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Visual Branding

Visual Branding: Rhetorical and Historical Analyses

Edward F. McQuarrie and Barbara J. Phillips

Forthcoming from Edward Elgar, 2016

Back Story

This book will be published toward the end of 2016. It represents the first fruits of breaking free of the journal publication grind (see New Consumer Online page)

We bring a rhetorical and historical perspective to the devices used for visual branding.  We show that visual branding developed and changed over time as printing technology improved and as brand managers gained more experience—it is not coeval with branding or with brand advertising. We next apply a rhetorical perspective to show that the devices used to visually brand can each be broken down into a small set of types. We treat logos, typeface, spokes-characters and color as choices from a set of options.

Our conclusions are based on two datasets:

  1. a collection of over 500 contemporary brand logos
  2. Hundreds of magazines ads collected across five dispersed time periods: a) around 1900; b) 1920s; c) 1950s; d) 1980s; and e) post-2000

Draft Table of Contents

Part I: Historical perspectives on brand advertising

Chapter 1:       Overview: Visual branding in historical perspective

Chapter 2:       An illustrated history of visual branding in magazine advertising

Appendix: Alternative patterns of historical change


Part II: Brand marks

Chapter 3: A typology of brand marks

Chapter 4: How and why brand marks vary across product categories

Chapter 5: Rhetorical evolution of brand marks


Part III: Visual elements

Chapter 6: Typeface in visual branding

Chapter 7: Spokes-characters

Chapter 8: Color

Chapter 9: Using pictures to brand


Epilogue: Conceptual puzzles

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