Book List: Branding
Portfolio Review

Recommended by Mary Jane Braide, Affiliate Member, Toronto

Viral Change: The Alternative to Slow, Painful and Unsuccessful Management of Change in Organizations (Revised Second Edition) by Leandro Herrero

Great designers don’t just design stuff, they design change. And yet the dominant change model in most organizations is based on “my-way-or-the-highway”, top-down dictates that rarely work. Further, many designers feel if they just make something better people will see the merits of it and adopt it – even if it means changing behaviors or values. Not likely. Herrero’s book is one of several he’s written (and he has a lively consulting practice) exploring a viral model of change. Viral change works with human behaviour and organizational culture to make change happen where it’s needed most, in a way that sticks because it’s designed by and chosen by people who actually want to change.

The book is very readable and practical and includes dozens of techniques, exercises and hands-on projects for the practitioner in any setting – whether you’re trying to launch a new brand identity or get a neighbourhood community garden underway. It’s information you can use yourself, or use to coach your client as you move through the challenge of any kind of change. Viral Change is the most ethical and effective change model I’ve seen and even if all you do is pick up a few of its principles I think it will help you be the change agent you want to be.


Recommended by Michel Viau RGD, Toronto

Building Strong Brands by David A. Aaker

I’m holding this book as a must-read for any designers wishing to understand the basics of “branding”. While this book was first published in 1996, Aaker’s model is still held today as the go-to reference on brand equity and brand awareness relative to brand identity. I have used and continue to use this book as a reference and a reminder that our work as brand strategists and designers must be founded in purpose and relevance. In my view, Aaker and brand go hand in hand.