Pigeon Wisdom Book Club, Part 1: What we’ve read recently

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December 8, 2020 a peek inside learn post jumbotron

“Have you read any good books lately?”

This is a conversation I have all the time, and this summer, I’ve hit a wall. I was out of things to read! I was looking for suggestions of new books that I could read to make myself smarter when it hit me — I’ve got an office full of smart, creative people that I can ask!

So I sent a request to everyone at Urban Influence to share with me some ideas for books: the best one they’ve read lately, and their one must-read for anyone who wants to learn more about career, design, branding, etc.

Now that I’m armed with a list of books, I thought I’d share that list with you too. So without further ado, I present Part 1 of our Book Club series: the very best books we’ve read recently that you should read too.

Happy reading!

Chris Comis, Project Manager

Universal Methods of Design.

It’s a great book on tackling design challenges with different methods everything from a/b testing to personas.

Max Benoit, Project Coordinator

I’ve recently read Respect Yourself: Stax Records and The Soul Explosion. I believe the story of how the prominent soul record label came to be will be valuable to anyone curious of how art and business mingle with each other.

There are a lot of great business tidbits that creative entrepreneurs could take a tip from. Stax’s very unconventional creative environment ultimately baffled major labels and made them a success; for example, owning a record store in the same building as the studio so they could test the market value of a song in the store the very day it was recorded.

Also, it has a cautionary tale of how Stax essentially lost their entire catalog to Atlantic for failing to read some fine print. Not specifically design related but a valuable resource nonetheless in my opinion.

Chaun Osburn, Art Director

Type on Screen.

This book is good for the latest info on how style text for the screen, how to generate forms, and anything related to typography in the digital world.

Kate Stull, Copywriter

The Hard Thing About Hard Things.

I actually read this a while ago, but the lessons pop up in my mind all the time. It’s really a honest, clear, and practical guide to being a leader and entrepreneur, and it’s a lot of personal stories so you get a relatable insight into what it actually feels like to make big, hard decisions in an organization.

Paige Kwon, Visual Design Intern

A book I recently read is Designing Brand Identity: An Essential Guide for the Whole Branding Team by Alina Wheeler.

This book has a lot of information on brand systems and languages, and how these different systems reflect the company and impact the viewer. Case studies are neatly presented with each type of brand systems. This book also dives into trends and why certain systems work better for certain audiences.

Kate Matsudaira, Principal

The Compound Effect.

This book reminded me of The Slight Edge (which I also loved) because it is all about making small changes and taking small actions to get big results. Just like compound interest in a bank account, your success and failure does’t happen overnight – instead it is a product of lot small decisions you make every single day. After reading it I made better decisions in what I ate, how I spent my time, etc.

Andrew Saxton, Lead Designer

The last great book I’ve read in our field was Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative, by Austin Kleon. Chaun and I saw him talk about the How Conference down in San Francisco back in 2013, and his presentation was based around the ideas presented in this book. It’s honest, inspiring and creative.

Get reading!

Hopefully a couple of these have sparked your interest, and you’ll find a new, great read to help you be even more amazing in your current role.

Is there a book you think we should definitely be reading? Tweet at us! Send a recommendation to @pigeonwisdom and we’ll put it on our reading list!

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