powell’s Books, I noticed that a book topic I would buy was missing. In an email to HOW Books, I ran the idea by the powers that be. By the next day there was serious interest in moving forward on my idea – from HOW Books and one other publisher. In the end, I opted to continue my great association with HOW Books and just over a week ago I signed the contract for my next book, “Logo•Type.” The editor of my first two books, who I adore, will again edit my new book – which is very reassuring to any author. About the same time, my first book, “Savvy Designer” was released as a PDF on CD through HOWBookstore.com. I also signed an agreement to do three future webinars with HOW and will be speaking at the HOW Design Conference again this year. Some great cross-marketing opportunities.

    Again, several other publishers have expressed interest in possible future books.

    For some time I have wanted to write a very specific logo design book: realizing it may have less mass-market appeal than my other books. I am seriously considering self-publishing as an option for this much more personal effort. My proven track record as a marketable design author will be advantageous to me in a possible future self-publishing project. I have researched both Blurb and LuLu as possible resources.

    I guess that is the long way of getting around to recommending that you proceed with establishing a relationship with Peachpit – a well-respected entity in publishing industry. It would be a great opportunity for any first-time author.

  10. I the designers will be involved I vote for a discussion on the creative process. For example Christopher Silas Neal wrote few times about the process of researching and creating an illustration (http://www.redsilas.com/process.html) and I found it quite insightful.

    Also, what I personally find difficult is self-evaluating the graphical work: does it really communicate the idea, or is it only readable to me. professional insights into this would be valuable for any one who is starting out in graphic design.

    best of luck with writing,
    ana

  11. A more-detailed version of your logo design thought processes would be a good read, as would the other suggestions you made.

    I wouldn’t worry about the extra workload too much – we’re hugely busy, but I still find time at weekends and evenings to write books. It’s generally an enjoyable process, and helps me gain understanding of things that I otherwise wouldn’t spend time looking at.

  12. David,

    This is an exciting idea! I would be one of the first to purchase this book, for sure. My suggestions/recommendations:

    > I wouldn’t be opposed to the self-published idea as long as you could be sure to have a wide distribution network. For your first book, maybe it’d be better to leave a lot of those decisions and resources up to a publisher. I am definitely not an expert here, these are just my initial thoughts. I’m sure the advent and acceleration of internet access is making self-publishing easier.

    > Be sure to leave your personality in the words. Don’t stray much from the writing style of your blog. You have almost 10,000 followers for a reason!

    > I’d love to just get deeper insight into your personal process of developing logos. Everyone has their own routine and I think designers, like me, love to see what other designers do. Little things like, what time of the day do you like to brainstorm? Do you like to listen to music while designing? If so, what music? Do you let ideas “marinate” before sending on to your clients? etc.

    Thanks for sharing David, keep us in the loop!

  13. Oh, and I also meant to comment on the title. I love ‘Logo Design Love’ as the main title for many reasons. The subtitle really would depend on what your book is about. “Iconic Logo Designers” would really limit your focus to talking about famous logo designers. I don’t think this is a good direction for your book (unless you want to put me in it … kidding, I’m not worthy!).

    What you do best is making your process transparent, and glorifying the process as much as the finished product. For this reason, I think the subtitle “The Sketchpad Diaries” is much more along the lines of what I think would be the most interesting topic for your book.

  14. First of all, congratulations with the offer, David. That definitely shows how well you’ve proved yourself in the logo design industry.
    I like the idea of a book called something like: “Logo Design Love: the sketchpad diaries”, and like many of commentors above said, I love seeing and reading your logo design process from start to finish. If you could a book together that would cover logo design processes by you and other well established designers, talk about the challenges when dealing with clients and how you’ve overcome that, I will definitely buy such book.

    As for self-publishing or going with an established publisher, I’d say that if you didn’t have an option to go with a publisher, then certainly self-publishing is the way to go, otherwise it’s less hassle and more efficient to go with a publisher rather than do everything yourself.

    As for writing the book at all: it’s definitely a time consuming process, but it’s also a very rewarding one, so if you think you’re up to a challenge, then I’d love to own a book authored by you.
    All the best with whatever you decide.

  15. Greetings David,

    I’ve only been coming to this website a little over a week; yes I’m a newbie and I’m already hooked. I love reading your blogs and most importantly, the comments other visitors have to say and then your responses to them.

