Web & Graphic Design

Logo Savvy – clever mix of branding, naming and identity

If you were to judge this book just by reading the “Contents” page you’d have a hard time finding reasons to buy it. At a little under 200 pages and just over 40 case studies you could think it’s not too much bang for your buck. At least not when comparing it to those index type publications which feature examples in excess of several hundreds up to a thousand and more. If you were to do that you would be quite wrong.

To be honest, Logo Savvy was the book that jump started my new found love for printed design resources. Last year, back in autumn, i was in a somewhat creative rut, knowing i could do so much more but not really sure how. Of course, i could turn to the endless string of websites showcasing design examples of all kinds. Still, there were a couple of issues which i knew would hinder my success. First of all, most of these sources of inspiration follow more or less the same pattern: several paragraphs of general talk followed by a bunch of screenshots supposed to express the general idea of the article. While that’s OK if you’re in a hurry, looking for something to quickly spark your imagination, it doesn’t really get you very far if you’re trying to learn at a deeper level. The second aspect, is that while you can find logo examples galore, that doesn’t translate into the same amount of information about the naming process, branding and identity.

Right now, you could say that in most cases the brief will include an already named product and for the most part you won’t have to come up with a whole branding strategy. And you would be correct. There’s plenty of money to be made as a designer just for slapping around some flavor of the week design motifs (such as arrows, leaves, gradients etc) next to a nice free font. After all, that’s what most low to moderate budget clients tend to request from us, acting more like frustrated rappers in a never ending race to outbling the competition. Are they to blame? Probably not. After all, these are things you learn in time if you want to or you don’t. As a designer your job is to facilitate the best visual communication for your client’s product or service, rather than selfishly build your own flashy portfolio.

If you’re willing to go the extra mile in hope that one day you’ll play with the big boys, let’s see why this book is a great resource.


It starts off with several small chapters about the whole branding process, describing what seems like a common sense workflow. There’s information about how to name your products, the major directions you can choose from, how they fit with the general strategy and rounding off with some legal considerations you should be aware of. You’ll also find some quick templates to use during the process.

The rest of the book contains campaign examples distributed into 7 sections such as: acronym, descriptive, metaphorical, playful etc. While there are over 30 contributors from 10 countries, there is also a wide array of industries ranging from pharmaceuticals, food and beverages, apparel to arts, travel and telecommunications.  As with other books of this kind, the information is mostly presented in a light and informal manner, easy to read and understand. Thankfully, it strays away from boring neologisms or fancy words for which you need a dictionary to get their meaning.

Fortunately, it’s more story driven, guiding you through the main stages of the branding process. As a results you’ll often see intermediary sketches made during the design process, alternate versions which were rejected along with the main motivation behind the final choice. You’ll find out why some clients decided on a name variant over the others, as well as the shapes and colors used for the logo.

As any design book worth its price, it features extensive photography examples. Because of its focus on brand strategy, you will find more than some basic stationery samples: real life packaging design, point of sale design, outdoor displays and more.  All of these will help you get a general idea of all the possibilities that results from a single, well conceived identity.  If there was a thing which annoyed me at this point, was that some of the quotes and captions accompanying the images were taken straight from the text. This meant reading some things twice.

At the end of the book you’ll also find the list of all contributors, complete with their contact information. Starting from there, you can hit the Internet and check their websites for even more examples.

Coincidence or not, a week or so after I’ve finished reading it, while working on a couple of logo projects, i managed to get some really nice ideas which helped me finish them sooner than expected. All in all, i think this book is well worth a place on your shelf. Yet, if you’re on a tight budget, you might consider going for the paperback version, since the hardcover one, at least at my local bookstore cost about 30 bucks more. The size and print quality is the same so you might spend that extra money on something else.

Hope you’ll enjoy it and don’t mind recommending me some similar items.

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