It is a dream of mine to have a library that rivals the one presented to Belle by the Beast in the Disney Classic Beauty and the Beast. Or at least one equal to it. Until then, I have a "library wall" which I merrily push to its limit. Decorative shelf space is in constant fear of being usurped. My long winded point is that I love to read. A friend of mine posted a graphic on her Facebook page entitled "Surprising Book Facts." One of the "facts" (hey, it's on the internet, so it must be true) stated "Reading one hour per day in your chosen field will make you an international expert in 7 years." Challenge accepted. I figure I have a head start with my degree, but continuing education never hurt anyone. Below are some of my chosen favorites, greedily devoured in my "international expert status" quest. More to come.
LOGO DESIGN LOVE
A guide to creating iconic brand identities
By David Airey
Not only did this book help inspire the DesignLove brand name, it articulates design principles we hold near and dear to our success. Design "rules" are meant to be broken, but there are some guiding concepts to help separate the weak designs from the strong.
"When it comes to logos, it's best to leave trends to the fashion industry. Trends come and go like the wind, and the last thing you want to do is invest a significant amount of your and your client's money in a design that will become dated almost overnight. Longevity is key, and a logo should last for the duration of the business it represents."
"Iconic designs that stand apart from the crowd have just one feature to help with differentiation. That's it. Just one. Not two, three, or four."
"Whether it's fair or not, we often do judge books by their covers. And that's why the perceived value of a service or product is usually greater than the actual one. The same visual identity seen time and again builds trust, and trust keeps customers coming back for more. It's kind of like putting a face to a name - logos help people remember their experiences with companies."
"Simplicity helps a design be more versatile. Adopting a minimalist approach enables your logo to be used across a wide range of media, such as on business cards, billboards, pin badges, or even a website favicon."
Graphic Design Thinking: Beyond Brainstorming
How to generate ideas
Ellen Lupton, Editor
A how-to-guide for creativity, and idea-ology with case studies galore.
"A brand language is more than a logo. It is a system of design elements, such as color, shape, image, typography texture, patter, and materials, created to convey a company's values to a particular audience. The look, feel, and behavior of a brand language can have the power to trigger associations, express values, and inspire loyalty. An effective brand language gains cultural fluency over time, building a conversation with its audience." - Jennifer Cole Phillips
"Finding inspiration is easy. Translating it into your own language is a challenge. Collecting intriguing artifacts takes time and a sharp eye, but only had work and careful thought can harness their expressive powers. Visual language has its own logic." - Christopher Clark
A New Brand World
8 Principles for achieving brand leadership in the 21st century
By Scott Bedbury with Stephen Fenichell
The new brand bible. I may have dog-eared every other page.
"A brand is the sum of the good, the bad, the ugly, and the off-strategy. It is defined by your best product as well as your worst product. It is defined by award-winning advertising as well as by the god-awful ads that somehow slipped through the cracks, got approved, and, not surprisingly, sank into oblivion. It is defined by the accomplishments of your best employee-the shining star in the company who can do no wrong - as well as by the mishaps of the worst hire that you ever made. It is also defined by your receptionist and the music your customers are subjected to when placed on hold. For every grand and finely worded public statement by the CEO, the brand is also defined by derisory consumer comments overheard in the hallway or in a chat room on the internet. Brands are sponges for content, for images, for fleeting feelings. They become psychological concepts held in the minds of the public, where they may stay forever. As such you can't entirely control a brand. At best you only guide and influence it."
"We are defined by the experiences and actions of our lifetime. So are brands."
"The best brands never start out with the intent of building a great brand. They focus on building a great - and profitable - product or service and an organization that can sustain it."
"In the New Brand World, it is not about controlling what people think. It is about inspiring them to believe in what you do, and what kind of company you are trying to be. It is also about meeting or exceeding their expectations 365 days a year."
Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind
How to be seen and heard in the overcrowded marketplace
By Al Ries and Jack Trout
The marketing bible. Another heavily dog-eared edition in my ever-expanding collection.
"Too often, however, copycat campaigns have missed the essence of repositioning strategy.
'We're better than our competitors' isn't repositioning. It's comparative advertising and not very effective. There's a psychological flaw in the advertisers's reasoning which the prospect is quick to detect. 'If your brand is so good, how come it's not the leader?'
A look at comparative ads suggests why most of them aren't effective. They fail to reposition the competition. Rather, they use the competitor as a benchmark for their own brand. Then they tell the reader or viewer how much better they are. Which, of course, is exactly what the prospect expects the advertiser to say."
"But name changing is rare, despite the logic. Most companies are convinced they have too much equity in their present name.....It was only a few years ago that Exxon changed its name from.....Well, to you even remember what Exxon's old name was?
.....There is only negative equity in a bad name. When the name is bad, things tend to get worse. When the name is good, things tend to get better."
"Only an ovious idea will work today. The overwhelming volume of communication prevents anything else from succeeding."