    To write a book or not to write a book? Hmmm. Again, I’ve only just started coming here (and have since subscribed to the RSS feeds for your blogs) and I don’t intend to stop reading your blogs.

    Like many of the other visitors, I love reading your processes to creating these wonderful logos (I’ve since learnt a thing or two… yes indeed I have)… now imagine if all that knowledge were to be unleashed in a book, and you already have a set a fans. Let’s face it, we’re fans and we like how you put things into words (blgos) and into imagery (by way of logo designs), and I’m sure we’ve all somehow, someway, learnt from what’s posted here, if not directly from you, from each (e.g. Liz Hover’s summising of what we’re all saying – she’s right BTW :-) yep, she is)…it’s only a matter of time before some young pup (artsy uni student) picks up a book that takes the reader through a journey of creating logos, what works, what doesn’t work, methodologies, ideation-to-sketching-to-placement-to-finalising-to-…. you get the picture.

    Today, a book of personal voyage in creating iconic logos, tomorrow, a standard textbook that ‘knowledgifies’ the reader on logo creation.

    Ok, forgive my word creation there :-), knowledgify is not a word! (unless it’s used correctly)

  16. I do agree with a few others here; you have many loyal readers who would likely jump at the chance to buy a book written by you. There are a number of other factors to consider, such as:

    1. The authority factor: Work is good now, but perhaps there is another way to profit from this authority (if that’s a goal).

    2. Being timeless: A book that can possibly be written that holds principles that will still hold true in 20 or 90 years? Priceless.

    3. Integrating blog content isn’t a bad thing: Your blog is really helpful and has a great readership. Perhaps even asking the readers or taking a vote/poll on favorite topics will help you put together a book in a timely fashion… even while possibly integrating new content.

    Good luck!

  17. not to beat a dead horse by agreeing with everyone above, but i also think it’s a great idea. I would definitely go with the publisher. mainly for the experience. at the end, you could hate it or love it, but either way you’ll atleast know how you feel about it. if you choose to self publish, it may leave you guessing about ‘what if i had gone the publisher route’. since the opportunity is there, i say “you can do it”, and “should do it”.

    any which way, good luck, and, i bought jeff’s book, so i’m sure i’ll buy yours, whether it’s self published or through a publisher.

  18. I’m going to have to agree with the masses and say that I would love to see a book full of process. While it’s nice to see the finished product, I feel it is far more informative to see all the rejects that were passed on the road to that product. Process focused publications also help those of us who are looking for a starting point or an organizational system to really get a handle on such a specific area (ie: I’m a photographer who is using her art education to supplement the family income with design work). Perhaps at least one full case study that begins with the client approaching and details every gritty moment until the final delivery. The only gallery I’d like to see is a gallery of rejects, with reasons why they didn’t quite work.

    As far as the actual writing process is concerned, as a “book widow” (DH is constantly authoring new articles and books in his field), be sure that you’re willing to put in the time, but more importantly that anyone who has come to a place where your presence is integral in their daily life on a personal level is also willing to put in the time. The writing process consumes the entire household, so just a thought to consider before jumping in.

    Finally, if there’s an established publisher willing to take on your work, my personal opinion is to go with them. After all the trials and tribulations of creating the manuscript are finally over, do you really want to find yourself under the added duties that come with the logistics of getting that manuscript into print form? Yes, there will be a certain amount of control to give up in letting the publisher take over that part of the process, but ask yourself if it is worth it to let them do it instead.

  19. Regarding whether to self-publish or not to self-publish, I have to say I agree with Paul on this one. It is ‘nice’ to say ‘I published my own book’ especially in this fast-paced world of achievements however, it is good to get the experience. At least, once you’ve published through a publisher, you will learn from that and there will of course be things you could do better if handled yourself (or even the opposite, you’ll discover things which you might not necessarily want to engage and be thankful you didn’t. Besides, publishers publish, so let them do it (for now at least)

    :-)

    Imagine employing the skills of a nephew to create or revamp the logo of a company just because ‘the nephew knows how to wield Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator’? Just imagine that!

    With the option to use a publisher, I’d say use them… this time!

    Only my humble opinion… of course!

  20. David,

    There is no clear solution or right right way to go about finding it.

    Whether you self-publish, write a free e-book, sign with an established publisher, or develop a microsite, what matters is YOU! You have built an audience of influence who can share and help you get the word out.

