At Carpenter Group, we regularly turn to books, both classic and new, to get fresh inspiration for our projects. Over time, we've come to realize that the names of certain authors come up time and time again. Here are a few of our all-time favorites. If you haven't read them, they're definitely worth checking out.

Josef Müller-Brockmann

While this author passed away almost 20 years ago, his work proves that great ideas have a way of maintaining currency and coming around again. One of his books, The Grid System in Graphic Design, was written back in 1981. It quite simply explains how to use grids to solve common design problems. Today, the book is more popular than ever because it helps designers work through issues associated with responsive (grid-based) web design.

How did Müller-Brockman see the future so clearly? In 1966, he was appointed European design consultant to IBM. While he never worked in computer-aided design, he had a unique view into how computers might impact everyday life and the design industry in the future.

His books are particularly compelling. Prior to becoming a writer, he did ground-breaking design work and was a popular teacher, and his hands-on experience and teaching ability come through in his writing. Other books of his that still inspire designers today include The Graphic Artist and His Design Problems from 1961, A History of Visual Communication from 1971 and History of the Poster, written in 1971. (Posters are great inspiration for designers working in social media, where clear and simple design is key.)

Seth Godin

When it comes to people who write about the future of marketing, it's hard to beat Seth Godin, the godfather of permission-based marketing. His innovative ideas got the marketing industry to shift its thinking from broadcasting messages to asking permission to be allowed into the lives of consumers.

He was one of the pioneers of digital marketing and he’s still pushing the field forward and exploring new ways to sell online. He’s a prolific writer and speaker, with an informative blog and several TED Talks.

Among his best-known books are Tribes, Linchpin and Free Prize Inside. If you pick just one of his books to read, it has to be All Marketers are Liars.

Joe Pulizzi

Often referred to as the father of content marketing, PulIzzi has written some of the seminal works about this constantly evolving world. His books are great at getting readers caught-up on what they may not know about content marketing while also pointing the way toward the future.

Pulizzi founded the Content Marketing Institute and is a well-regarded speaker on the topic. He earns credibility by advising well-known companies about how to use content marketing effectively and leveraging these engagements to inform his writing.

While all four of his books are worth reading, his latest two, Epic Content Marketing and Content Inc., explain everything you need to know about content marketing today.

Jonah Berger

Books written by a Wharton School professor might seem like a big yawn, but that’s not the case with those written by Jonah Berger. He’s a popular writer about social media and viral marketing.

Berger’s books stand out because he delves deep into how psychology influences the actions people take in social media. He has spent more than 15 years studying how social influence works along with how it makes products popular and gets new ideas to catch on. 

His books include Contagious: Why Things Catch On and Invisible Influence: The Hidden Forces that Shape Behavior.

Alina Wheeler

This author may not be as prolific as some of the others we profiled, but when it comes to building brands, she knows her stuff.

For more than 40 years, Wheeler has worked with hundreds of public and private sector brands, and her real-world experience and examples make her magnum opus, Designing Brand Identity, a lively and interesting read.

The fourth edition of the book, released in 2013, was updated to include material about the global marketplace and new communication tools and opportunities. She explains how being brief and simple is critical to being an effective brand in social and digital media. (A new version of Designing Brand Identity is planned for October 2017.) If you haven't read this book lately, it's worth a fresh look.

The people working at Carpenter Group make it a point to stay up-to-date on all the latest marketing trends. We're readers and doers. We partner with well-known financial and professional services companies to help them plan and develop successful campaigns. Contact us to learn what we can do to help you.