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Symbol Paperback – June 1, 2011

4.3 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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About the Author

Angus Hyland is a graduate of the RCA and a partner at Pentagram Design London. In 2001 Hyland was the co-curator with Roanne Bell of "Picture This", a British Council exhibition featuring the work of London illustrators.

Steven Bateman is a freelance writer who has worked with some of the UK's leading design agencies. A regular contributor to Grafik magazine, he also writes for ISTD Condensed, Nico, and Varoom.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Laurence King Publishing (June 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1856697274
  • ISBN-13: 978-1856697279
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 1.5 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #826,464 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Put logo, trademark or symbol into Amazon search and you'll come up with a few hundred books that cover every aspect of the subject, from how to design them to copyright problems. The subject is now a staple in the design publishers catalog. Hyland and Bateman's book is a notch above most because they've stripped the subject down to the basics and look at symbols only, so there are no typographic and image marks like UPS; Dole; MetLife; Exxon or Coca Cola, for example.

The 1300 symbols in the book are divided into two sections: Abstract and Representational. These are subdivided into categories like stripes (fifteen examples) arrows (twenty-five) radiating/circular (twenty-three) sun (fourteen) birds (thirty-two) or hearts (twenty-two). I thought the Representational pages the most fascinating because designers have to use a familiar object and change it into a unique version for a company so it will be recognizable anywhere. Anything that has a curve to it (bird, heart, eye) seems to encourage designers to create some wonderful company brandmarks.

Scattered through the pages are some case histories (over two or three pages) where there is a closer look at selected company marks. These are the only pages that use color. All the symbols have credits for company, country, designer, date and a brief description of what the design is for.

There are a few hundred names, from around the world, in the designer index and Pentagram gets the most inclusions with sixty-two symbols, Chermayeff & Geismar get thirty-six and Karol Silwka (from Poland) gets thirty-one. Oddly the great designer Saul Bass only has one entry and Herb Lubalin none, I suppose because he was essentially a type man. There is a company and sector index also.
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As reviewed in the WSJ, this is a very welcome addition to the field of logo design. One can quibble that some of the leading French, German and Swiss designers are not covered in greater detail - book seems very UK centric especially in the color spreads for the Underground, BOAC, etc.
The manufacture of the book is not so great (printed in China of course - whatever happened to the printing presses of the Western world?), binding fell apart 6 days outside the Amazon return date - not cheap and poorly assembled. Check your copy carefully if you decide to buy this.
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This is a competent book on symbols being used as brand marks. I have to admit I expected much more, given the background of Pentagram as one of the leading identity firms in the world. They do not show just Pentagram's work, but even so, there are a bunch of brands that are just pitiful. I would reconsider buying this one.
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I bought this because Amazon suggested it when I was shopping for other design books. Turns out, it's awesome. Just in case you also skip over the description, this book is huge. There is a massive amount of pages to flip through, heavily graphic reliant with some small amounts of text, mostly just describing who owns the logos.

Highly recommended.
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Exactly what I was looking for, with ample references taken from around the world and divided into categories, and printed on heavy paper. Beautiful for idea stimulation. The only thing i would change would be to make the book physically taller and wider so it could be opened and examined without having to physically hold it open.
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As a professional graphic designer, I am always interested in symbols and other forms of visual communication when they are presented in a well designed format and exhibit an underlying understanding of the timeless principles of design. This small sized book takes a good approach to the display of many relevant marks, that for the most part are well conceived and intelligent, as opposed to trendy or transient. Unfortunately the book's publisher committed a fatal flaw by repeating some signatures in the middle of the book which left me disappointed in the quality and design oversight of the book's publication. A sloppy publication raises questions about the integrity of the contents. Nevertheless, if you can get past the flaw, I would recommend the book for those seeking design inspiration and prompts to creative approaches in the creation of marks.
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This book, written in conjunction with talented Angus Hyland, is a great reference for anyone interested in learning more about types of symbols, similar symbols, how similar companies use similar imagery or icons in their symbols and logos. Basically a great visual guide to symbols.
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The book was good but its delivery was delayed for 2 months with endless back and forth communication with the Amazon team to follow up and re-re-re-arrange delivery. Product was great but the arrangements and service were horrendous.
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