There are many paths people take to becoming a copywriter or an art director. Some people study design. Some study marketing or advertising. Others just kinda fall into it one way or another. But regardless of the journey, it’s important to learn what’s come before us and how thing whole business really works. So in honor of those who are crazy enough to join us, I give you my list of the top 5 books every creative (aspiring or otherwise) should read.
1. Hey Whipple, Squeeze This by Luke Sullivan
Named as a homage to the classic Charmin advertising campaign, Hey Whipple, Squeeze This is by far the best example of what it’s really like to be a creative. Originally written in the 1990s, with a more recent update, this book paints a vivid picture of how copywriters and art directors really work and thoughtfully examines the process of making effective, creative ads.
2. Ogilvy on Advertising by David Ogilvy
One of advertising’s masters, this book was written decades ago (1980s) but you’d hardly know it. This book will be on everyone’s list because Ogilvy’s ideas on creativity, communication and selling are as just as relevant for websites and social media today as they were for print and TV back then. Also see: Confessions of an Advertising Man.
3. Creativity Inc. by Ed Catmull
Even if you’re not a Pixar fan, there is a lot to learn in this book about how they tackle creativity as a business and the ideals and techniques that have made Pixar so successful.
4. The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell
Or just read pretty much anything by Malcolm Gladwell. In The Tipping Point, Gladwell examines why brands rise and fall in a highly-readable and entertaining way. It’s an interesting perspective on the world of marketing and branding.
5. Communication Arts Annuals
This isn’t one book but rather a series of manuals to study. Every year (since like, forever) Communication Arts puts out annuals of some of the best work of the year – in advertising, illustration, etc. Study these. Because while it’s great to read about how to do the work, it’s just as important to see the work that’s already been done.