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Designing Brand Identity: A Complete Guide to Creating, Building, and Maintaining Strong Brands 1st Edition

26 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0471213260
ISBN-10: 0471213268
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Editorial Reviews


"...anyone building or changing an identity should use this book for each stage. Smartly written, cleanly laid out, helpful examples...." (, June 2004)

"The book's easy style and comprehensive scope make it an appropriate choice for design students and professionals in need of a big-picture view of brand identity." (Design Issues, 4/1/2004)

"Written in a friendly and lucid style, it will be equally appealing to the account executive and the creative director." (, 8 April 2003)

"Wheeler has created a voice, which is at the same time relaxed, authoritative, and informative. It's not a book necessarily read cover-to-cover: it's a very scanable book, organized by spreads. So it is easy to use- increasing its value as a reference book. And finally, the book is thoroughly visual- not just showing photographic examples of branding but employing charts and type layouts that use design to case the conveyance of information as well." (Communication Arts, May/June 2004)

From the Back Cover

The designer’s guide to building visionary brand identities

Designing Brand Identity is an essential toolkit for branding and design firms, marketing and design students, and clients. This comprehensive and accessible resource meticulously maps out the process, provides the fundamentals, and never loses sight of the big picture. From translating the vision of a CEO and conducting research, through designing a sustainable identity program and building online branding tools, this book helps companies create stronger brands.


Product Details

  • Hardcover: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (February 4, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0471213268
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471213260
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 0.9 x 11.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,331,514 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Alina Wheeler engages enterprises in a dynamic process to build their brands and embrace best practices. Wheeler inspires the whole branding team to seize every opportunity to design compelling customer experiences at every touchpoint. Designing Brand Identity, now in its third edition, is the first book to deconstruct the branding process into a universal, five-phase methodology. Her signature mantra is "Who are you? Who needs to know? Why should they care? How will they find out?" Her new book Brand Atlas is a collaboration with Joel Katz, world renown information designer. Brand Atlas reinvents the paradigm of a business book, and illuminates fifty-five brand topics.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

120 of 131 people found the following review helpful By AJ Kandy on October 20, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This *is* a great book when it comes to showing how to put together a coherent, soup-to-nuts identity program. But the title of the book is misleading - there's very little in this book about actually creating, building or maintaining strong brands per se. This wilfully confuses the logo for the company behind the logo. As Paul Rand once said of his logo for the ABC television network, it wasn't a matter of whether his logo lived up to the network, but whether the network lived up to the logo! The brand process involves a lot of non-graphical thought regarding the spirit or essence of what that organization is all about. "Is that an IBM thing to do?" The brand identity is, at best, only the surface expression: the brand is the idea of the company in its customers' minds. In that sense, creating and maintaining a strong brand is really about having clear direction, consistent policies and actions, and understanding that markets are conversations, not about whether the carpet matches the business cards and the Web site.
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61 of 65 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 20, 2004
Format: Hardcover
When I put my hands on this book, I thought I would be adding one more point of view to my knowledge about brand identity, but this didn't quite happen.
This book isn't really about designing brand identity itself, but mostly about materializing brand identity into the visual identity of a company, limiting its whole concept. Furthermore, it is known that mere visual identity doesn't make a brand any stronger, as the title suggests.
Anybody with some previous brand identity knowledge in the marketing sense might get a little frustrated, had this person expected deep explanations about the creation of a brand identity plan (for that I would recommend Aaker's work).
On the other hand, if you are a designer willing to understand how to develop a visual identity linked to a brand identity, this book could be very useful.
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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful By MVDM on January 5, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This could have been a 5star rating. The thing that held me from making it one is the print quality of the book. Honestly, I've got books half this price that are on better paper, and in full color. A book that is printed on two different types of (cheap) paper, and offers only 4 color pages just doesn't impress me. Not at this price. I felt dissapointed for sure.

Now, about the title: it could have been a better one. While it states "designing", it is more about "constructing" and "rationalizing". If you want a book that shows you how to design a logo/trademark, this is not it. The value of this book is that it will explain and deconstruct every single aspect about the total brand identity process, and how it can then apply. The later has visual examples - though as mentioned in extremely low quality bw print. But again: these visuals serve only to underscore the process.

If you need a book that will explain every process, theory and element of brand identity, click ad to shopping cart. It is an easy read, short and to the point paragraphs for us time (or attention spam) challenged people. It is a must-have and must-know for anyone in advertising, marketing or design, regardless of being creative.

If you want a book that depicts and demonstrates how a trademark has been thought of, worked out, presented, fine tuned, etc., this is not it.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 20, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This author has tackled the vital topic of brand identity in a new way. In the beginning of the book Alina Wheeler says that she want to provide "an accessible resource that provides a road map to the process, explains some fundamental concepts, and showcases best practices." The book delivers on this promise!
What differentiates it from other books on this topic is that Wheeler's book really IS accessible. This comes from the unique way in which it is organized. You can simply flip open the book to any spread and have a specific concept explained, illustrated, and illuminated by relevant quotations. This makes it an excellent reference work -- keep it by your desk to quickly look up any topic. For example, you might be advocating a particular course of action at your company that you just know is the right way to go. You can turn to Wheeler's book to marshall specific evidence and articulate rationales to make your case.
In the beginning, she discusses 9 brand identity ideals: vision, meaning, authenticity, differentiation, sustainability, coherence, flexibility, commitment and value. Once you have reviewed each concept you understand how each plays a role in successful brand identities.
However, this is not primarily a book of theory. Wheeler breaks down the practical steps involved and outlines each, from the legal process to signage design. Case studies of successful brand identities take up the final portion of the book.
My one criticism is that book is not completely in color, as the topic demands. (There is a color insert showing many of the brands from the case studies.) No doubt this was a decision of the publisher!
Read more ›
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 5, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Too many books targeted to designers err on the side of a "showcase" presentation which exposes designers to the final solutions with little or no substance illuminating the process. This book will provide a comprehensive roadmap for designers and their clients.
"Designing Brand Identity" provides the information and processes to empower designers to transition into a more valuable role as consultants on identity and branding, not just the creator of visual symbols and logotypes. It is a look behind the scenes at a process which others capable of addressing have chosen to protect as proprietary information. Thanks, Alina for sharing your wisdom and experience.
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