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9 Non-Branding Books About Branding that Every Creative Should Read

Brand Strategy
min read
In this article

Spoiler Alert!

Learning about branding isn’t just about learning about BRANDING. It’s learning about design, copy, marketing, business, the online world, and so much more. So if you���re keen to get your learn on, we've got 8 of our favorite non-branding books about branding for ya!

*Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, we may earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

Wordslut: A Feminist Guide to Taking Back the English Language

Wordslut by Amanda Montell is all about feminism and the English language, gendered language and the way it shapes us. Messaging makes up so much of a brand, so the words that you use on your website, Instagram, and everywhere else, matter! Understanding where words come from and what they mean can help you build a meaningful brand with intentional, inclusive language. Wordslut is the book to help you do that! (P.S. We highly recommend Amanda's other book, Cultish, too. Same vibe, different content. Cults this time!)

Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion

What happens to our behaviour when we live mostly online? Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion by Jia Tolentino is a collection of essays that explores that question. When most of our lives, including our personal brands and businesses, are online, that can change who we are, what we share, and how we act. So what does that mean for branding? Does that impact how you build your creative brand? Find out in Trick Mirror! (That first essay? Mwah! Chef's Kiss!)

Design for the Real World: Human Ecology and Social Change

Wanna learn about design? You can't get much more of a classic than Design for the Real World by Victor Papanek. One of the world's most widely read books on design, this is all about how we can use design to solve moral and environmental problems. Design is such a huge part of branding, so knowing the impact that can have, and how your brand could change your life and the world, is pretty powerful stuff. Dig in and get deep with Design for the Real World.

Biased: Uncovering the Hidden Prejudice That Shapes What We See, Think, and Do

Racial bias is all around us, often in ways you've never thought of, and even, in branding. It's a problem that we all have a role to play in solving and should be addressed when building brands, creating content, collaborating, and in so many other aspects of creative business. Biased by Jennifer L. Eberhardt is all about uncovering these hidden prejudices that shape our lives and providing actionable tools to address it. You can use those tools in your life, business, and brand.

Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men

On that same theme of bias, Invisible Women by Caroline Criado Perez comes in HOT talking all about the gender bias that exists in the world around us. In everything from voice recognition to cellphones, medical research and more, women are excluded from the thought process. Instead, everything is built with men in mind. When it comes to brands, it's interesting to see where that's happened too, and to work on building equality and inclusivity into the branding we do. So if you wanna get a bit angry and use that fuel to build a badass brand, then this one's for you!

No Logo: No Space, No Choice, No Jobs

Whether you create products, services, or anything in between, business is about selling. But how we sell and how our customers buy has changed over time. So how does that impact how you build and grow your brand? No Logo by Naomi Klein is a classic read about how our generation is fighting consumerism and what it means to live in a branded world. Ideal for rebels who wanna question the bigger impact of branding on our culture and fight capitalism while still building a creative biz!  

The Secret Lives of Color

We talk heaps about color in branding of course, but there is so much more to each pretty pigment than meets the eye. Every colour has a story and so much of that history impacts how we feel about them today. The Secret Lives of Color is about the history, stories, and meanings of hundreds of different colors, from Lead Tin Yellow to Cochineal, Dragon Blood, and endless shades in between. Want a better appreciation for the color you're using? A cool story to tell when someone asks about your brand color? Check out The Secret Lives of Color!

Just My Type

If you like The Secret Lives of Color, you're gonna love Just My Type. This book by Simon Garfield is a book of stories about fonts, like why Barack Obama chose Gotham, or Comic Sans is actually a great font! (Hear us out!) And as the blurb says, it'll reveal what your choice of font says about you! So if you're a type nerd like us who's looking for a funny, fact-filled read about letters, glyphs, and interrobangs, Just My Type is the perfect read for you.

Show Your Work

If you've read or looked for any creative books, you've likely come across Austin Kleon's work. He's well known for his first read, Steal Like an Artist, and his latest, Keep Going, is a motivational masterpiece. However, when it comes to non-branding books about branding, Show Your Work is the one you wanna grab. This book is a go-to guide on how creatives can share their work and get discovered. Plus, it's a quick read, so bonus! Definitely check this one out.

Any of these books catch your eye? Got any hot recs of your own to add to the list? DM or tag us on Instagram @makerandmoxie and show us what you're reading!

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July 21, 2022





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