What is post-branding?

How to Counter Fundamentalist Marketplace Semiotics


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Post-Branding empowers better design of public communication for civic and activist groups by replacing corporate branding’s predatory principles with a new set of strategies embedded in a new culture of craft. A new way of being and knowing, for a new way of relating with the world.

Brands aren’t just intruding on culture, they are our culture. They are the sponsored mechanisms for constructing and manipulating meaning and human identity. But should we cede such a fundamental human need to the market? If not, why not, and is there an alternative?

What is Post Branding? is a work of ‘practical theory’. It is a compact ‘pocket-book’ format publication composed of four main sections. The first, ‘DIS-BRANDED’, is a text of 20 short page-long chapters exposing the ideological underbelly and real-world impact of branding. The second, ‘MIXED MESSAGES’, is a provocative visual essay illuminating the texts’ main themes. The third, ‘MANUAL’, presents a framework for a critical alternative to corporate branding, humorously appropriating found instructional diagrams as a brand manual satire. This section also includes examples of completed contemporary projects that have implemented post-branding principles. The book concludes with ‘CONTEXT’, featuring a conversation with cultural theorist Brian Holmes and an argument with design historian Steven Heller.

Part design experiment, part critical theory, and part how-to-manual, What is Post-Branding? introduces a creative counter to branding’s neoliberal orthodoxy.


‘An uncompromising handbook of theory and action … This visually inventive pocketbook is a vital manual of resistance to the manipulative fundamentalism of the contemporary marketplace. Every graphic designer with a conscience should read it, weigh up its findings, heed its call to rethink, and find ways to apply its life-affirming insights.’

– Rick Poynor

Eye Magazine

‘Jason Grant and Oliver Vodeb deliver a forensic take-down of contemporary branding practise … a welcome riposte to the guff that accompanies most branding rhetoric.’

– Adrian Shaughnessy
Design Observer

‘The book is reminiscent of Marshall McLuhan and Quentin Fiore’s The Medium is the Massage, cautioning against a kind of mind (and soul) control… and brings some of those pre-branding, pre-digital ideas to the 21st century.’

– Steven Heller

‘As we grapple with the concepts and tools of 21st century communications, What is Post-Branding? arrives as a key to the crisis of imagination in which it seems easier to imagine the end of nature than the fundamental system and technological changes needed to shift onto a path of real sustainability. It invites a bright future of infinite potential built on collaborative communcations as an antidote to corporate competition’s bleak zero sum branding game.’

– Mike Townsley
Communications Director, Greenpeace International

‘Rarely do designers fully understand the proper social, cultural and political significance of branding. This book is the exception – it is a critical, extremely witty and creatively produced antidote to branding’s hype. It is a guide through the minefield of mass communication and identity design. In a time that is truly disorientating for both creatives and the general public, “What is Post-Branding” should be read, not just by anyone interested in the subject, but everyone who is concerned about where we are heading as a society, and about how we can stay human.’

– Jonathan Barnbrook
Barnbrook Design / VirusFonts

‘Undisciplined voices are needed to shout out against the hype and tyranny of branding. In this provocative book, more bricolage than treatise, Grant and Vodeb speak with passion and humor against  branding’s version of fake authenticity that reduces identity to micro difference within a hegemonic frame of conformity to commodification. They remind us that identity also means “identify with”, as in solidarity based on commonality-in-difference against the forces of defuturing.’

— Anne-Marie Willis
Studio at the Edge of the World





  • Typesoftcover
  • Dimensions105 x 165 mm or 9 x 11.75 inches (portrait)
  • Pages272
  • ISBN978-90-832706-7-8
  • LanguageEnglish
  • Release date20230318
  • BindingOtabind (softcover)
  • PaperMunken print White, 90 and 300 grams
  • Edition2500
  • PrinterPrinton, Tallin (Est.)
  • FontDot Receipt (custom), Inter (open source)
  • Image specs138 full color images, 29 duotone images and 39 bw. images
  • DetailsUV matt varnish, UV high-gloss spot varnish (first edition) and black foil for type (second edition)