    I am biased because not only am I a writer (of sorts) but I am also fascinated by creations made by talented people. Sure, there are websites to visit but what makes a book more unique is your personal touch and explanation.

    There are a couple hundred thousand books published each year, and like with any business decision you must ask – why?

    Or better yet, why not? Let’s not confuse activity with progress, and let’s not forget that only you can write your book.

    Good luck either way and congratulations on the offer, I know you’ll do a briliant job.

    km

  21. The thing that would compel me to read a logo book would be to go further in depth with your logo design process. Those posts are always good to read and I enjoy seeing your sketching of how you mind mapped your way to your final choices. So a book that really expounds on that and can teach me how to develop a logo design process also would be beneficial.

    I would go with the publisher because it has more credibility. Being a published author should help our more with your personal brand/resume.

  22. David, congrats on the book offer, it really proves your expertise in the area. I love the idea of the ‘logo design journey’. To many logo books, as has already been said are gallery books. They’re just not engaging enough. One of my favourites is ‘Logo Savvy’ by WOW Branding. Its full of case studies, a very interesting read, I read it from cover to cover. Now much of my reading about logo design is on the web, on blogs such as yours, as I can’t find enough educational and engaging logo books on the shelves. I think alot of your readers enjoy the educational aspect your blog offers and the insight you provide. A book full of this would be fantastic! I’d like to see the process from that questionnaire you get back from the client, how much info you start off with, to how much client contact is needed, does it vary, do you get designers block…etc.

    As for why write the book? It can only raise your profile as a logo designer and I’m sure it would give you a massive sense of achievement!

    I hope you choose to write it, good luck!

  23. Firstly, a big congrats, David!! How exciting!

    What content would compell you to buy a logo design book?
    I’m always interested in books that break down the design process, not just into steps (that’s easy), but into exactly how to do each step and plenty of examples. Even unsuccessful examples are helpful if why they didn’t work is pointed out. A list of pitfalls (like making lines too thin?) are always helpful, too!

    It would also be helpful to have a case study section that discussed why the logo was chosen (how it related to the brand) and why specific design decisions were successful in business terms (that’s a hard one, but we’re faced with that every day, aren’t we?).

    Maybe the introduction of the book can be some ideas on how to gauge how much to charge (seems no one ever likes to talk about this). I don’t mean give an exact price, but more how to do research to figure that out. Are logo prices different than any other design project? Perhaps a touch on basic design principles (esp. shape, color) would be appropriate, too.

    If placed in my position, would you choose to run with an established publisher, or attempt to self-publish your book?
    I haven’t researched this too much, but off the top of my head I would say go with a well-known publisher. They know what kind of author would sell well and the fact that they’ve asked you means they value your expertise and think you have something to contribute. That’s something to be very proud of! Plus, as others have mentioned, going with a well-known publisher gives you credibility.

    BTW, just to keep in mind, I’ve heard that most often authors don’t get to design, have input on or even see the cover of their book until it arrives in the mail. Maybe a negotiating point to keep in mind?

  24. David – I agree with many of your commenters. The value that you offer your readers is your willingness to document process. Please don’t put together another gallery publication. There are too many already, both in print and online. What we could use, however, is a book that highlights maybe 20 or 30 really effective logos, documents the creative process (including the client brief, what worked and didn’t work, troubleshooting, etc) and showcases the final product in application. Because a logo is really only effective if it works in application. It might also be interesting to learn about a few logos that looked great on paper, but tanked in application, and how they had to be adjusted. Finally, a section on colour and shape theory would be helpful.

    Congrats! I’m sure it will be a great book.

  25. Honestly you are a huge inspiration for me and I check here daily, but one thing that I wish I knew more of was you design process. I know you touch on the basic steps of a project…but I would like to see it all.

    It would be great to have a book that takes everything from the client interaction through the brainstorming, iterations and final product all the way through creating an identity around the logo (stationary, style doc, business cards etc…) all from the stand point of yourself. Then tack on the posts you have on here to give a quick look at how you have done other projects. It could be a hybrid logo design book/blog compilation.

    That would be a book I would buy!

    I just don’t need another book that either vaguely covers design (some less so than even posts on this blog) or one that is just pages of logos I get to see on every corner for free.

