Logos of Loyalty and Fear

This article was first published as “New book delves into logos that evoke loyalty—and fear” in The Times of Israel.

Hamas flag (photo credit: Courtesy of Merrell Publishers)

Hamas flag (photo credit: Courtesy of Merrell Publishers)

‘It’s all about design these days,” said Artur Beifuss, co-author of a book about branding.

Beifuss sounds like he might have experience in corporate marketing or advertising, maybe for a multinational company like Coca Cola, Nestlé or Google. But he doesn’t. Instead, he has worked for the United Nations as a counter-terrorism analyst, specializing in the Islamic variety.

By watching thousands of horrific videos (“It’s not a nice job”), he came to realize that in our era, brand identity is important not only to commercial entities, but also to organizations that operate in the markets of insurrection, kidnapping, suicide bombing and beheading.

Terrorism may be a bloody business, but it is still a business.

Beifuss has co-authored a new book, “Branding Terror: The Logotypes and Iconography of Insurgent Groups and Terrorist Organizations,” together with his colleague Franceso Trivini Bellini, a professional graphic designer and creative director.

The Odessa-born, German Beifuss, 30, met the Italian Bellini, also 30, when they were both living for a period in Amsterdam, and they decided to pool their talents to create a reference guide to the visual identities of the world’s terror organizations.

“Branding, marketing and the visual communication of ideas and messages are tools that are used not only by corporations and political parties. Every organization that tries to put a message across, to influence an audience and to stand out in a highly competitive sector, or even to mark a claimed territory… needs a well-defined visual identity,” Beifuss writes in the introduction to the book.

Whether they are sophisticated in their branding attempts or not, all terrorist groups are aware that their logos and flags are key instruments in both planting fear and encouraging allegiance.

Click here to read more.

© 2013 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.

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