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Branding Terror: The Logotypes and Iconography of Insurgent Groups and Terrorist Organizations

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Terrorist groups are no different from other organizations in their use of branding to promote their ideas and to distinguish themselves from groups that share similar aims. The branding they employ may contain complex systems of meaning and emotion; it conveys the group's beliefs and capabilities. Branding Terror is the first comprehensive survey of the visual identity of Terrorist groups are no different from other organizations in their use of branding to promote their ideas and to distinguish themselves from groups that share similar aims. The branding they employ may contain complex systems of meaning and emotion; it conveys the group's beliefs and capabilities. Branding Terror is the first comprehensive survey of the visual identity of the world’s major terrorist organizations, from al-Qaeda and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine to the Tamil Tigers. Each of the 60-plus entries contains a concise description of the group’s ideology, leadership, and modus operandi, and a brief timeline of events. The group’s branding — the symbolism, colors, and typography of its logo and flag — is then analyzed in detail. Branding Terror does not seek to make any political statements; rather, it offers insight into an understudied area of counter-intelligence, and provides an original and provocative source of inspiration for graphic designers.


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Terrorist groups are no different from other organizations in their use of branding to promote their ideas and to distinguish themselves from groups that share similar aims. The branding they employ may contain complex systems of meaning and emotion; it conveys the group's beliefs and capabilities. Branding Terror is the first comprehensive survey of the visual identity of Terrorist groups are no different from other organizations in their use of branding to promote their ideas and to distinguish themselves from groups that share similar aims. The branding they employ may contain complex systems of meaning and emotion; it conveys the group's beliefs and capabilities. Branding Terror is the first comprehensive survey of the visual identity of the world’s major terrorist organizations, from al-Qaeda and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine to the Tamil Tigers. Each of the 60-plus entries contains a concise description of the group’s ideology, leadership, and modus operandi, and a brief timeline of events. The group’s branding — the symbolism, colors, and typography of its logo and flag — is then analyzed in detail. Branding Terror does not seek to make any political statements; rather, it offers insight into an understudied area of counter-intelligence, and provides an original and provocative source of inspiration for graphic designers.

30 review for Branding Terror: The Logotypes and Iconography of Insurgent Groups and Terrorist Organizations

  1. 4 out of 5

    Chloe

    What an amazing book. I adore it.

  2. 4 out of 5

    nildicit

    Would love to see this updated on a frequent basis; the year this was published makes some of its entries seem pretty dated. Not only that, but said entries are ordered alphabetically instead of chronologically, which is just a bad call. Overall enjoyed it.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Vivienne DiFiore

    An aesthetically oriented book both in form and content. The book itself looks and feels pretty despite the perhaps "ugly" "brands" it focuses on. An interesting and insightful read.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Morgan

    This book was on a very interesting topic, but lacked a depth of knowledge that would have made it more interesting. The flags could have easily grouped into “like designs” and then dissected as a whole as opposed to taking groups alphabetically. The books organization led to a significant amount of informational redundancy that make it a lackluster read.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Henry Berry

    timely handbook for identification of terrorist groups BRANDING TERROR - The Logotype and Iconography of Insurgent Groups and Terrorist Organizations, by Artur Beifuss and Francesco Trivini Bellini, Foreword by Steven Heller. Merrell Publishers, merrellpublishers.com. 2013. 335 pages. $34.95. Hardcover 9" x 6" ISBN 978-1-8589-4601-6 color illustrations. The Steven Heller doing the Foreword is the noted designer and design critic who as former art director at the N. Y. Times has written or co-autho timely handbook for identification of terrorist groups BRANDING TERROR - The Logotype and Iconography of Insurgent Groups and Terrorist Organizations, by Artur Beifuss and Francesco Trivini Bellini, Foreword by Steven Heller. Merrell Publishers, merrellpublishers.com. 2013. 335 pages. $34.95. Hardcover 9" x 6" ISBN 978-1-8589-4601-6 color illustrations. The Steven Heller doing the Foreword is the noted designer and design critic who as former art director at the N. Y. Times has written or co-authored over 100 books on design and popular culture. In the three-page Foreword, he briefly covers the purpose of logos in general, the grounds for critiquing the logos of the groups whose logos appear in the book (e. g., cliche, too many guns or eagles), and compares the logos to those of the Catholic Church, Coca-Cola, Apple, and other major established cultural presences. Logotypes and iconography are intended not only as a means of communication--often in the simple terms of "sending a message"--and identity in the public and international sphere, but also as a means of internal, often secret or guarded identification, focus, and cohesion for members of a particular group. Artur Beifuss is a counter-terrorist analyst for the United Nations. Francesco Bellini is a graphic designer involved in branding for companies and institutions. In Beifuss's Introduction, he notes the logos as a way of branding for a group. Beifuss also notes the book's purpose to help understand by a survey of the 64 logos collected mostly from open sources such as websites "why certain visual elements are preferred over others [and the] certain meanings, emotions, and values" attached to such elements. The schema used for accomplishing the book's purpose is the same for each "logo". Under the heading of the respective group is its name in the script of its national language (many in Arabic) followed by the translation or approximation in English. Underneath this is a brief overview of the group, and underneath this a chronology of it major terrorist acts. The second page is a plain, black-and-white, drawing of the group's logotype with lines to notes pointing out its features above a chart breaking down the colors and associated pantone coding for each. The last, third, page is a full-color picture of the logotype with explanations of the meaning of its colors, elements, and symbols. The book would be used by most as a reference to find out more about Middle East and other terrorist groups defined as groups using violence for political or ideological aims when specific or related groups were mentioned in the media, for example. Since many of the groups are similar, the details of each start to run together when used as a study text. However one regards this work, it has a distinctive, notable, self-evidently relevant and useful place in contemporary studies of the global terrorism.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Josh Terceira