    I also say find a publisher. Yes, they will take a cut but at the same time they will have a farther reach than you alone and in the end you will not only make more profit, but also be more widely recognized. Plus saying “I have been published” sounds more credible than “I published my own book”. ;)

    Oh and don’t bother explaining how to use the program like you said, it would date the book as well as I think it would digress too much.

  26. Hi David,

    I’m just starting out, and it’s *really* exciting to see you living some of the dreams i have, namely writing a book on design. And that’s what I think that this book should be about. If you want it to be different from any other book out there, then make it truly different. Instead of glossy pages with shiny, happy logos, show the messy sketches, the ‘light bulb moment’ of finding the best solution, and then a single example of the *best* representation of the final logo design, be that a business card, or a website, or a simple radial gradient.

    As can always be said of a good logo design, it should be profoundly simple, yet simply profound. Showing us the ways to do that, the theories behind that. That would be a new kind of book.

    I know I’d want one. ;)

    Whatever you choose, I’m sure it will work out. Your certainly an authority in my eyes, and a wonderful role model. I hope I can create such things in my lifetime.

    -Zach LeBar

  27. From a student’s standpoint I couldn’t agree more with the previous responses. I see too many books with an array of designs only to be explained by a short paragraph, or blurb about the client. Sometimes I wanted to know the journey that project took, bad and good. Also providing a varied assortment of client discipline or direction they needed would be helpful. I see in some other books authors leaning towards a specific trend, which never helps in a creative slump. Best of luck if you decide to go through with it.

  28. David, I think you should definitely go for it. You have a great way of “keeping it real” in your discussions and a book in that same down to earth style would go a long way and would make a great read.

  29. Firstly; congratulations. It’s good to see someone reaping rewards of hard work.

    Secondly; respect! on you thinking of how this will affect your clients’ work (and the attention you’ll be able to dedicate to their projects).

    Thirdly; I’m happy you didn’t make “fame” and “money” your major deciding factors!

    Good luck!

  30. Whoah this has sparked a lot of interest very quickly. I think that alone says a lot.

    Personally I think it’s an awesome idea. I thoroughly enjoy your writing on here and Logo Design Love and would be proud to have a printed version on my bookshelf.

    As for self-publishing or not, I’d probably opt for going with a traditional publishers, although I’m no expert in this field. I just think it would give you more reach and cheaper publishing costs, but then I don’t know how much the publisher would snatch up. Hmm I’d have to think about that one.

    The themes sound good. I’d just love to see the same trend of topics as on this blog, spoken in the same voice really.

  31. Well, if I were you I would definitely publish the logo book (as I have my own – not logos, but marketing thumb-rules). Though LuLu & Blurb can be prohibitively expensive … especially if you want in color (as I would advise), and if you want to make a buck (which is always nice)… and they may not offer the greatest distribution into Amazon, B&N, mom’n’pop, etc.

    So that’s why I published through LightningSource.com — in fact, NY Times today: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/28/books/28selfpub.html talks about this, where I re-visited Amazon’s CreateSpace (I believe it used to be called BookSurge, unless they replaced or added to that)… While my book cost would be about the same (and distribution limited to Amazon), a color book can be produced with them for much less than what I’ve found out there.

    I help a number of professionals (now independent authors) to market their book (thus, their practices) so I keep an eye out for these technologies. Go for it!

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/28/books/28selfpub.html

  32. I definitely think you should write a book, David. I have learned so much from following your blog. I think that some people may be reached by a book that may have never read any of your online posts. It will probably reach a whole new audience that could really benefit from your knowledge. Go for it and good luck to you!

  33. A fantastic response! Thanks for your opinions. You’ve definitely helped clear some of my thoughts. Let me attempt to respond individually, and apologies in advance if I leave anyone out.

    Grant (Colourburned),

    I hope you continue enjoying your book writing endeavours. If you don’t mind me asking, what’s the topic?

    Mark,

    Sounds like a couple of logo books I own. Good for a quick inspiration fix, but not very insightful.

    Kat,

    You’re right, there are plenty of logo gallery books on the market, and I’d never really anticipated planning my own (besides, topping Michael Evamy’s Logo would be too difficult).

    I like your idea of showcasing the inner-workings of other designers, because I’m not sure I’ve kept enough of a record of my personal work from which to fill a book, certainly not without a lot of overlap between the book and my portfolio blog entries.

    Cole,

    I have indeed been following Mark Boulton’s publishing progress. It’s insightful.

