Since the Identity Designed website was launched in 2010, it’s been a bit of a labour of love sharing insights into more than 500 projects from design studios at the top of their game. Eight years later and I’m delighted to have signed a book deal with Rockport to bring the name to print.

The book will take readers behind-the-scenes at around 20 studios from across the planet, giving a detailed look at one of the most interesting visual identity projects from each. It will cover workflow aspects from pricing and invoicing to generating ideas and reaching consensus on the strongest direction.

It’s aimed at design students with an interest in visual identities, professional designers who want to know how their peers handle projects, and business owners outside the design profession who want to make the most of their time collaborating with studios.

Studio contributions

Each feature will be a 50/50 split between text and imagery. The images will also be split between process and final result, because it’s the sketches, digital roughs, unused ideas, and photos of experimentation that can really tell the story of how the job gets done.

Text will give an insight into the following topics:

The resulting features will be mini-lessons on the process of creating a visual identity. It’ll be quite a unique compilation, merging memorable design with lasting advice.

If there are any particular studios you’d like to see featured, please leave a comment or send an email:

Update: January 2019
Get your copy here. I’m so grateful for the work my publisher and the contributors put into this.

January 10, 2018


Love this David! I can’t wait for the book. I’d like it if you went into depth on the subject of planning and structuring a project. Even as far as the software used to plan, bill, write a proposal, etc.

I feel that the creative part of getting to an idea and designing the identity is something most people have a handle on… And it doesn’t really matter which of the many roads you take, as long as you end up with a great design.

However, with things that are more of an administrative nature… There’s very possibly an optimal road to take… And since this is the more boring part for designers, it’d be pretty good to streamline that process (and automate or make it easy) as much as possible.

Oh, and I’d also love to know about working internationally via the web, with regards to copyright, payment and such…

PS. My personal ‘main’ inspiration as far as studios goes is HeyDays.
I think they’d be great to feature in the book.
All the best!

This is going to be a great insight into the logo processes of top agencies. Can’t wait to get it. Hopefully it will be out in time to give myself a Christmas present.

Anybody who has read David Airey’s book, “Work for Money, Design for Love,” will no doubt start saving money for this ID (Identity Designed) book.

The question I am asking David is, “What kept you so long before releasing, yet, another reliable book (like the ‘Logo Design Love’ and the ‘WFM, DFL’?”

I completely agree with you, Simon! I have read that book and I am eagerly waiting for this one too!

David, I have been inspired to work on what I love through “Work for Money, Design for Love.” It has changed my perspective towards design and it’s so motivating that it just keeps you on your toes when reading… constantly curating ideas on you projects. Thank you so much for that life-changing book! Looking forward to the new one!

Hi David, this is exciting, cannot wait for this book to come out. What fantastic news to start the new year. I agree with Paul Christian’s comments, the administration side of design is not my best and I’d love to know how to write proposals, document and track jobs, etc.

I would love it if you could feature Grid Worldwide.

Cheers and all the best.

Hi David, this is super exciting news. According to your research headers, the book will be focusing on the realistic points where creativity / visual identities happen to solve customer problems. We can’t wait to get our hands on a copy.

Our model studios for sustainable visual systems — SocioDesign, Anagrama, Fabio Ongarato, Essen International, Kontrapunkt, and Bibliothèque. We would love to read about what they accomplished, and how.


Hi David,

I think it’s curious these days to examine the role of digital-first, and indeed digital-only brands. A lot of us are designing for RGB first and foremost, with print and other material stuffed into a long list of nice-to-haves.

I’d be very interested to read a chapter on the role of social in how companies and brands are designed. Obviously this includes animation and gradients, but I think it’s deeper than that. Colour choice, form, logo vs. larger visual style, curating photography, etc. Some food for thought.

Also, make sure you poke rookie designers to learn what the heck CMYK is and how it works!

Simon, been having too much fun with client projects, and spending time with family. I’m ready for it, though.

Prescott, I’m not quite sure what you mean by the role of social. The idea is to divide the book by studio rather than by topic, so you’ll be able to read one section and get a full picture of the process, read another and get a different studio’s take, and so on.

Thanks very much everyone, for all the suggestions and support. It means a lot.

Good day David,
I have been following ID for a long time, checking several days a week if there is any new content published. The site has always been a reference while creating identities. One thing I discover is: while the process and the outlook looks great, creative, and surprising, some identities fail to survive through time (I checked some of them on the internet, they are not available now). When they don’t exist now, questions enter my mind: How do the studios prepare or what do they do to make the identity survive through time? What are their strategies? If the identity doesn’t exist anymore, is this a sign that it wasn’t well-created or well-executed? How do studios prepare/anticipate for this to their client?

I think it’s important to include in your new book as new identities emerge as spores, very fast.
Thank you.

Congratulations David! I wanted to drop a line and tell you that I really enjoyed reading your book “Work for Money, Design for Love.” It has really helped me to put my current design path in perspective. I appreciate you sharing your knowledge with us all. Thank you again!

Dan Budzban

Thanks very much, Marianne, Helene.

Good of you to follow, Ardi, and share your thoughts. When an identity no longer exists, it’s not always a case of it being bad, or needing changed. Sometimes new management wants a new look, simply to put their mark on things (for better or worse). We’ve seen a lot of good logos being replaced with weaker ideas. Most of the time we never find out the real reasons why.

Dan, that’s superb to know, thank you.

It looks like it’s going to be a success! Regarding the design process, I always have a particular interest about the concept, how the idea is made into the visuals.

Regards from Portugal,
Ricardo Calabaça

Hi David,

Great news on the new book! I’m very much looking forward to reading it as I found two of your previous titles I bought, ‘Logo Design Love’ and ‘Work for Money, Design for Love’ such amazing fonts of knowledge that have helped my career. Thanks so much for all your insights! Your work is very inspiring.

I am wondering if you might include a profile of some of the work from larger agencies such as Landor Associates? It would be interesting to see how their design processes and methods differ from smaller, independent agencies.

Best wishes

Thanks Darrin, Huw. The largest firm that’s currently on board is Base (40+ team members). I interviewed partner Thierry Brunfaut who kindly agreed to a recorded call. His answers were brilliant. The aim is to include the widest possible range of companies, size and location.

Hi Maciek, I’ve caught a couple of typos thanks to people letting me know. Very disappointing when you spend so long on it, but thanks again for flagging one up. They’ll be corrected in the next run.

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