Essential to discovering new and original ideas, creativity is the foundation for effective problem solving and business success. Many believe that creativity is an innate quality that all possess. Others have argued that creativity is a skill that can be learned. Either way, it’s clear that the human mind is a powerful tool for thinking up ideas to enhance the world around us. We believe that creativity and innovation are essential things to learn and practice. Therefore, our team here at Stratifi compiled our recommendation for the top 10 creative books you should read to use at your job, in your business, and ultimately for your life.
1 – Building a Storybrand by Donald Miller
New York Times bestselling author, Donald Miller identifies the seven universal elements needed for a powerful brand story in order to connect with customers. This StoryBrand process provides a solution to the challenges business leaders face when talking about their business. Whether you’re a marketing director of a large corporation, an entrepreneur with a small start up, or an intern working on your degree, Building a StoryBrand will change the way you think and talk about your brand messaging.
2 – Start with Why by Simon Sinek
Start with Why goes beyond products, services, job titles, careers, and lifestyles. It unveils the motivations behind why we think, say, and act the way we do. With regards to a business, the “why” is the reason someone buys. The “what” is just a tangible product to demonstrate that belief. Successful sales tactics used by companies today aim to tug on your beliefs. In this book, Sinek focuses on the human desire to belong. This desire is like a magnet, drawing people together who have the same “why” in life. This also applies to hiring. Many companies hire skilled employees and then try to motivate them, while great companies know their “why” so well that the similarly-motivated employees desire to work for that company. Motivated employees with a passion for their work are more productive and innovative because they believe in what they and the company are working towards.
Although Start with Why may seem out of place on this list, we feel like it’s at the heart of understanding creative problem solving. Therefore, it’s one of 10 creative books you should read right now to improve the way you think about creativity as a whole.
“Regardless of WHAT we do in our lives, our WHY—our driving purpose, cause or belief—never changes.”Simon Sinek
3 – Meggs’ History of Graphic Design by Alston Purvis and Philip B. Meggs
Learn the history of graphic design, from the invention of the alphabet to today’s digital world! For those who love visuals, the book contains over 1,400 stunning images, as it walks readers through how typography and printing began, the evolution of art, and the technologies that fueled greater artistic innovations.
Interesting fact: Graphic Design was Stratifi’s first service offered to clients! Check out our work here.
4 – Designing Brand Experiences by Robin Landa
If you’re considering starting a business or are part of a marketing team, this book is your guide to branding and its impact on business success. Taking you through each phase of the branding process, Designing Brand Experiences will teach you how to build brands that speak to and resonate with your ideal audience. Covering strategy, graphic design, websites, advertising, and more, readers will leave equipped with advice from successful marketing professionals, award-winning designers, and leading creative directors.
5 – The Elements of Typographic Style by Robert Bringhurst
If you’ve ever stopped to think about where a font comes from or why we have so many fonts, this book is for you. Deep dive into the use of fonts, how to create them, and page layout design. The book will take you back to the origins of type, including clay writings, the first paper, the story of the printing process and more. Helpful visuals communicate the details of a typeface and the elements that make up strong letters, fonts, and font pairings.
6 – Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon
Write the book you want to read. Paint the picture you want to look at. Gather ideas from wherever they come from. Be inspired to create. Create and share with the world.
This book provides 10 aspects to building a creatively inspired life. This includes messages such as: Don’t be afraid just to start! Failing is part of the process. Remix and reimagine existing work. Follow your inspiration and make your own unique path.
7 – The Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman
Design is much more than art or graphics, it is any influence on the natural world. We experience this regularly, every day and everywhere we go. The goal of good design is to make things easier and better. This is why poor design can be so frustrating. What many call “human error” is actually an example of poor design. The book reiterates that with proper feedback and focus, highly effective and functional design is possible. To seamlessly walk a user “to the right action on the right control at the right time”, is the goal for all great design.
8 – “Don’t Make Me Think” by Steve Krug
If you are looking to improve your web design or just want to understand why your web design is pushing you toward more simplicity, this is the book for you.
Users do not want to have to think and try to figure out to find what they need. This book teaches readers how to reduce barriers and increase the intuitiveness of websites and apps, allowing users to find what they are looking for and take their next step with ease. Although it may sound counterintuitive, reduce instructions to a minimum. Why? Because the path should be so obvious that no explanation is needed.
“If you can make something significantly clearer by making it slightly inconsistent, choose in favor of clarity.”Steve Krug
9 – Thinking with Type by Ellen Lupton
Another one for you Typography nerds! Learn how letters and text affect the way we look at design, from alignment and arrangement to shaping and spacing. Lupton covers step by step how to improve readability through your design choice. The book is full of examples, exercises, and illustrations to further confirm the principles laid out for successful typographic design.
10 – Rocket Surgery Made Easy by Steve Krug
When it comes to usability testing, any testing is better than none at all. This book covers remote and unmoderated testing for those on a budget and more extensive guided testing processes. Rocket Surgery Made Easy covers the steps of usability testing. Observe as someone walks through a list of tasks that you provided them. Identify problem areas and discuss your participant’s experience. Find the perfect balance of improving the experience without creating new issues.
Looking to purchase one of these books? Check the 10 creative books you should read right now at a local bookstore, Amazon, or go green AND save money by buying them used at Thriftbooks.com!
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