As a marketer in the business of advertising and marketing design, I was intrigued when I first heard of the book Visual Marketing, and I was glad to get my hands on it. The premise of the book is both exciting and unoriginal: that visuals have as much to do with marketing as copy or sound is of course, well recognized, and has been used to great effect by advertisers and marketers alike. This book, however, is about visual marketing in the new world of online media: so it is infographics, web design, apps and games that take the center stage along with logos, signs, banners, print mailers and business cards—and thankfully, there isn't a TV ad in sight.
Yet this isn't a graphic design book: in fact, some of the examples deal with copy or an interesting business name, making the point that all the elements of marketing go hand in hand and are most effective when they all work together to enforce the message.
Some of the examples are truly innovative and not merely visually: a recording studio sends out a promotional vinyl record with where the cardboard album jacket doubles as a record player. One of my favorites is an artist's business card that folds to look like a painting on an easel.
The biggest letdown of the book is that it's not in color. Many of the examples just don't come through as effectively: my delight at discovering Help Remedies (which I had seen in a Duane Reade in New York) as an example of effective packaging design was somewhat dampened by the fact that grayscale just doesn't convey the vibrant, stand-out feel of the packaging.
Another petty complaint is that the book could have been shorter, and used only the most exciting of these examples. A few of the examples seem a little commonplace and repetitive, taking away from the inspiration that the best ones provide. A shorter book would have been an easier and more engaging read.