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Designing Brand Identity: An Essential Guide for the Whole Branding Team [Hardcover]

Alina Wheeler
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)

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Designing Brand Identity: An Essential Guide for the Whole Branding Team Designing Brand Identity: An Essential Guide for the Whole Branding Team 4.6 out of 5 stars (54)
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Book Description

August 31, 2009 0470401427 978-0470401422 3
Praise for previous editions of Designing Brand Identity:

An inspiring and powerful toolkit.

The Marketer

Alina Wheeler provides a practical structure for the brand building process.

Al Ries, coauthor, Positioning

Wheeler's book offers a cogent description of how strategy and design meet in the real world among world-class companies.

Marty Neumeier, author, The Brand Gap

A valued reference book for all members of the branding team.

Communication Arts

Editorial Reviews Review

Product Description

Who are you?

Who needs to know?

Why should they care?

How will they find out?

In a densely crowded marketplace, corporations, organizations, and even individuals look for ways to differentiate themselves. That is the job of branding.

Whether your goal is to express a new brand or to revitalize an existing one, here is a proven, universal five-phase process for creating and implementing effective brand identity. From research and analysis through brand strategy, design development through application design, and identity standards through launch and governance, Designing Brand Identity is an essential reference for the entire process.

Enriched by new case studies showcasing successful world-class brands from Herman Miller and General Electric to the Obama '08 election campaign, this Third Edition offers new insights into emerging trends such as sustainability and social networks.

Alina Wheeler applies her strategic imagination and process management skills to revitalize brands for Fortune 100 companies, entrepreneurial ventures, and nonprofits.

Twelve Traits of the Best Brand Identity Firms

The choice for any client can be daunting. More than ever, there is a panoply of highly capable firms that specialize in brand identity. Which ones should companies trust to revitalize their brand? Whether the firms are global brand consultancies, multidisciplinary design offices, design boutiques, or specialists in areas such as packaging or interactivity, these core competencies hold true.

1. Strategic imagination. An ability to understand and align business goals with creative strategy and expression is critical.

2. Process focus. A disciplined process is used to foster collaboration, build trust, and ensure responsible decision-making and results.

3. Design excellence. Reducing a complex, meaningful idea to its visual essence requires skill, patience, and unending discipline, whether the endpoint is a symbol, a look and feel, or an integrated brand identity system.

4. Irrefutable logic. Creating a new system or brand architecture requires an ability to communicate a compelling case for change to any decision-maker, from the CEO to the director of marketing to a division head.

5. Alchemy. An ability to synthesize vast amounts of information and reduce it to a big idea. Also, an ability to cut through the clutter and see the “gold” in a marketing audit.

6. Empathy and insight. An ability to be collaborative and understand the perspectives of all stakeholders, to suspend judgment and transcend politics.

7. Flexibility and humor. An ability to keep an eye on the big picture despite constraints and challenges. A sense of humor always helps.

8. Mindfulness and curiosity. An awareness of what is going on in the wider world and insight into best practices and the branding landscape.

9. Tenacity. Boundless energy and the perseverance of a marathon runner are required to develop and refine key messages, new names, taglines, and branding guidelines.

10. Organization. Phase by phase, email by email, presentation by presentation, file by file, tracking and documentation are key.

11. Focus. First and foremost, the process must stay focused on the customer and their experience.

12. Passion. Passion fuels excellence and inspires brand engagement.


"Returning with a third edition is the branding bible that is widely regarded as the absolute best, most comprehensive, most successful, and most effective book to use as a reference when creating a brand and brand identity, Designing Brand Identity. Very thorough and to the point, Wheeler's guide takes one through the process of developing, implementing, disseminating, and maintaining a brand identity for a company, organization, or group and give them an edge in the marketplace." (San Francisco Book Review, January 25, 2010)

"We will be reading the book together as a company, and you should stoop and buy one now." (, August 25, 2009)

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 3 edition (August 31, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470401427
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470401422
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 0.9 x 11.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #211,430 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
78 of 86 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not recommended for working professionals April 28, 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
As a young design professional with 5 years of experience, I came to this book with an existing knowledge-base about branding and a desire to streamline my design process.

Part 1, Brand Basics, will be familiar to anyone who works in branding. Words like "positioning" are defined, accompanied by brief anecdotes about known brands. It lived up to my expectations -- a refresher with some nice quotes.

Part 2, Process, sets out to elaborate the actual steps toward making a brand. This is where the book unraveled for me. I had hoped for in-depth examples from the author's (or her contributers') experience and hard facts. If they needed to update a logo, who sat down with who? Where, when, and how often? What was the first thing they decided to do? What was the outcome of that decision? What did the first sketches look like?

