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Marks of Excellence: The History and Taxonomy of Trademarks [Paperback]

Per Mollerup
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

14 July 2007

This groundbreaking tome embodies a rigorous exploration of the trademark: its history, development, style, classification and relevance in today's world. The book includes extensive discussion of its origins in heraldry, monograms, owner's marks and certificates of origins, and also contains a comprehensive taxonomy of trademarks and an alphabetical index of trademark themes.

An invaluable reference tool for design students and graphic designers, this book is packed with nearly 600 illustrations of both rare and instantly recognizable trademarks, logos, signs, advertisements, and the images that inspired them. A monumental volume with respect to the sphere of graphic design, this book is just as absorbing for anyone interested in any aspect of visual communication.

Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Phaidon Press; New edition edition (14 July 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0714838381
  • ISBN-13: 978-0714838380
  • Product Dimensions: 25 x 2.9 x 29 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 341,166 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

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Product Description


'Phaidon's Marks of Excellence is a glossy homage to logos through the ages, backed up with trainspotter-ish annotated notes.' The Face 'Perfect for anyone who wants to start building their own global brand.'

'...a handsome book...excellent...'
Creative Review

'Per Mollerup's beautiful yet pithy book.'

'… the Danish designer, Per Mollerup, is a master of modern visual shorthand, and his perspective makes a refreshing change from the dominance of Anglo-American thought on the subject. His designs…are exemplary in their wit and economy.'
Business and Design Newsletter (Chartered Society of Designers)

'[Per Mollerup] has assembled an exhaustive collection of marks, and backed up the images with some highly informative text. This is an excellent book whatever your philosophical position in design.'
U & LC

'Marks of Excellence is another contribution to Phaidon's de luxe series on design and architecture which provides an appropriate platform for communicating through impeccable and generously reproduced images. The indulgence of the coffee-table format is combined in this book with an intelligent and comprehensive text to create a reading experience properly saturated with looking. The illustrations are presented in two ways. Firstly the text is regularly punctuated with opulent full-bleed spreads …By contrast, illustrations are also supplied in a diagrammatic fashion… …the book contributes to the concerns of design history and to existing texts on the subject. Mollerup's encyclopaedic overview provides an updated addition to more personal accounts by designers… Perhaps the most original portion of Marks of Excellence is the 'Taxonomy' which uses theories put forward in the preceding chapters to form a model by which we might understand how trademarks signify. This takes us beyond mere recognition or subjective response to a formalized level in which we may sort the 'letter marks' in a logo into a number of categories…. …The book may be used by students as an introduction to communication theory and as a good example of the application of such theories to graphic design practice. It will be useful to designers… as a self-proclaimed canon of approved design … For the general reader the book will usefully enhance perception and identification of the system, rules and techniques of communication through corporate identity.'
Journal of Design History

'Unique…Marks of Excellence reflects this dedication to combining deep theory with surface beauty. Its 240 pages and 600 beautiful illustrations are both a feast for the eyes and an education in design.'

About the Author

Per Mollerup is the founder of Designlab, a leading Scandinavian consultancy in visual communication, information design and corporate identity.

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Customer Reviews

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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Informative, concise, dynamic, essential! 7 Nov 2000
By A Customer
Showcases the world's better-known trademarks, how they came into existence and what they have come to signify in a global marketplace crammed full of logos and symbols of every possible denomination. The historical introduction of the trademark provides a sound basis for the examples which flow freely on later pages. A tad too many Scandinavian examples for my liking, but assuming Per Mollerup (the author) hails from this part of the world I guess we can forgive him his over-indulgence.
This book will provide a source of interest and inspiration to many a scholar, marketeer, designer or member of the public. Loved the black matt-lam cover but it still remains the worst colour in the world for highlighting clammy pawprints! Marks of Excellence - a work of excellence and a gift of excellence to anyone tempted by this review.
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5.0 out of 5 stars What i needed... 18 Oct 2011
By Spyros
I saw this book at the third year of my Graphic Design studies for the first time. It was recommended by my favourite tutor and i was so psyched to get that... It analyses almost every aspect of the logo creation and the logo itself as a term. It includes the most famous logos of all time and explains the reason each one is the way it is. It also refers to each of the basic shapes (square, circle, triangle - even stars, ellipses and curves...)and what it means when it gets to be a part of a logo... I read each part at a time because there is so much to learn and there is no way to keep everything in one quick reading. As a graphic designer, i've really put one more piece in my puzzle. :)
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Art Book 10 Mar 2001
By A Customer
I basicly see this book as an art book. Enjoy the design of old and contemporary trademarks and their functions. The text though, is very technical - as in other areas of marketing, the science of trademarks and branding is overacademized for nothing.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.8 out of 5 stars  11 reviews
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautifully illustrated look at trademarks 14 July 1997
By A Customer - Published on
Per Mollerup's Marks of Excellence is an interesting and beautifully illustrated look at trademarks. The most interesting part for me are the little anecdotes which occur here and there about particular trademarks. For example the Guinness harp is based on the O'Neill clan harp, when the Irish State was formed in 1922 they had to reverse the harp because Guinness owned the copyright.
The look and feel of the book is similar to any of the Graphis range. The book begins with a brief look at the precursors of trademarks such as heraldry, monograms and brands for animals and goods. It then examines the design process looking at the type of corporate identities that can be created and their application. The bulk of the book though is the taxonomy of trademarks breaking them down into classes, such as birds, botanical, buildings etc.
There is a brief look at the background to the trademark accompanied by the name of company which uses the trademark and the designers behind it.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best logo design books EVER 28 April 2002
By David E. Carter - Published on
This is a beatifully designed book that is very complete. There are hundreds of examples of good design, and enough text to satisfy those who need detailed explanations. Quite simply, I have seen nearly all the books available on logo design, and this one of the best I have ever seen.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great reference for history of logos. 30 Sep 2005
By meagainstme - Published on
This book is a great resource for the methods behind some of the most sucessful logos created. Even if you are not a "logo designer" this book is a good reference. The author gets extremely deep into the psychology and methods of successful logos. Although sometimes laborious - it provides great background.
5.0 out of 5 stars A "MUST HAVE"... 12 July 2014
By Rowann G. - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I'm a typography nut. If you are too, you need this not just for reference but for sheer admiration of the marriage of concept and its proven dead-on communications successes. Invaluable for ANY design professional involved in media, shape, form, design, architecture, fashion, artful communication, and the thoughtful analysis of all of those.
5.0 out of 5 stars Top Notch Resource... 6 Jun 2014
By Rowann Gilman - Published on
This book contains the best of the best in terms of the concepts and understanding of typography and its versatility, as well as some of the most classic typographical designs and logos that have made such a strong mark that they remain instantly recognizable today. These concepts and designs never become old or outdated, but continue to be modernized and adapted in very intelligent ways by those who grasp their underlying ideas. You can't be a graphic designer if you don't see things differently from the rest of us or aren't actively involved in the spirit of the times. These marks are conceptual icons, and only after their study can one evolve a finely-tuned design. You'll learn everything you need to know about these things from this superb book. It is a must-have for any designer from fashion to filmmaking; menus to marketing. Buy it.
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