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Signs of Life

Why Brands Matter

Nietzsche said that all of life is a question of taste. And he was right. But nowadays all of life is also a question of branding. A brand is not something concocted by graphic designers and marketing consultants; rather, it is ‘the tangible aspect of an intangible thing’, as Massimo Vignelli (who re-branded the New York subway) explained. Brand values are the expectations and associations that all successful – and indeed unsuccessful – products and services embody. And now they are under threat from Health & Safety. Ugly, generic packaging for cigarettes will soon be mandatory. Bans on attractive presentation for sugar, alcohol and automobiles will logically follow. Signs of Life is a unique polemic in cultural history, which argues that brands and branding are not pernicious, manipulative voodoo, but an economically and culturally precious folk-art.

Stephen Bayley is an author, critic, columnist, consultant, broadcaster, curator and founding director of the influential Design Museum in London. Over the past thirty years his writing has changed the way the world thinks about design. He is the author of the critically acclaimed Death Drive – There Are No Accidents.

Flo Bayley

21 x 16cm
8¼ × 6¼ in
Approx. 70 b&w and colour illustrations
£24.95 | $35.00

ISBN 978-1-911422-10-5