The best books on creative advertising, art direction, and typography

The Books I Picked & Why

Design Fundamentals: Notes on Visual Elements & Principles of Composition

By Rose Gonnella, Christopher J. Navetta, Max Friedman

Design Fundamentals: Notes on Visual Elements & Principles of Composition

Why this book?

This book is an object of art. Beyond reading this book for all the information on the history of letterforms, the anatomy of letterforms, how to distinguish typefaces, and all the key concepts about typographic design you need to know, any reader will become a viewer—gazing at the beautiful illustrations for hours on end.

Leave it to the brilliant artist Rose Gonnella to turn a typography book into a masterpiece that belongs not in the museum gift shop but in the museum proper. Run don’t walk to your device or nearest bookseller to get this treasure. This book is one of three in a series on design fundamentals by the same authors.


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A Cannes Lions Jury Presents: The Art of Branded Entertainment

By PJ Pereira, Monica Chun, Jules Daly

A Cannes Lions Jury Presents: The Art of Branded Entertainment

Why this book?

Anyone in advertising or interested in advertising should read anything PJ Pereira (co-founder and Creative Chairman of Pereria O’Dell) has to say. Period. That should be enough reason to read this tome but there are more.

Content is everything. Advertising competes with entertainment online and everywhere 24/7. This book is a collection of essays from jurors on the 2017 Lions Entertainment award jury—therefore these folks know what they’re talking about.


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Inside Art Direction: Interviews and Case Studies

By Steven Brower

Inside Art Direction: Interviews and Case Studies

Why this book?

For many years, Brower was the art director at PRINT magazine and before that at esteemed book publishing houses. He is a brilliant art director and book designer, and we were co-authors a while back. In this book, Brower explores what art directors do in a design studio vs. a corporation, how the role is different than being a graphic designer and much more. Great interviews with pros are included are well. I admire Brower's award-winning cover and interior design of his book.


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The Contagious Commandments: Ten Steps to Brand Bravery

By Paul Kemp-Robertson, Chris Barth

The Contagious Commandments: Ten Steps to Brand Bravery

Why this book?

You can find the latest international advertising news and views at Contagious.com and you can find what makes advertising contagious in this book. Contagious is a global resource for the marketing industry and this book encapsulates their secrets. It’s a must-read for any strategist, creative, producer, or marketing pro. What I admire about The Contagious Commandments' approach is they emphasize thinking about the intersection of creativity, technology, and behavioral psychology, and never forgetting that the ideas you generate should not only positively impact the brand but society as well. 


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Black, Brown + Latinx Design Educators: Conversations on Design and Race

By Kelly Walters

Black, Brown + Latinx Design Educators: Conversations on Design and Race

Why this book?

What's so compelling and important about this book not only for educators but for all designers and creative professionals, is gaining insights into the multitude of experiences of Black, Brown, and Latinx design educators whose essays are included in this volume. The narratives of the educators included are powerful, offering rarely heard perspectives.

On a personal note, I had the pleasure and honor of working with Professors Kelly Walters and Anne H. Berry in the Design Incubation Fellowship; and, I'm proud to say Professor Jason Alejandro was my student. I love Walters' design of Black, Brown + Latinx Design Educators. It's a special treat for readers when the author is the designer because the design of words on the pages flow in a more purposeful way. That's the case with several of the books on my list!


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