    Scott,

    Your point about screenshots needing updated, and how this can create further editions, is a valid one. To be honest, should I go ahead, I’d approach the book as a one-off. Something that can stand alone for, ideally, many years without dating. I’d be putting a lot of effort into it, and am cautious that once complete, I may not want to do it again. Still, I do appreciate your opinion.

    Sigurdur,

    Those sketches are great, aren’t they? I missed that post on hicksdesign, so I’m glad you linked to it.

    Liz,

    Your eight points are very close to my thoughts. I know I have the passion, but time is a main concern. I’d actually think about dropping client work for a while, in order to concentrate on the book — an extremely fortunate position to be in.

    Jeremy,

    It’s good of you to say why you visit my blog, and you’re spot on how I aim to educate with my blog posts. I know I can improve, but it’s an underlying aim. The point all goes back to how my favourite blog authors advise to be as transparent as possible. That’s what attracts me to reading other websites.

    Jeff,

    Thanks for divulging more info on your own publisher relationships. That proved a nice read, and I’m glad that HOW have been treating you well. Having taken on board everyone’s comments, it definitely seems that partnering with an established publisher is the best option for me. Especially as it’d be my first time authoring a book, so thanks again, for both your comment, and for your time communicating via email.

    ana,

    Thanks for the well-wishes, and your vote on what you’d like to see.

    Richard,

    Yep, I’d definitely want to go into more detail than my portfolio entries. Just thinking about it seems a little daunting, but no-one says writing a book is easy.

    What topics do you write about? Have you been working with any publishers at all?

    Matt,

    Good advice, thanks. I’m sure it’d mean a lot more work if I was to change my writing style, as after a couple of years continuous ‘conversational writing’, I’m not sure how I’d approach anything different. I’ll keep your questions in mind, and will definitely keep you informed of an update.

    Vivien,

    Thanks a lot for your support. “Less hassle” with an established publisher — that’s a big clincher. Mark Boulton has a great team he’s working with, and seems to have gone to considerable effort to set-up a distribution tool for his self-publishing. With my own writings, I’d send advance copies to a select group of designers, and you can be sure you’re on such a list.

    Francisco,

    Firstly, welcome to my website. I’m not surprised you’ve enjoyed reading the comments others leave here. They’re a continuous source of encouragement and inspiration for me. “Knowledgify” — that’s a good’un.

    Terra,

    Producing content that’s ‘timeless’ is at the top of my priority list. Just how qualified I am to achieve such a book, well, time will be my judge. Good idea to hold a poll on favourite blog content. I might just do that, thanks.

    Paul,

    Regardless of the outcome, I agree how the experience of going with a publisher would be useful. If nothing else, I’m curious how the process flows. I appreciate your good luck.

    Whitney,

    I think any book will probably include at least one full case study, from initial communication (how client and designer came into contact / how a deal was struck etc.) to the final design (shown in context). You’re not alone in wanting to see that.

    The writing process consumes the entire household, so just a thought to consider before jumping in.

    I’d thought about that too, and have already discussed writing a book with my girlfriend. No kids to consider as yet, so maybe nows the right time.

    Kneale,

    A thought-provoking comment, and your support is appreciated. Thank you.

    Jeremy,

    The credibility factor is a plus when partnering with a publisher, nice point.

    Grainne,

    I’ve not seen ‘Logo Savvy’ before, but I’ll look out for it. You make it sound like one I’d enjoy too.

    Lauren,

    The ‘how to?’ aspect was one of Nikki’s first ideas. Peachpit specialise in tutorial-style books, so they’d obviously want any new offering to tie-in with their catalogue. It’s good that’s what you’d like to see too.

    As for the actual design of the book, I mentioned to Nikki that I’d want to take care of this myself. That could be a fun part of the project too!

    freddygirl,

    Don’t worry. This won’t be another logo gallery. Describing how logos need adjusting for different media is an interesting thought. Thanks for taking the time.

    Dead.Pixel,

    That’d be one way I’d consider approaching the task — one main descriptive ‘how-to’ of the design process, with my portfolio entries attached as smaller reference points (but maybe expanded upon a little). There seems to be a general consensus among the commenters. Cheers for telling me what you think.

    Zach,

    Your thoughts of ‘messy sketches’ and ‘light bulb moments’ mirror my own, and you’ve been very kind in your praise. Thanks a lot.