Instead, I found descriptions far too vague and generalized to be of much help. For example, the page on Naming first lists a lot of common sense: dictionaries and thesauruses are good resources, and paring down large lists takes patience. Next, the actual process is stated, with steps such as "develop decision-making process" and "create numerous names." These leave me wanting so much more -- the former seems deliberately irritating (my process is making a process?) while the latter is simplistically obvious. While I understand that there's no magic process or correct number of names that works in every situation, detailed examples from real branding decisions certainly would have illuminated the concepts better.

Part 3, Best Practices, would more accurately be named More Anecdotes. Each spread tells a bit about the branding efforts of brands such as Hot Wheels or FedEx.
Read more ›
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43 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The bible of brand design September 30, 2009
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Writers have The Elements of Style. Managers have The Effective Executive. Chairpeople have Robert's Rules of Order. And now brand-builders have Designing Brand Identity. If you have (or would like to have) responsibility for managing, measuring, critiquing, or designing a brand, you've found your bible. And if you already own the first or second edition, you'll want to upgrade to the third. What I find most remarkable is that, aside from the thorough and relevant content, the design of the book is everything you'd expect from a top brand designer--and so seldom get. A classic.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shows how all the pieces fit together September 9, 2009
This book saved me hours of time. It lays out a step-by-step process that would've taken a lot more time figuring out on my own if I didn't have this as a resource. If you're trying to convince people in your company to put more resources into branding, this book gives you what you need to make a strong case.

I found the format easy to use because it integrates instruction, example, text, pictures, and charts. Case study section is more text intensive than the others but still manageable. Has the stuff you need to get the job done -- starts with the big picture and goes down through the executional details.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Designing Brand Identity Is Smart December 10, 2009
By Renee
What I love most? Designing Brand Identity is smart. I know I can pick it up anytime, open it anywhere and I'll be inspired. Principle based with miles of details. I'm a lefty and a righty... analytical and creative... I'm blown away by the value packed between the green pages. Dynamic processes, clean intelligent layout and visuals. Thank you!!!! Your work will help me in everything I do as a front-line makeover specialist.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book! Certainly I will use with my students. September 29, 2009
This is an amazing book. Alina had the ability to gather some great cases to illustrate the rich masterfully methodology presented in the book. As a professor of branding in Brazil, I believe this book is a great reference for professionals and students of branding in the world, for dealing with the subject in a simple and fascinating way.
Congratulations Alina! You did a wonderful job.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Self Branding Tremendous help August 15, 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
First of all: this book has the greatest page layout i have ever seen! It's a pleasure to read. Every comment on the side of the page makes you have the A-ha moment. Every diagram summarizes just the strictly necessary without skipping on details. It's very visual, structured, yet so creative and textbook-ish like. The perfect balance between core fundamentals and illustrative examples. I could not stop reading it. Loving it more and more. Every time I read it there is something new.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Diving deep into the art of "planned" seduction June 21, 2010
This a great book: extensive, ordered, thoughtful, applied, ...
More magically, its author cannot help from making the book itself into a brand! A fascinating self referential concept.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Good guide but very brief. Some of the answers to students questions maybe difficult to discern from the seemingly random quotes and text spread out through the pages.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars great book
great book for any graphic designer
works great for references and for going old stuff
recommend it for students and professionals in the field
Published 7 months ago by Natty O.
2.0 out of 5 stars Hmm
I'm a graphic design student who normally loves the required readings. This one just wasn't as helpful as many others graphic design books.
Published 12 months ago by Holly
5.0 out of 5 stars very informative and great insight.
Very helpful case studies and a great guide to Branding and the different markets. This was a great read from beginning to finish.
Published 14 months ago by Karla Dominguez
5.0 out of 5 stars great
Received the package ahead of schedule and the book was packed very well to assure no damage came to it.
Published 19 months ago by OT
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book
For a design book it was very well designed! It also had a lot of great information about the process of developing a brand. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Frequent Flosser
4.0 out of 5 stars Directs informations.
This item meet to me an directs text and perspective on the topic.
The difference, informations and questions between designing, brand and identity were explained clearly and... Read more
Published 21 months ago by Diogo
4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Reminder & Model For Brand Design
I really liked the way the book is laid out, not cluttered with lots of graphic examples and side notes. Read more
Published 23 months ago by Z. J. Walker
4.0 out of 5 stars Design Book
The book is a very good guide to know the things to have in mind when a brand needs to be done
Published on June 18, 2012 by Marcos Genoud
1.0 out of 5 stars I hate it
OMG .. she used the most hard words in this book.. I'm not English native speaker and I have to translate many many many words and I couldn't understand why she choose this way to... Read more
Published on May 2, 2012 by AbuUsama
5.0 out of 5 stars I love this book!
This is such a great book. It's laid out so well, graphically, and it is very interesting. It gives you lots of information about branding and corporate identity, but done in a... Read more
Published on February 28, 2012 by Angela Robertson
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