Explore is the Design-Spotter’s Guide to Contemporary Brand Identity

Design journalist, author, and copywriter Michael Evamy‘s compact volume Logotype is being touted as “the definitive modern collection of logotypes, monograms, and other text-based corporate marks,” and with good reason. Providing a 336-page comprehensive catalogue of over 1,300 international typographic identities by around 250 studios, this book is a perfect handbook for creatives working on, or fascinated by, visual branding and contemporary corporate identity.

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Michael’s multitudinous collection is harvested from a firmly international pool of logotypes, from Western Europe to the Far East, via South America, Israel, and many more in between, drawing on the work of established giants such as Pentagram and Total Identity, as well as up-and-coming companies.

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It works as a companion publication, both aesthetically and in terms of content, to Michael’s previous work, Logo, a “bible” of contemporary logo design. With a beautifully minimalist – and instantly recognisable – cover design by Pentagram, the book is a cover-to-cover treat.

The Plus: What made you want to write the book?
Michael Evamy: My previous book Logo was a collection of corporate marks of all kinds – symbols and logotypes – so this was an opportunity to focus in a little.

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TP: Why are symbols important- what can we learn from them?
ME: We can learn about the visual culture of changing times. Logotypes are type-only marks, and typefaces go in and out of favour with designers all the time. Just looking at the way in which type is used in logotypes can tell us a lot about the way an organisation sees itself. The whole point of logos is that they provide a lens through which to see companies.

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TP: What are some of the conventional visual clues to brand identities?
ME: Big, blocky capital letters tell a different story to soft, lower-case lettering. Cursive letters or handwritten logos are often intended as a sign of artisan crafts, and authenticity. And so on…

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TP: What did you learn from your research on logos around the world?
ME: That the discipline of logo design is thriving almost everywhere. Globalisation has brought us all into contact with a vast array of corporate symbolism from around the world. Logos are an international language.

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TP: What makes a good logo?
ME: What the great designer Paul Rand said still holds true: a logo should be distinctive, memorable and clear. And, I’d add, the simpler the better.

TP: So what advice would you give to anyone setting out to design one?
ME: Advice? A logo is useless on its own. Think about creating a total identity: logo, colours, typefaces and their application to packaging, websites, vehicles, uniforms, and signage. Don’t even start designing anything until you know about the client. Immerse yourself in their culture.

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TP: What is your favourite logo in the book, and why?
ME: I’d say my favourite is Greenpeace, because it was an instant logo – drawn with a fat felt-tip pen on a beer mat by an anonymous artist one afternoon in a Paris bar. But that was perfect for that organisation: a graffiti-style logo for a nonconformist campaign group. It wouldn’t work for everyone.

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TP: Why is a logo important to a brand?
ME: Logos are signs more than anything: a strong logo stands out in a crowd. A strong logo won’t save a brand with rubbish products or services. But it can help a good brand make itself heard.

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Logotype is available now from Laurence King Publishing.

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