    Right, my laptop battery is on its last legs (am out of the office), so I’ll have to wrap this up.

    Before I do, a quick shout out to Trevor, Brian, Mokokoma, Nathan, Tammy, Vikram and Kelly. Your support is superb, and has me pretty much convinced to run with the project.

    Bye for now!

  34. Hi David,

    Congratulation for the opportunity. Personally I feel you first need to identify for who you want to write the book for. That will dictate the direction to take content wise.

    To my opinion, there would be 3 valuable direction you should consider.

    The How to: Where you emphasize on the process, brainstorm techniques, the importance of sketching time, research and developing a strong storyline behind the logo to prove its relevance. The “must have” for every young designer (just like David Ogilvy on advertising).

    The simple compilation and case of study: Wrap up of your best work including cases of study. That would be the kinda book a person like me would definitely buy because you became an icon in the logo making industry. Not too many people can say that their blogs are featured on MSNBC feeds.

    A third approach that could be equally interesting would be to make a book “à la” Paul Arden on David Airey himself, how he made it and survive in this industry featuring interesting stories, cases of study, design principles, philosophic notes about design and a wrap up of your best work, a case of study or two as well as a summary of your process.

    As for the publishing issue, I wouldn’t worry about it since your name is known enough that you will probably get total creative control even if you do business with a publisher.

    Best of luck!

  35. I wish you the greatest success on the art and efforts of writing a book.

    In my own fledgling experience, the book writing part, is the most enjoyable. It is amazing to do the research and put the thoughts together. Like building a house from square uno, it takes so much shaping and outlining…

    I have problems with the publishing part. But many, many do.

    However, I think you’ll do smashingly well. ;)

    Good Book Writing!!!

  36. David, apologies but I haven’t read down all the comments to here… (time)

    Agreed… tutorials in Illustrator will date the book.

    –>> Since October 2006, I’ve published more than 450 blog articles, with the main emphasis upon logo design and the business around it.

    I believe you should write about what you know, then branch out from there.

    ‘logo design and the business around it’

    What you know and what you are learning year by year – and sharing here – is why you have the audience you do.

    That is your strength.

  37. One more thing…

    ‘If placed in my position, would you choose to run with an established publisher, or attempt to self-publish your book?’

    For your first book, I’d go with an established publisher to learn the ropes.

    For the second, gage how the process went and then make your decision at that point. Did they ease the way for you? Are you willing to do their job?

    There isn’t a lot of money writing books for publishers, and if you self-publish (and the book is a hit) you do get to keep more.

    But, some publishers are known to do a bang up publicity push.

    I my opinion, publicity is one of the main reasons for writing a book on design (have you ever heard of design authors getting rich?)

    If you self-publish, writing a book is only the beginning. You drive everything. Publicity… etc.

    If it were me… I’d self-publish at some point. But only you can decide at which point.

  38. “What content would compell you to buy a logo design book?”

    A great cover of course! No, but tutorials are great. I’m a novice with design and I always like books that can teach as well as feature great work.

  39. Being a Graphic design design student, i’ve bought quite a few logo design books. Where i find them lacking is showing the design process, and what goes into making a great logo.

    I want to know what processes has the designer gone through. Why have they done things one way and not the other.

    Overall more of an overview of the whole process, than just a book of logos that most of the books seem to be like today.

    Hope this helps

  40. “What content would compell you to buy a logo design book?”

    An insight onto how landmark logos were made. Sort of an aesthetic commentary on important logos, why they are good and why they are bad, context and a bit about the author. From an as wide range as possible. I would also like seeing them in relation, or intertwined, with your own logos (makes it less dry, a bit more personal, easier to give real-world examples).

    And never forget that drop of humour ;).

    I’ve flipped trough a couple of Logo books, the one I really liked (and the only 1 I have) is “Logo Design Workbook” by Sean Adams, Noreen Morioka.

    Well, good luck then :D

  41. Self publishing is a cool idea, but be careful. I’ve heard that once you self-publish the bigger publishing houses can almost black-list you from ever being “truly” published. Could just be a nasty rumor though… :)

  42. I agree, I think if You are capable of writing something new, do some big research – You should – I don’t know how about business part, but I think it’s the best feeling You can leave something behind. Give something back to design community.

