What If Terror Group Logos Were Brand Logos?

What If Terror Group Logos Were Brand Logos?

A new book combines design insight with counterterrorism intelligence for a new look into terrorist operations.

Ryan Gerhardt
  • 17 april 2013

It seems that we can no longer turn on the news or pick up a paper without hearing about new terrorist attacks or the formation of an insurgent organization. With so much destruction and suffering caused by these organizations, you may find yourself wondering how they continue to recruit supporters.

Artur Beifuss and Francesco Trivini Bellini are hoping to shed some light on the topic by using an underutilized, and somewhat unique, angle: logos.

Terror and insurgent groups are effectively brands, using logos, textiles, and other visuals to define their group identity, exhibit their aims, and recruit new supporters. Bellini, a creative director, and Beifuss, a former counterterrorism analyst for the UN, have written a new book called Branding Terror that attempts to discern these aims and tactics by exploring the visual identifiers of 60 terror organizations from around the world.




While this is inextricably a charged topic, the authors say

Branding Terror does not seek to make any political statements; rather, it offers insight into an understudied area of counterintelligence, and provides an original and provocative source of inspiration for graphic designers.

The book, in addition to providing research and background into the identified groups, analyzes the group’s branding strategies in detail through the ‘symbolism, colors, and typography of its logo and flag.’ They selected the groups by looking at a wide range of official government lists of terror groups, from administrations around the world, trying to distill a highly disparate culture.




What are some of the things they found?

The majority of the groups covered in the book are involved in armed struggle. Therefore, common elements in their logos include weapons like rifles and swords. Animals and birds of prey . . . a map to locate the group or to show their area of operation . . . [or] a visual way to legitimize armed struggle religiously.


RAF logo from Branding Terror

RAF logo from Branding Terror

While it certainly seems odd to deconstruct the unjustifiable actions of these unstable groups, the book does offer a unique perspective into the aims and methodologies of these organizations. It would be interesting to see if there is a practical application for this knowledge beyond design instruction. Who knows, maybe this could become a new facet in the counterterrorism struggle.

Branding Terror

Images from Branding Terror via It’s Nice That


Lancôme's Newest Campaign Stars A Domestic Abuse Survivor

Arts & Culture Today

Mischievous Drone Will Drop Paint-Filled Balloons On Targets Of Your Choosing

A German photography team developed the flying device to accurately deliver a payload wherever needed

Retail Today

Snapchat Reveals A Striking Pair Of Video-Recording Sunglasses

Spectacles make memories from your perspective and transfer them to the app


Get PSFK's Related Report: Innovation Debrief: Boston

See All
Fashion Today

100 Backpacks Made For The World’s Top Influencers

Heineken and TUMI have collaborated on a unique custom NYC-inspired bag

Financial Services Today

This Peer-To-Peer Insurance Company Is Powered By Bots

Lemonade is a new product designed to lighten the paperwork and provide instant, helpful service when needed

Related Expert

Troy Carter

Music Production, Social Media

Design Today

Concept Artists And Scientists Form Partnership To Visualize The Future

The collaboration hopes to liberate ideas and innovations trapped in notebooks

Automotive Today

Uber Could Be Bringing Vertical Takeoff Transport To Your City

The ridesharing app is looking into the development of nimble aircraft for urban environments

Arts & Culture Yesterday

Small Urban Pavilions Create A Nature Refuge In East London

These relaxing micro shelters provide a haven amidst chaotic city environments


Future Of Automotive
Scenarios Driving The Digital Transformation Of An Industry

PSFK Op-Ed september 23, 2016

Productivity Expert: The Magic Of The Five-Hour Workday

Stephan Aarstol, Founder of Tower Paddle Boards, explains why the modern notion of office hours needs to evolve

PSFK Labs Today

New Mentorship Ecosystems Benefit All Levels Of An Organization

PSFK’s Future of Work report explores how technology is being leveraged to support cross-team communication

Travel Yesterday

Travel Laundry Pouch Washes Your Clothes Wherever You Are

The Scrubba Wash Bag helps anyone wash their clothes easily and quickly with just a little water and soap

Social Media Yesterday

Swipe Up To Register To Vote On Snapchat

The social platform has partnered with TurboVote to help young people easily enroll in less than one minute

Children Yesterday

Battle Card Game Promotes Childhood Vaccinations

An Australian doctor has developed a playful way to inform parents about immunization and entertain kids

Fitness / Sport Yesterday

Oakley And Intel’s Sunglasses Give You A Built-In Personal Trainer Wherever You Go

The sunglasses/earbuds hybrid tracks your performance and lets you know how well your workouts are going


Future Of Work
Cultivating The Next Generation Of Leaders

Design & Architecture Yesterday

Watch The World’s Tallest Building Become An LED Display

Burj Khalifa gives a backstage look at how the transformation came to be

Travel Yesterday

Boeing Wants To Make Your Flight Better With Cloud And Star Projections

The manufacturer is trying to patent a projection system that would allow them to project images onto a plane's interior surfaces

Latin America Yesterday

Colombians Teach Dance To Fund Students’ Education

Chocó to Dance is a platform that shows you how to replicate popular Latin dances to help create scholarships for local students

No search results found.