Publication: Marks of Excellence

Mollerup, Per, 1997. Marks of Excellence: The History and Taxonomy of Trademarks. Phaidon Press, London & New York. 240 pp. ISBN: 0-7148-3838-1 (paperback)

Per Mollerup’s Marks of Excellence is a rather lavishly produced Phaidon publication. While this work introduces no new theoretical basis for the consideration of marks it is still a useful and comprehensive overview, particularly as concerns marks used in a commercial context. It decisively elevates the sophistication of description and classification of trademarks and ‘logos’ in the world of business, branding and graphic design.

As summarized on the dust jacket:

“This book presents a thorough exploration of the trademark: its history, development, style, classification and relevance in today’s world. A brief history is given of the origins of the trademark in heraldry, monograms, owner’s marks and certificates of origin. The next chapters form a study of corporate identity and communication design with an emphasis on sign theory. The core of the book is a comprehensive taxonomy of trademarks, covering name marks, abbreviations and all kinds of picture marks. Also included is an alphabetical index of trademark themes: an illustrated selection of examples which feature some of the world’s best trademarks – the marks of excellence from which this book takes its name. The final section of the book covers the development of trademarks over time and across the boundaries of language and space.”