  43. Congrats David,
    Very excited hearing the news.

    I like to see ‘Creating effective identities’ as the main part of the book. We can find details about great logo designers and designs at many places. But not some real insight on how to do that.

    Cheers for your idea of gathering feedback from your readers :)

  44. Congrats on finding the opportunity to do a book! I’m afraid I’m not much use on the subject of logo design, but re whether to go with a publisher or DIY, my criteria would be (in order of preference):

    1. Editorial – working with a good (and sympathetic) editor can make your book much better than if you go it alone. Whether or not you accept all of an editor’s suggestions, having a skilled professional look at your words with a fresh eye can be invaluable.

    2. Marketing — will they help you shift more units and get a higher profile than you could manage yourself? I’m guessing they probably wouldn’t be able to add much to your own efforts in terms of web marketing — but if they can help you with effective off-line marketing initiatives, then combining that with your web presence could be very effective.

    3. Production values — for a design book, this could be really important. High-quality printing and a bit of magic in the book design could make the world of difference to a design oriented audience.

    4. Credibility — if we agree with Seth Godin that the main value of a book these days a business card/souvenir, then being published by a respected publisher could give you added credibility in some people’s eyes. I guess it depends who you want to impress!

    All the best with the project, I’m sure you’ll come up with something interesting, even to nondesigners like me!

  45. Well, it’s in your blog – the logo, the inspiration, the process. they are good contents of a book. A chapter is about all the logos you have designed and your inspirations. A small box on the page would be about the company who owns the logo. One chapter would be some of the best and classic logos of all times and the history behind it. The 3rd section is about your tips. The book has to be useful. Something that would benefit every book lover; not just something you display on a book shelf. It should create an activity for students and enthusiasts. It should impart knowledge and inspiration. When I open the book, I would like to see the 3 sections in every page instead of the traditional chapter 1, chapter 2, etc. Best logo on top + its history; your logo and inspiration in the middle; and at the bottom, your tips to share. That will be knowledge, inspiration, and learning. In that kind of format, every reader will have to flip every page instead of reading only a favorite chapter.

  46. Congratulations David, I really enjoy reading the stories behind the logos that you create. The design process is cool but its the stories that help me to appreciate your finished product even more. When I read that your client is pleased with the finished piece, I am pleased because I am a fan of your work. So I guess I like rooting for you and equally enjoy your wins.

    Your explanations of why you won are great, its almost like seeing the highlights of the championship game commentated by the MVP of the game. Who wouldn’t like that?

    One idea for your book would be to look at the not for profit organizations that have some very dated logos and offer to help them rebrand themselves as part of your project. The benefit could be tremendous. You may be able to take tax deductions for your in kind gift of service and you also could distribute your book to there constituent base by offering to donate a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the book back to their cause. It could be truly a win win scenario.

    Just think of how the corporate executives and business leaders that sit on these nonprofit boards will feel about David Airey doing a book signing at their national or international convention especially when a portion of the proceeds come back to their organization. Win Win Win!
    Best regards,
    Cirilo

  47. Well to be honest, I think it is a great idea to write a book. I mean you communicate every day with your readers, followers and clients, and you give them updates and more and more information daily about updated topics like logos, designs and everything.

    I think a book talking about your passion for design, and why designing and logo and branding for your company is a good thing. I mean many people enjoy reading, many people enjoy reading books and most of these people dont take their time reading online. They like to sit by a fireplace and read a book, so it would be like reaching out to them offline and reaching to those that don’t read online with blogs.

  48. David,

    The target audience is certainly an important factor. The book is to be aimed at a wide logo audience, from those involved with their design, to those curious about how they’re created (much like the hoped-for audience on Logo Design Love).

    Thanks for offering those three possible directions, and you’re right about the design control — Peachpit can set-up a design template based upon a sample chapter I provide them with, which is great.

    Ben,

    I appreciate you backing me up about the screenshots. I’ll not be using any.

    Jason,

    I’ll be working with Peachpit on this one, provided they offer me a contract (nothing has been agreed upon as yet). That’ll hopefully avoid those publishing issues you mention.

    Cat,

    Thanks very much. Writing a book wouldn’t be for any earnings made from the sale, but rather as an extra avenue to educate and promote good design practice. Nikki, at Peachpit, has been great with me so far, and that definitely helps with my decision to use a respected publisher.

