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By Angus Hyland and Steven Bateman
Arranged in this way, the symbols are essentially isolated so that the effectiveness of their composition and impact can be assessed without distraction and so that the reader can enjoy them as a pictorial language in their own right.
Symbols play an integral role in branding programs. More often than not, symbols are used alongside logotypes, the two working in tandem to illustrate the values and qualities of a brand to its audience. However, symbols can be hugely effective on their own, providing organizations and brands with 'marks' that provide an instantly recognizable signifier when seen independently of the brand name and/or logotype. Nike's 'swoosh' is seldom seen with its corresponding logotype these days: it has become so familiar that we don't need the name in order to recognize the brand. Among countless other examples, the Shell symbol, Michelin's Bibendum, London Transport's intersected circle, the Guinness Harp and the Woolmark symbol form a unique visual vernacular as ubiquitous and familiar as the 'man at work' pictogram.
Every symbol in the book is captioned with information on who it was designed for, who designed it, when, and what the symbol stands for. These sections are interspersed with short but detailed case studies featuring classic examples of symbols still in use, and exceptional examples of recently designed symbols.
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.
Angus Hyland is a graduate of the RCA and a partner at Pentagram Design London. In 2001 Hyland was the cocurator with Roanne Bell of 'Picture This' a British Council exhibition featuring the work of London illustrators.
Angus Hyland will be giving a lecture on logo and symbol design at The Design Museum on Wednesday 18th May 2011. He will also be singing copies of the book afterwards.
For more information go to www.designmuseum.org/talks
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