Trade Marks & Symbols

Written and compiled by Yasaburo Kuwayama, every page of the 1973 volume one — Alphabetical Designs — can be seen on

A couple of excerpts…

History of marks: Origins in the West

“The use of identifying marks in the West dates back to ancient Greece, as is indicated on potters’ marks on articles excavated from the area of the Corinth and thought to be 4,000 years old. Also, symbols are inscribed on artefacts recovered from ancient Egyptian tombs. During the fifth and fourth centuries B.C., Mediterranean trade expanded, markets were formed, and the use of identifying marks increased.”

Trade Marks & Symbols

Necessary materials for deciding upon a mark

“When requesting that a designer produce a mark, the client should provide the designer with the necessary materials, as follows. (1) He should be informed of the present nature and future plans of the company or organisation. (2) Information on the objects to which the mark will be affixed (or inscribed, stamped, etc.). What is the nature of the products, types, size, varieties, and materials used to produce them? (3) Media: What type of ads and other media applications are planned? What materials are likely to be used for specific applications, such as large outdoor advertising? (4) The designer should also be briefed on the relation the mark is to have, if any, with other marks used by the company or by related companies.”

Trade Marks & Symbols

Trade Marks & Symbols

Trade Marks & Symbols

Trade Marks & Symbols

Used copies are available on (, as is the second volume — Symbolical Designs (, Not cheap, though. Via @presentcorrect.

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October 1, 2015


Thanks so much for the link David! It was brilliant to see this book featured on your blog.

I am an avid collector of design books and actually got hold of a copy by chance, back in the ninety’s, whilst still at university.

I’ve been living overseas for many years and my copy unfortunately now lives in one of my many storage units, back in the UK. Seeing it featured online has made me realise that I must seek it out when visiting next.

Just think what a brilliant addition this would make to a book like Angus Hyland and Steve Batemans ‘Symbol’? Thanks again!

This book was also mentioned in one of Aaron Draplin’s videos (check him out if you didn’t already) and I thought, my god, this looks great. My though upon viewing how much it costs was “sure know how to pick ’em.” Really useful for logo design brainstorming. :)

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