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Inbound Marketing Blog

    A Marketer’s Favorite Art and Design Books of 2013

    Posted by Bill Faeth

    Get In Touch with Your Artistic Side

    After the Top 10 Blog of 2013: a look at our Inbound Marketing Metrics and lists of the most Tweetable Twitter facts and Content Creation Strategies, the season’s subjective selection of timeless marketing mesmerisms continues with a list of the finest art and design books released in 2013. Indeed the year ahead will be transformative with new insights; however, over the past year, these books opened an illuminating glimpse into the human spirit that marketers of all industries should not ignore. The biggest  reason to look into these glorious tomes is that they prove that creativity is a combinatorial force that rests on our ability to fuse together existing concepts, bits of information, and fragmentary impressions into novel ideas that we can use to transform and strengthen our marketing efforts. Ultimately, it is vital that art exists in each and every marketing campaign, in order to pursue the idealistic-but-not-unattainable intersection of meaning, truth, and profit.

    Self-Portrait as Your Traitor – by Debbie Millman 

    This voluptuous, large-format collection of hand-lettered poems and illustrated essays are full of textured colors, to which a computer screen does absolutely no justice. This is the result of progress and encapsulates a brave and heartening embodiment of what it truly means to live life’s important questions. The book is one woman’s personal and artistic introspection, brimming with wisdom on life and art.

    In the introduction, design legend Paula Scher aptly describes this singular visual form as a “21st-century illuminated manuscript.” These moving, lovingly crafted poems and images vibrate with something universally profound. Paired with sweeping images and vibrant colorings, this is a book that speaks to the human heart.

    Before I Die, by Candy Chang

    Those campaigns that we remember and study have confronted the test of time with a magnificent authenticity that both spoke to a generation and continues to influence culture through a special place in time. Installation art is the untapped well of marketing. That being said, the best marketers have an artist’s heart. Among new campaigns, the nature of inbound marketing continues to see experimentations in creating appeal, which have become analogous with art work that connects to the important questions of what is most important to us. Such as, what do we want to do before we die?

    In early 2011, artist, designer, and TED Fellow, Candy Chang, queen of thoughtful installations in public spaces that invite collaborative storytelling, covered an abandoned house in her New Orleans neighborhood in chalkboard paint and stenciled on it a grid of the deceptively simple unfinished sentence “Before I die I want to . . .,” which any passerby could complete with a piece of chalk and a personal aspiration. To Chang’s surprise, the wall was completely filled by the next day. Soon, the project took on a life of its own and was replicated in over 10 languages across more than thirty countries, giving voice to millions of such private yearnings.

    The Beginning by Egon Schiele

    By investing time and energy into art, from the beginning sketches to finished masterpieces, marketers can connect with the human spirit and make a lasting impression across the pages of the internet. The future campaigns that will be remembered usually start with a simple idea expressed on paper.

    In this artist’s sketchbook, Austrian painter, Egon Schiele, shares with us his art at its early conception, from romantic couples, to European buildings, to images of the working proletariat. Like most sketchbooks, these drawings are mostly unseen works that showcase the beginnings of an artist’s coming of age struggle to master his now familiar brushstrokes and attention to shape that he would develop in the years to come. These images are illuminating, especially for the romantic at heart.

    Discovering Architecture -  Philip Jodidio

    When an individual partakes in the act of design, and then creates from that plan a monument to society and its inhabitants, then an unforgettable journey has transpired. Architecture is no longer reserved for the elite. Whether you look up in admiration of buildings, or simply pass through them, the structured building, which exists in many different worlds, both Unitarian and artistic, among others, is the substance from which country, culture, city and identity are formed. This collection by Philip Jodidio is a visual journey through the histories of 50 of the world's greatest buildings and the architects who imagined them.  For those marketers who can recreate the functionality that we see in the design and structure of buildings there are infinite possibilities to create unforgettable content, on and away from the computer screen. This book is a must read.

    Best American Infographics – Gareth Cook

    “The very best infographics engender and facilitate an insight by visual means,” says Gareth Cook, author of The Best American Infographics. “They allow us to grasp some relationship quickly and easily that otherwise would take many pages and illustrations and tables to convey. Insight seems to happen most often when data sets are crossed in the design of the piece — when we can quickly see the effects on something over time.”

    Marketers on both sides of the pond appreciate visual storytelling by way of good information graphics — an art especially endangered in this golden age of poorly made infographics serving as linkbait. In this collection America’s best visually rich information layered images, Pulitzer-Prize-winning journalist, New Yorker writer, and Scientific American neuroscience blog editor Gareth Cook, has set out to highlight the very best infographics produced this year, online and off. The Best American Infographics 2013, features the finest examples from the past year. The examples span everything from happiness to sports to space to gender politics, with an introduction by none other than David Byrne. Accompanying each image is an artist statement that explores the data, the choice of visual representation, and why it works. This is a must read for every marketer, everywhere.


    Staying in touch with your artistic side is an important part of connecting with your audience as a marketer. Take the time to read an art or design book and reunite with your own essential knowledge of people, design and how we appreciate art. 

    Image Credit: freedigitalphotos.net/Stuart Miles

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    Topics: Design