“The desire to create is one of the deepest yearnings of the human soul.”Dieter F. Uchtdorf
Marketing and creativity are deeply connected, even where it might not be readily apparent. Sure, some of it’s obvious — the designer concepting and iterating new visual branding for a client, or the writer given free rein to delve into beloved books for the agency blog. But look a little deeper, at the developer engaging all users through universal design, and the account manager anticipating future client needs to offer proactive solutions. (Humblebrag: These are all Look Listen employees.) Creativity is at the heart of all good work.
That being said, some of our daily tasks are — how to put this — more inspired than others.
Meetings, administrative work and repetitive assignments can feel a little soul-sucking, and when out-of-the-box thinking is not appreciated, it does a number on our creative confidence. So how do we continue to hone creativity, even in the face of minutia and barriers? List after list cites reading as an important way to break through blocks to stay motivated and imaginative.
Since finding something worth reading in our limited free time can be a challenge, we’ve crowdsourced a list of twelve books that sparked creativity in our employees. Read one a month, or as time allows, and join us on social to discuss all the ways you’ve been inspired!
February: Kitchen Confidential
Brian Collins, Senior Director of Development, writes: This book underscores the importance of learning your craft, learning to communicate and learning to navigate the complicated world of team dynamics — at least in part by putting in time on the “front lines” of producing/executing whatever your “thing” is. Pretty funny, too.
March: The Girl with All the Gifts
Kelsey Waananen, Copy Editor, writes: This book surprised me because I thought I knew all about the world of the zombie apocalypse. The author took the time to build a different world and find nuances to the genre that I hadn’t considered before. It was a good reminder to me that there’s always more to explore.
May: Creativity, Inc.
E Kathuria, Web Developer, writes: I thought it was an excellent treatise on working with creative people and creative teams and getting the best out of them. I found the book inspiring from the standpoint of being able to get a behind-the-scenes look at what it means to have a creative culture at such a widely regarded, admired, and successful company (Pixar).
Erica Robinson, Director of Client Success, writes: This book taught me that work ethic and a strong ‘why’ can overcome almost any obstacle, professionally and personally.
June: Book of the New Sun
Adam Barrett, Senior Media Manager, writes: This book has an unreliable narrator and it takes place sometime in the future; details are only sparsely revealed and sometimes words don’t have the same meaning in this world as they do in ours. Wolfe intentionally makes it difficult to figure out what’s going on. It encourages the reader to decipher certain details, but you have to learn what’s going to be helpful and what will just lead you to paralysis by analysis.
Kit Hughes, CEO, writes: It was cathartic to read the multi-millennial history of our species and how we moved, developed cultures and governance systems, and shaped the ecosystem of the earth.
Annemarie Miller, Associate Creative Director, writes: This was one of my absolute favorites as a kid, and it’s still a more fun Where’s Waldo. Each page has about 1,000 things to look at and explore, and every time you open the book, there’s something new you didn’t notice before. I’m inspired by the tangible satisfaction of finding Goldbug on each page (it’s a mini victory every time), discovering the other hidden Easter eggs, and following the rather touching central story of the Pig family. Plus, I learned a LOT about the different types of cars… and trucks… and things that go.
September: The Design of Everyday Things
Derek Kramer, Senior Developer, writes: Don Norman walks through design concepts and principles surrounding a practice he invented (Human-Centered Design). He illustrates (hilariously) everyday examples of amazing design we never notice, as well as awful design that makes life so much harder (like frustratingly complicated push/pull doors that even outsmart the gifted kids).
October: The Book of Delights: Essays
Crystal Noonan, Office Administrator, writes: I find my creativity is low when I’m feeling a bit low. These short essays inspire me to actively search for and magnify small moments of joy in daily life, sparking a different way of thinking about the mundane.
November: Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear
Blanca McKissick, Director of Client Delivery, writes: Big Magic is all about unblocking external and internal obstacles that are imposed on our creativity. I love that Elizabeth Gilbert is pragmatic in her approach while consistently encouraging the qualities that make us creative — staying curious and overcoming our own fear and frustrations.
December: The Crossroads of Should and Must
Ariana Zukowski, Graphic Designer, writes: This book inspired me to be creative outside the office, which helped me separate personal work from client work. Embarking on my own projects improved my ability to navigate client revisions without taking them personally and to focus on the user throughout the process, instead of my own interests.
January 2021: It’s a Magical World: A Calvin and Hobbes Collection
Ryan Tibbits, Visual Designer, reminds us to start the new year right: Be smart, be creative, and be a little rebellious!
All images courtesy of Amazon.com.