    This book is spectacularly designed and wonderfully thorough - my only quarrel is that it is organized alphabetically, rather than by region or country, which makes it a pain to compare similar organizations. It feels very strange referring to a book about terrorism for design inspiration, but I confess I've done it more than once. I would recommend it to anyone interested in design and iconography, not only for the wonderful breakdowns of historical context and symbolism, but also for how hilar This book is spectacularly designed and wonderfully thorough - my only quarrel is that it is organized alphabetically, rather than by region or country, which makes it a pain to compare similar organizations. It feels very strange referring to a book about terrorism for design inspiration, but I confess I've done it more than once. I would recommend it to anyone interested in design and iconography, not only for the wonderful breakdowns of historical context and symbolism, but also for how hilariously bad some of these logos/identities are - terrorism is a little less terrifying when it looks like clipart.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Dawid Krawczyk

    Nie recenzja, ale wywiad z autorem z www.krytykapolityczna.pl: Dziś terroryści mają iPhone'y i nie wahają się ich użyć. Dawid Krawczyk: Która terrorystyczna grupa na świecie ma najlepsze logo? Artur Beifuss: Zawsze odpowiadam, że Hezbollah. Żółte tło, a na nim kilka zielonych liter połączonych z karabinem, księgą, siedmiolistną gałązką i globem. Te litery układają się w słowa „Partia Boga”, bo to właśnie po arabsku oznacza Hezbollah. Ale zapomniałeś o fragmencie Koranu nad tym głównym znakiem, a on Nie recenzja, ale wywiad z autorem z www.krytykapolityczna.pl: Dziś terroryści mają iPhone'y i nie wahają się ich użyć. Dawid Krawczyk: Która terrorystyczna grupa na świecie ma najlepsze logo? Artur Beifuss: Zawsze odpowiadam, że Hezbollah. Żółte tło, a na nim kilka zielonych liter połączonych z karabinem, księgą, siedmiolistną gałązką i globem. Te litery układają się w słowa „Partia Boga”, bo to właśnie po arabsku oznacza Hezbollah. Ale zapomniałeś o fragmencie Koranu nad tym głównym znakiem, a on jest kluczowy, bo to jest coś, co moglibyśmy nazwać obietnicą marki. Czytasz „partia Allaha musi zwyciężyć” i już wiesz, czego możesz się spodziewać. Czytaj całość na: http://www.krytykapolityczna.pl/artyk...

  8. 5 out of 5

    Johannes

    Not so much a read as a small encyclopedia. It does have some introductory articles that are very well crafted though. The encyclopedic material isn't covering all angles, but for the purpose of the book it's pretty good. If you're interested in the subject it's a goldmine.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Riar

    Despite the fact that this book focusing more to the recent group (I'm dying to know the meaning behind the awesome Symbionese Liberation Army logo), it still gives me an insight how the terrorist groups promote their idea through logo imagery.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Stan

    I would have enjoyed a more in-depth analysis of branding and ideology, but whatever, this is a nice coffee table book.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Øyvind Jørgensen

  12. 4 out of 5

    Mike

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jansen Cümbie

  14. 4 out of 5

    Clara

  15. 5 out of 5

    Felix Cheung

  16. 4 out of 5

    Mike Consgro

  17. 4 out of 5

    Sonia

  18. 4 out of 5

    Andre

  19. 5 out of 5

    Azzurlini

  20. 4 out of 5

    Max Flinker

  21. 4 out of 5

    Tom

  22. 4 out of 5

    Greg K

  23. 5 out of 5

    Webnicola

  24. 5 out of 5

    Nicolay Duque

  25. 5 out of 5

    Alex Crist

  26. 5 out of 5

    Waleed

  27. 4 out of 5

    Matteo

  28. 5 out of 5

    La Privata Repubblica

  29. 5 out of 5

    Gradesky

  30. 5 out of 5

    Emily

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