Here is my list of the top six books for creative director brain stimulation. I could say more. But, why? Ok, let ChatGPT4 define (in a most boring fashion) what an advertising creative director does for a living:
An advertising creative director is a senior-level executive in an advertising agency or marketing department who is responsible for overseeing the development of the creative concepts and strategies for advertising campaigns. They lead a team of creatives, including copywriters, art directors, designers, and other professionals, to develop campaigns that effectively communicate the client’s message and achieve the desired results.
“Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative” by Austin Kleon. I’ll keep this one simple. From Austin himself: “Nothing is original, so embrace influence, school yourself through the work of others, remix and reimagine to discover your own path.” Hey, just buy this brilliantly well-written and illustrated guide to how to use your head. Afraid to steal? Pablo Picasso on creativity, “Good artists copy, great artists steal.”
“It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want to Be: The world’s best-selling book by Paul Arden.” I worked with Paul at Saatchi & Saatchi London. He was both brilliant and occasionally the most impossible-to-work-with creative director… ever. This is another just buy it. You can turn to any page and get your creative juices following big time. A quote: “Why do we strive for excellence when mediocrity is required?” One more just for you… “What do you do when your client won’t buy?”
“The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles” by Steven Pressfield. Over 25,000 people have given this book 4.5 or more stars on Amazon. Do I have to say more? One more from Steven. “Nobody Wants To Read Your Shit.”
“Building a StoryBrand” by Donald Miller. Yes, the word “story” has become a bit overused in the world of marketing. But… Miller’s book delivers a how-to guide for building out a brand story that delivers a brand’s core positioning and reason for existing in the first place. What is your story?
“Contagious” by Jonah Berger. Directly from the Contagious Amazon page: “The New York Times bestseller that explains why certain products and ideas become popular.” Getting an idea to stick ain’t easy. Here is a guidebook to help the creative director in you to get sticky.
“Popular Lies* About Graphic Design” by Craig Ward. Small. Easy to read (or not) you decide. A book built on lies. From Craig: “This is not a book full of facts. Nor is it a book full of advice. It is a book full of opinions, and confusion between those three is how a lot of these problems begin.”