Required Reading III: Damn Good Advice

If Twitter were a thing back in the ’70s and 80s  it would be littered with the musings from famed graphic designer George Lois. Damn Good Advice (For People with Talent!): How To Unleash Your Creative Potential by America’s Master Communicator, George Lois kept popping up on absolutely every must-read list for creative people and has been on my reading list for a while now. I finally decided to pick it up and give it a shot.

If you don’t recognize Lois by his name, you should definitely know his work—from his iconic Esquire covers to launching MTV into moon man welding, super stardom. He’s the only person hanging in all the Halls of Fame (ADC, One Club, AIGA, CLIO, AAF) and not to mention star of  the documentary Art & Copy.

In short, he knows what the hell he’s talking about.

Enter, Damn Good AdviceLois’ latest book (debuting in 2012, so I’m a little late to the party) giving hopefuls, pros, and creative thinkers 120 pieces of advice on…well everything. Big ideas, inspiration, selling work and selling yourself; whatever you need there’s a word for you.

It’s hard to pick a favorite piece of advice out of the book. But in the unlikely life or death situation where I had to choose it would be:

“No matter what stage you are in your career, use your creativity to stand up for our heroes, and protect your culture against villains.”

That quote stood out to me as a young creative. Though we’re interns, students, juniors—whatever, our work still has the power to elicit change and positively shift culture. Obviously, in the ad business our goal is to push product, but in that process we should never exploit ourselves, our culture and the people we admire. That’s everything Black Coffee Creatives stands for. That’s everything I stand for as a person, as a creative.

If you peruse Buzzfeed on the daily, this book will be a breeze to get through.  The list format paired with colorful pictures on every page keeps it engaging even for the shortest of attention spans.

This quick read filled with practical advice really puts this book off the charts. Priced at round $5, it’s cheaper than a fancy cup o’ joe–that alone is worth 5 out of 5 mugs. Definitely add this book to your collection, you’d be a fool not to.

5/5 mugs

Required Reading II: The Hero and the Outlaw

Okay guys, my main goal is to be as completely honest and transparent as possible. So I’m just going to be straight up—I did not enjoy the book I’m about to recommend to you. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t totally read it, because it’s spilling with info about the personality and stories of brands. And who knows, it just might be your favorite book.

Concluding our conversation on brand voice, personality and archetypes;  the perfect pairing for our theme is The Hero and the Outlaw: Building Extraordinary Brands Through the Power of Archetypes. While working on my first new business pitch as an intern, my CD recommended The Hero and The Outlaw  to ensure my partner and I understood how to reposition the brand without straying too far from the already established voice.  Because I was an intensely eager intern, I downloaded the book to my Kindle before we even finished our briefing.

It starts off strong giving  anecdotal, real-world examples taken from celebrity gossip and news to popular brands. Combing psychology and storytelling, it shows the varying roles each brand and personality takes on to captivate an audience. Further in the book, in a drowning amount of detail, it covers the twelve different archetypes. Did I mention this book is detailed?

Though I never read this book cover to cover (or finished it for that matter),  I use it as reference. It isn’t a book you can finish on a lazy weekend. Or a week. It’s a lot to get through, but it is full of awesome insights on how brands can connect with their audience.

Overall it’s a decent book to have in your collection. Even if you don’t read it straight through, you’ll still learn plenty on how brands fit into different archetypes.

3 out of 5 mugs. Would read someday again.mugscale3_5

Check it out and let me know what you think.

Required Reading I

When I was getting my book in front of everyone I could, a very kind recruiter took time to review and critique my work. I’d been getting feedback, but she was honest, my book needed some work. Ok, a lot of work. She recommended I pick up a copy of How to Put your Book Together and get a Job in Advertising by Maxine Paetro. Give or take six months of reading it, I revamped my portfolio and started interning at an agency in Chicago.

I’m not saying this book is the golden ticket to an agency, but the advice within the pages is golden. If your school, like mine, never really explained what the hell a portfolio is I highly recommend you grab a copy. It’s a very easy to follow and quick read that could help jumpstart your career.