As many may know, one of my ongoing jobs is at an art school in the advertising department where I teach on words and concepts and ideas in the world of ad and design. I'm fortunate to be able to explore any number of topics in most of the classes I teach and it allows me to indulge my own fascination in things like the origins of swearing, how language works, where ideas come from, design and culture--so many things really.
Some where along the way I came across the work of Steven Heller , a man with a storied career in the world of visual and graphic design. He has written something like 120 books on issues related to graphic design and visual culture, covering a mind-boggling range of topics.
My latest read has been his book on the swastika. Swastika: Symbol beyond redemption? is an exploration of the origins of the symbol and its transition to symbol of evil. It's a provocative work that has been called polemical. It's a fascinating into controversial territory taken from a very personal angle. You can read an interview with the author here, which might deepen your curiosity, beyond the provocative icon he explores the book is also a great tool for thinking about how symbols work in society.
And here is a talk he gave on totalitarian regimes and their use of propaganda which is really worth a look and listen.
Adolf Hitler was a logo.