X's 15 Favorite Inspiration Books

Team Xdesign
Xs 15 Favorite Inspiration Book

Educating one’s self does not end when you walk across a stage to receive your degree. Today we want to share some valuable resources that have inspired and continue to inspire us to learn and grow.

Each year X hosts a student reception before the annual AAF-BR Student Conference at LSU, and each year we try to answer as many questions for students either at our office or with one of our members speaking at the conference. One of the most common themes is how do we keep ourselves inspired to keep doing great work?

Going off of this theme we want to share with everyone a few pieces of literature that have helped and continue to help inspire us to reach our potential and expand that potential. Whether you’re an Account Executive, Front End Developer or even in the business of serving people, we think you’ll enjoy this list.

Hunter Territo - Creative Director

Chasing Daylight - Amazon
The ever elusive work-life balance, nothing puts it more in perspective than the memoir of former KPMG CEO Eugene O’Kelly as he chronicled his last last three and half months alive, between being diagnosed with brain cancer and his eventual passing. I read this book on every vacation I take to remind myself what I’m fighting for.

Hey Whipple Squeeze This - Website | Amazon
I’d consider this book to be the bible of advertising. Martin recommended it to me when I started at Xdesign, and it now is required reading for my students at LSU. I was fortunate enough for the author of the book, Luke Sullivan, to serve as my mentor as I grew at X.

Setting the Table - Amazon
It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, treating people well should be at the core of your service offering. This book serves as a playbook for offering “enlightened hospitality.” The author / restaurateur Danny Meyer is most famous for his NY restaurants as well his “Shake Shack” empire. Most importantly this book combines my two favorite things: food and people.

Christine Kennedy - General Manager

Little Women - Amazon
I remember the joy of reading Little Women by Louisa May Alcott in elementary school. Yes, I do realize I am showing my age with this comment. Jo was my favorite character. I wanted to grow up and be like her – independent, funny, strong and yet still caring deeply for family. Little Women planted the seed that you don’t have to fit into a preconceived box to be successful in life.

Manage Your Day-to-Day - Review
The wealth of content available today is mind boggling. Who knows where I would be if I were starting out in my professional life today? I have moved from hardcover and paperback books to reading on a tablet. I find myself gravitating toward topics to help balance and enhance my use of time. I am currently reading Manage Your Day-To-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus & Sharpen Your Creative Mind. It contains recommendations for taking charge of your time. It forces you to realize that you hold both the problem and the solution of your day-to-day challenges. No matter where you work or what systems you deal with, your mind and energy are yours and yours alone.

Tiffanie Pitre - Art Director

Box Bottle Bag - Amazon
In college, my friends wondered why I had a book of product packaging on my coffee table, and all I could wonder was “how could you NOT have this book on your coffee table??” I bought this book while still in school, and some of the work still gives me the chills. The package designs in the book are a constant reminder to pay attention to detail and think about how elements come together. This book was put together by The Dieline, which still releases daily package design inspiration. Be sure to check it out!

Layout Workbook - Barnes & Noble
We were required to buy this book as a textbook for one of my early graphic design classes, and to this day it has been the best all encompassing book on the fundamentals of graphic design. This well rounded book covers the basics and supports its points with great examples.

John Gibby - Interactive Director

The Brand Gap - Barnes & Noble | Amazon
In an absolutely all encompassing, very before its time manner, nothing has taught me more about the connection of a brand to consumers than The Brand Gap has. With its focus on simplicity both in content and design, it has and will continue to inspire me to foster a connection to brands before a one-off sale to a consumer.

Eloquent Javascript - Website (free) | No Starch Press
If you want to be a front-end developer, you must know javascript. If you want to be a back-end developer, you must know javascript. Essentially, if you want to be affiliated with interactive design in any way, you need to understand at least a little javascript and nothing explains the concepts and intricacies of the language as well as this book does. Even better, it’s online for free! http://eloquentjavascript.net

Sydney Stevens - Communications Coordinator

Hey Whipple Squeeze This - Website | Amazon
I was actually assigned this book by Hunter when I took his class at LSU. This book goes through several stories and experiences that Luke Sullivan has learned from in the world of advertising. He gives advice on pitching, copywriting and overall, how to create great ads. He also gives advice on getting and keeping a job that ultimately could turn into a career in the advertising industry.

The Tipping Point - Barnes & Noble | Amazon
The “tipping point” is when something (fashion trend, a behavior, etc.) reaches its “peak” and goes from being just a trend to being the status quo. Malcolm Gladwell uses the analogy that one sick person can cause an epidemic of a disease. This can also happen with brands and new products when a precise and correctly targeted campaign is put to proper use.

Simone Begneaud - Graphic Designer

Thinking With Type - Website | Amazon
Type, in graphic design, plays a key role in not just communication, but as a visual element. This book teaches exactly that. It provides great insights as to how to use type and letterforms in design. It’s a great go-to book to reference a variety of guidelines to help improve any project. This book is not just for students, but is a well-written type resource for all designers, young and young at heart.

How to be a Graphic Designer Without Losing Your Soul - Amazon
Graphic designers, new or experienced, freelancers or agency designers all have the same questions and concerns about working for and with clients. This book is witty and has a way of explaining how all designers should work to better their career. With tips on technical skills of design programs to teaching how to communicate with clients, “How to be a Graphic Designer Without Losing Your Soul” inspired me to work doing something I truly enjoy.

Quinton Jason - Front End Developer

Rework - Website
There are many core principles you must possess to be effective as a professional in any field. Rework goes against conventional business practices to prove that you don’t have to be status quo to be successful. Filled with ideas to boost productivity, the book will inspire and provoke you to put your best foot forward.

Don’t Make Me Think - Amazon
We are all users of the web. Don’t Make Me Think allows one to look at the web differently. The focus shifts from making the web pretty to making it functional. Anytime a user has to think about where something is positioned or why it’s even on the page, there’s a good chance they’ll leave your site.


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