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Iron Fists: Branding the 20th-Century Totalitarian State Hardcover – December 1, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

Review

''Steven Heller's Iron Fists makes a sophisticated and visually arresting comparison between modern corporate-branding strategies -- slogans, mascots, jingles, and the rest -- and those adopted by 'four of the most destructive 20th century totalitarian regimes': Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, the Soviet Union under Lenin and Stalin, and Mao's China [...] Iron Fists has the dimensions and dazzling illustrations of a coffee-table book [...] Heller's prose is as clear and uncluttered as the graphic design he admires.'' --The New York Times Book Review; ''Designing Dictators''; Christopher Benfey; August 3, 2008

About the Author

Steven Heller, co-chair of the MFA Designer as Author program at the School of Visual Arts, New York, was a senior art director at the New York Times for 33 years. He has served as contributing editor to several magazines, including Print, Eye, Baseline, and I.D. and is currently editor of AIGA VOICE: Online Journal of Design. He is the author, co-author, and/or editor of over 100 books on design and popular culture and has produced and curated a number of exhibitions. Heller is the recipient of several design awards including the AIGA Medial for Lifetime Achievement in 1999 and the Society of Illustrators Richard Gangel Award for Art Direction in 2006. He lives in New York City

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Phaidon Press Inc.; First Edition edition (December 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0714848468
  • ISBN-13: 978-0714848464
  • Product Dimensions: 10.2 x 1.1 x 11.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,681,653 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Steven Heller, author and editor of over 130 books on graphic design, satiric art and popular culture, is the co-founder and co-chair of the MFA Designer as Author program at the School of Visual Arts, New York. He is also co-founder of the MFA in Design Criticism, MFA in Interaction Design, MFA Social Documentary Film and MPS Branding programs. Although he does not hold an undergraduate or graduate degree he has devoted much of his career to fostering design education venues, opportunities and environments.

On the editorial side, for over 40 years he has been an art director for various underground and mainstream periodicals. For 33 years he was an art director at the New York Times (28 of them as senior art director New York Times Book Review). He currently writes the "Visuals" column for the Book Review and "Graphic Content" for the T-Style/The Moment blog (http://tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com/author/steven-heller/). He is editor of AIGA VOICE: Online Journal of Design, a contributing editor to Print, EYE, and Baseline, and a frequent contributor to Metropolis and ID magazines. He contributes regularly to Design Observer and writes the DAILY HELLER blog for Print Magazine (http://blog.printmag.com/dailyheller/). His 135 books include "Design Literacy, " "Paul Rand," "Graphic Style" (with Seymour Chwast), "Stylepedia" (with Louise Fili), "The Design Entrepreneur" and "Design School Confidential" (both with Lita Talarico), "Iron Fists: Branding the Twentieth Century Totalitarian State", and the most recent, "Born Modern: The Life and Design of Alvin Lustig."

He is the recipient of the 1999 AIGA Medal for Lifetime Achievement. His website is www.hellerbooks.com and his blog, The Daily Heller sponsored by Print magazine is http://imprint.printmag.com/daily-heller/

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A. M. Vliegenthart on August 11, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Steven Heller's "Iron Fists" makes a sophisticated and visually arresting comparison between modern corporate-branding strategies - slogans, mascots, jingles and the rest - and those adopted by "four of the most destructive 20th-century totalitarian regimes": Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, the Soviet Union under Lenin and Stalin, and Mao's China. As he pursues his four "case studies," Heller, by means of unsettling images and shrewd analysis, amply restores the vileness to branding.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Mauricio Quiroga I. Websites on September 8, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a great book that any graphic designer or history lover should have. It tells you how Hitler, Mussolini, Lenin and the chinese leaders were capable to move and brainwash the population of their respective countries by using the propaganda.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By James D. Crabtree VINE VOICE on May 27, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A fascinating book, Iron Fists looks at the way in which Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, Soviet Russia and Mao's China created cultural environments which promoted the state through the use of what we now call branding. Lavishly illustrated with artwork and photographs the book also includes instructional material the regimes created in order to provide consistency of the brand. Without going into too much detail the book also discussed the cult of personalities surrounding Hitler, Lenin, Stalin, Mussolini and Mao, each of which were an integral part of their respective "brands." This is a neat book, a good collection of the "styles" without being a catalog, a discussion of totalitarian "branding" without becoming some sort of hyper-intellectual 500-page discourse. One thing I don't get is the black bars on the cover.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Big Billy on May 8, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Well depicted, and explained treatise on the graphic design in totalitarian states.
Especially insightful was the intersection of the styles more broadly employed world wide.
Those interested in graphic design and the people who capably labor in anonymity have a great champion in Steven Heller and his several collaborators.
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