Three Inspiring Books To Dip Into For Some Insight And Inspiration.

December 6, 2017
Ex Libris James

Ex Libris James – Part One of Three

Here’s three inspiring books that I enjoy dipping into once in a while for some insight and inspiration.


One Plus One Equals Three
by Dave Trott

Mr Trott, by all accounts, is a challenging individual to work for but clearly worth the grief based on this brilliant compendium of his own articles and blogs. There are many wonderful stories and insights to draw inspiration from but one of my favourites is the tale of the American street beggar who places nine bowls in front of himself every morning. Each cup is clearly labelled with a major belief system and an invitation to donate based on your level compassion for the homeless. Dave surmises that the beggar, by cleverly playing one belief system off another for charitable displays generosity, demonstrated a natural flair for marketing strategy that would put most of us to shame. So which belief system is the most generous? Read the book and find out. The answer may surprise you!

3,800 Early Advertising Cuts: Deberny Type Foundry
by Carol Belanger Grafton

A weird and wonderful collection of 19th and early 20th century royalty-free commercial woodcuts that, with a little imagination, can still have some surprisingly contemporary and fresh looking applications.

I recently dusted off my copy to inject some retro-hipster personality into the Grapeskin Wine bar branding for La Ville Hotel & Suites CITY WALK Dubai, which is part of the Marriott group. The resultant brand identity won Gold in this year’s Creativity International Awards! Cheers!

As a postscript, some of our creative brethren hailing from London may fondly remember The Dover Bookshop, located on Denmark Street, London’s answer to Tin Pan Alley. Back in the day, it was an Aladdin’s cave of retro and historic royalty-free illustrations, graphics and typography, and an invaluable resource for any budding creative. Sadly the shop is now gone but many of the books are still available online.

A Brief History Of Time
by Professor Stephen Hawking

Readers of my previous blog articles will know I have a ‘thing’ for cosmology and mind-bending physics. I blame it on the BBC’s ‘The Sky at Night’ presented by Sir Patrick Moore; Carl Sagan’s ‘The Cosmos’ (essential TV viewing as a child); and this guy – Professor Stephen Hawking and his book ‘A Brief History of Time’. Although Professor Hawking tells us intelligence can be over-rated for long-term survival, I think there is something comforting knowing humans can be this brainy. Professor Hawking’s ability to communicate the most complex and challenging concepts in user-friendly reading material for the layman is truly inspiring and (bearing in mind his health status) unsurpassed.

Also, let’s remember too, as branding and advertising professionals that is is exactly what we aim to do every day – distil highly complex (or just confusing) client briefs into simple, memorable messages that everyday people will act on but that don’t lose any of the original meaning.

James Wood
Creative Director