    Dawn, Nigel, Armin, Dainis, Chaitanya

    Good of you all to leave some feedback, thanks very much.

    Thomas,

    Some great books mentioned there, no doubt. I’ll have to flip through my collection for some inspiration.

    James,

    First time I’ve heard that actually (about publishing houses black-listing you).

    Mark,

    All valuable pointers there. I’m sure I can learn a great deal through working with a publisher, especially where editing is concerned. The last time I wrote anything of great length was for my disseration, many years ago, and I didn’t score too highly!

    Tony,

    That’s an interesting idea, mixing the content up like that. I’ll have to give the layout quite a lot of thought.

    Cirilo,

    Thanks for your ideas. I’m a big advocate of helping non-profits / local charities, so yours is another factor to give thought to. Cheers buddy.

    Shawn,

    Having to spend most of my working day reading from a computer screen really helps me appreciate the printed page. Definitely one of my considerations when thinking about a book.

    Thanks again for everyone’s continued feedback. Great stuff.

  49. Just to say, I’ll definately buy such a book if it ever appears! I have a shelf full of logo design books but really, they tend to avoid the subject of planning/brainstorming and what works and what doesn’t. I hope yours will be an exception.

  50. Honestly, I’m not 100% sure I’ll buy a logo design book. I’ve been through a few at my local bookstore, and most of them are just a large collection of logos.

    As previously mentioned by some people, it’s fine for a quick reference, but for those interested in the nuances of logo design or the ‘behind the screens’, most of these books are fairly unhelpful.

    However, if your book is anything like your blog posts, you’ve got one customer in me.
    I really do hope you write the book and do it in your current style.

    While I don’t particularly mind not being spoon fed, even though I absolutely love it, I’d much rather be enlightened. Which you really do help with when you write your blog posts.

    All the best.

  51. Hi David, It may have been mentioned already, but a strong USP for me would be relatively substantial detail on process, eg, research/observation, mind mapping, thumbnailing, development, through to final designs & presentation. Perhaps it may be helpful to do this in context of a comprehensive case stuy, from start to finish. I think this alone would be a tremendous help and insight to beginning designers.

  52. Hector, Nikhil, Jonathan,

    Thanks for commenting. Since publishing this post I’ve been busy working on a table of contents and contacting some iconic logo designers. So far so good, and I’ll write an update for my blog sometime soon.

  53. I recently spoke to a friend about commissioning a logo design. A day and a half after putting in the request, he received fifteen possible logos, most of which looked like bad clipart. When I had a conversation with the designer on his behalf, I learned that his creative process was to sit on Illustrator and churn out as many ideas as he could to send to the client.

    I applaud the idea of your book. I would suggest omitting Illustrator instructions and screenshots – for software manuals are easy to find and often comprehensive. Developing an effective client brief, doing market research, using sketching or other methods to develop concepts and then followthrough with delivery and ongoing communication with clients are amazing skills which I think you are immensely qualified to pass on to young designers.

  54. I have quite a few Peachpit books including Robert Hoekman’s Designing the Moment which was useful. I would find a logo design book that presented the creative process useful as well. There are already plenty (read: too many) books that show how to use software but few that detail the iterative thinking and process that goes into logo design. If you can find the time and inspiration I would suggest you go for it. I’m a buyer.

  55. Marcus,

    I shall indeed be omitting Illustrator screenshots. A few others have suggested I do so, and I’m in agreement. Thanks very much for your kind words and encouragement.

    Dennis,

    That’s great to know. There’ll be an upcoming blog post with more definite book contents. If you have time, it’d be good to know what you think once it’s published.

  56. It’s probably very late to give my view (considering i’ve read a few posts mentioning how far you are with the book…

    but i don’t own any logo books, and would probably never buy a “normal” one.with a book (even an informational one) I like it to spark my imagination, and teach me something, and I think one way of doing that for me with logos, would be a page detailing the brief so we know what you’ve got to do, a few pages of sketches, then the finished logo, missing out the middle steps.

    the process would be different for many people, but looking at the ideas which form out of a brief would be great, then seeing the finished logo, and having to work out WHY that one was chosen (even finding the sketch it was based on). I think that would help show me how your mind works when you work.

  57. It is too late to have an influence, Chris, as I’m tying up the final details and working through the final copy editing stages. My book will, however, focus on the process of identity design, and shows a lot of different projects—from many talented designers.

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