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Uncorporate Identity [Illustrated] [Paperback]

Daniel van der Velden , Vinca Kruk
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

28 Feb 2009
Uncorporate Identity engages design and architecture in the context of geopolitical crisis. The book drafts a new kind of political arena--one where the symbols of central power (monarchy and state) thrive on the dynamics of information networks and their transformative political effects, and vice versa. Bridging between graphics, architecture, branding and research, Uncorporate Identity defies easy categorization as a design monograph. Organized as a sequence of five chapters, each comprising case studies, notes and essays, it explores, visually and textually, the paradoxes of identity in a networked world. Uncorporate Identity is authored by Metahaven (Daniel van der Velden and Vinca Kruk) with Marina Vishmidt, and has contributions by Boris Groys, David Singh Grewal, Vladimir Kolossov, Keller Easterling, Dieter Lesage, China Miéville, Chantal Mouffe, Pier Vittorio Aureli, Bruno Besana, Michael Taussig, Regula Stämpfli, Mihnea Mircan, Florian Schneider, Marina Vishmidt, and others.

Product details

  • Paperback: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Lars Muller Publishers (28 Feb 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 3037781696
  • ISBN-13: 978-3037781692
  • Product Dimensions: 3.3 x 16.9 x 23.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 530,656 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"After decades of corporate identity being reduced to logos, Metahaven has undertaken a larger project to explore identity in politics and culture, online and across borders. This expansive monograph is its own project the transformation of a design practice into a research laboratory and think tank. An important book." --Design Observer

"Uncorporate Identity questions the purpose and value of design in a neurotic and treacherous era of geopolitical instability." --Alice Rawsthorn, International Herald Tribune

"A sustained and multivalent investigation into the relationship between design and power, often using visual and design tactics themselves as the form of interrogation. (...) In an appropriately inside-out manner, Metahaven echo Wally Olins definition of corporate identity 'strategy made visible' but with an entirely opposite intent." --Sam Jacob, Mute

About the Author

Metahaven s practice comprises commissioned design, research and writing for both the cultural and the commercial sector. Based in Amsterdam, they are considered one of the most innovative design studios in Europe, as they specialize in imaginative and critical approaches to branding and identity.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Farseeker and eye-opener. 4 May 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Ok, the "design" of the book is uncommon, but is part of the deal. All the themes are interesting and of main importance for everyone (not only deisgners) nowadays. I think Metahaven with their speculative approach can change a person's way of thinking about many problems.
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Strange title, odd-shaped book 29 Jun 2010
Full marks for stretching the mind - can't quite see where this is heading yet. Adding intellectual rigour to the mark-making process has to be good.
Will definately be something I'll return to as the ideas begin to sink in.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Curious Previous Review 9 Jan 2014
By Jessy Smith - Published on
I gather the user that reviewed this book before me ( "Floobergoober" ) is either entirely unfamiliar with Metahaven's work or is a troll. If you have any sort of background on the content that Metahaven produces, "Uncorporate Identity," will come as no surprise. Certainly worth reading.
2 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Weird and disappointing 6 Jan 2014
By FlooberGoober - Published on
I bought this book as I am a branding and identity designer and I am interested in expanding my influences--especially design for social good. I purchased this book after reading about it on DesignObserver and other sources. But once I got the book my impression of it is: it is a very bizarre book.

The typography is okay, the printing and binding is good (in line with Lars Muller's usual high quality and beautiful productions) but the design is shockingly awful: there are weird effects that you shouldn't use if you want to communicate trustworthiness and confidence such as amateur effects like drop shadows, hyperactive gradients and also seems to be on trend with this 'exposed content style' -- I would go so far to say it looks like very bad 90s Flash websites with all these superfluous elements that generate a feeling of schizophrenia and anxiety almost. I read the texts but they don't really offer any practical advice or useful analysis about branding and corporate identity useful to a branding designer -- for example how to deal with the internet and social media, what good form and harmony in application is and so on.

To be honest, I didn't really understand a lot of it and I am experienced in branding and corporate identity -- it really didn't meet my expectations. I wouldn't recommend this product to anyone serious about branding or corporate design. Maybe some intellectual-wannabe academic types that have nothing to do with the real world I guess (sorry!).

For real books about branding I highly recommend: Logo Design Love: A Guide to Creating Iconic Brand Identities, Wally Olins on Brand,The Brand Gap: How to Bridge the Distance Between Business Strategy and Design and Designing Brand Identity: An Essential Guide for the Whole Branding Team which I urge anyone interested and serious about branding to read; it is very practical, for example is in 3 sections as follows:

Basics: The difference between brand and brand identity, and what it takes to be the best.
Process: This section answers the question "Why does it take so long?" and addresses collaboration and decision making.
Best practices: These highly successful projects created by branding firms and design consultancies inspire and exemplify original, flexible, lasting solutions.

I think I will keep this book though as it is well produced, it is just a shame about the poor content...
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