Top critical review
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Not recommended for working professionals
on April 28, 2011
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. These serve as interesting and inspiring stories, but there is not enough depth or detail to make them practical examples.
To sum up: because this is not a particularly dense read and the information is accurate, I would recommend it to a student. As a professional, I would prefer more substance. While the author labels it "a quick reference guide", I found it to be a very quick overview.