Branding Terror is a project for understanding the visual identities of terrorist organizations and insurgent groups. This requires the attempt to study terrorism without condemning it. This is not to be viewed as displaying insensitivity to the victims of terrorist acts, nor as an acceptance of the harmful, destructive and blameworthy motives of terrorists and their deeds.
Terrorist groups are no different from other organizations in their use of branding to promote their ideas and to distinguish themselves from groups that share similar aims. The branding they employ may contain complex systems of meaning and emotion; it conveys the group’s beliefs and capabilities. Branding Terror is the first comprehensive survey of the visual identity of the world’s major terrorist organizations, from al-Qaeda and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine to the Tamil Tigers. Each of the 60-plus entries contains a concise description of the group’s ideology, leadership, and modus operandi, and a brief timeline of events. The group’s branding — the symbolism, colors, and typography of its logo and flag — is then analyzed in detail. Branding Terror does not seek to make any political statements; rather, it offers insight into an understudied area of counter-intelligence, and provides an original and provocative source of inspiration for graphic designers.