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

Who am I?

I'm a Distinguished Professor in the Michael Graves College, Kean University. I’ve written over twenty books about advertising, graphic design, branding, personal branding, creativity, and drawing. On May 17, 2022, Routledge will publish my new book, Strategic Creativity: A Business Field Guide to Advertising, Branding, and Design. I’ve won numerous awards for my design, writing, and research, including awards from the National Society of Arts and Letters and the National League of Pen Women. In 2015, I received the Human Rights Educator award, 2016 Kean Presidential Excellence award for research, 2013 Teacher of the Year, and the Carnegie Foundation lists me among the great teachers of our time.


I wrote...

Advertising by Design: Generating and Designing Creative Ideas Across Media

By Robin Landa,

Book cover of Advertising by Design: Generating and Designing Creative Ideas Across Media

What is my book about?

Advertising by Design: Generating and Designing Creative Ideas Across Media delivers a cutting-edge take on ideation, art direction, and design for advertising. The book offers principles, instructions, and advice from experts to guide you through the fundamentals and the creative process. Advertising by Design shows you how to conceive ideas based on strategy, build brands, and encourage social media participation. You'll also get insights from guest essays and interviews with world-leading creatives.

"Advertising by Design is one of the most thorough, educational, and modern takes on how design and ideation work in concert in a variety of spaces. Robin is an expert at making complex ideas approachable for all creatives (both well-seasoned and fresh-to-the-game)."—Rich Tu, Vice President of Digital Design for the MTV Entertainment Group at ViacomCBS 

The books I picked & why

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Design Fundamentals: Notes on Visual Elements & Principles of Composition

By Rose Gonnella, Christopher J. Navetta, Max Friedman

Book cover of 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.

Design Fundamentals: Notes on Visual Elements & Principles of Composition

By Rose Gonnella, Christopher J. Navetta, Max Friedman

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Design Fundamentals as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Miss Visual Elements and Principles of Composition class, again? That's OK. You can borrow our notes.


Lucky for you, we didn't miss a single class the entire semester so you'll find all of the important points explained in the notes, along with the class assignments.


How does a dot turn into a line to create a shape that makes up a composition? We covered that and more. You'll see in the notes that we went over all of the basic elements of composition-dot, line, shape, texture, & pattern, color, and space-as well as the principles for composing the elements on…


A Cannes Lions Jury Presents: The Art of Branded Entertainment

By PJ Pereira, Monica Chun, Jules Daly

Book cover of 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.

A Cannes Lions Jury Presents: The Art of Branded Entertainment

By PJ Pereira, Monica Chun, Jules Daly

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Cannes Lions Jury Presents as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A special, première release of this groundbreaking book on the art of advertising and brand management to coincide with the 2018 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.

A collection of essays from jurors on the 2017 Lions Entertainment award. Drawing on years of experience and expertise, working for brands such as Mini, Coca-Cola, Lego, Google, Skype and Intel and for media and advertising giants such as Bartle Bogle Hegarty and MediaCom, the contributors provide a fun and far-reaching study of the evolution of branding and the future of advertising.

Live television viewing is decreasing as audiences choose to stream television…


Inside Art Direction: Interviews and Case Studies

By Steven Brower,

Book cover of 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.

Inside Art Direction: Interviews and Case Studies

By Steven Brower,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Inside Art Direction as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Honorable Mention in the Foreword Indie Awards 2016

For many design students, the expectation is that they will one day reach the top of the ladder within a design studio or corporation and become an art director. But what does this mean and how does a design student get there? What does an art director do? How is it different from being a designer? How does one lead and inspire a team, work with freelance designers, illustrators and photographers? Inside Art Direction answers all these questions for design students and professionals alike.

Through interviews with 18 art directors working in…


The Contagious Commandments: Ten Steps to Brand Bravery

By Paul Kemp-Robertson, Chris Barth,

Book cover of 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. 

The Contagious Commandments: Ten Steps to Brand Bravery

By Paul Kemp-Robertson, Chris Barth,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Contagious Commandments as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Contagion may alarm doctors but marketers thrive on it. Some concepts are so compelling you have to share them. But what makes an idea so infectious you can't keep it to yourself? And how can brands produce these kinds of ideas intentionally rather than by chance?

Contagious, the globally renowned intelligence resource for the marketing industry, is dedicated to identifying and interrogating the world's most exceptional creative trends. And in The Contagious Commandments, Paul Kemp-Robertson and Chris Barth condense this valuable research into ten strategic takeaways for your own marketing revolution.

Taking inspiration from disruptive campaigns from the likes of…


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

By Kelly Walters,

Book cover of 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!

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

By Kelly Walters,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Black, Brown + Latinx Design Educators as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In Black, Brown + Latinx Design Educators, Kelly Walters collects twelve deeply personal interviews with graphic design educators of color who teach at colleges and universities across the United States and Canada. BIPOC design educators often find themselves in design spaces where they struggle as the only person of color at their school or workplace. Their impactful stories offer invaluable perspectives for students and emerging designers of color, creating an entry point to address the complexities of race in design and bring to light the challenges of teaching graphic design at different types of public and private institutions.

The book…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in typography, product management, and branding?

7,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about typography, product management, and branding.

Typography Explore 8 books about typography
Product Management Explore 11 books about product management
Branding Explore 15 books about branding

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like Branding, Aaker on Branding, and Building a Storybrand if you like this list.