Karl Schweikart, partner and co-creative director, 45 Degrees/Minneapolis

It’s validating to discover that branding is not a topic just for designers to geek on. As a partner in a design firm focused on brand identity work, I find the community Duets has pulled together to be a vibrant and informative group to hang with. I have learned a ton over the past couple of years. And because it is only one of many resources I look to, I offer up this short list of other online resources focused on branding and creativity:

LogoLounge has a very large database of visual brand identities submitted by designers. They publish occasional compendiums of logos and visual symbols, and a free annual report on trends. A membership ($100 annually) is required to search or contribute to their archive, but they do have a free blog that looks at logos and brand identity issues.

Design Observer is a website devoted to a broad range of design topics centered on graphic design, communications arts, print, typography and criticism. Founded by four well-known design practitioners, the site contains articles and features from some top design writers on all issues of design and culture.

AIGA (the American Institute of Graphic Arts). As it says on its website, “AIGA, the professional association for design, is committed to advancing design as a professional craft, strategic tool and vital cultural force.” This is a deep site full of resources and information on all forms of visual communication and the practice and employment of design. The Design Archives section contains an extensive treasury of American design work, including collections of winning entries from design competitions, and work from legendary design firms. Voice is an online journal for the discussion of design matters. Access to most of the site’s content is open to non-members.

Brand New has been mentioned in this blog before. Its purpose is to chronicle and provide opinions on corporate and brand identity work, focusing mainly on identity design. Especially entertaining and enlightening are discussions of re-branding efforts, and the success (or not) thereof. Look for the April 4 post on the redesign of the Home Depot brand identity. No fooling!

DMI, the Design Management Institute, seeks to “connect design to business, to culture, and to customers.” It brings together educators, researchers, designers, and leaders from every design discipline, every industry, and from all over the world. Their stated goal is to heighten the awareness of design as an essential part of business strategy. DMI News & Views is a free, monthly newsletter featuring a variety of perspectives on design and business.

And finally, an important resource for both branding types and lawyers to not overlook is one very close at hand – the “Spell Check” feature in most software. Nothing does more to tarnish a brand, or diminish its effectiveness, than to misspell it publicly: