10 Branding Books to Refresh Your Business in 2021

Looking for a great book to inspire a new stage of growth for your business? Branding books can bring much-needed clarity. As I’ve discussed here before, a strong brand is not just about visual symbols: it’s based on a value creation story that is represented visually and communicated strategically. As entrepreneurs, designers, or managers, it’s in our best interest to be on the constant lookout for new material to inspire our everyday brand decisions. I’ve curated a list of 10 branding books that will guide you on that journey:

Brand Portfolio Strategy

Every thorough review of brand strategy literature starts with Aaker. He is the source of several key titles in the world of branding, including “Aaker on Branding”, “Building Strong Brands”, “Brand Relevance”, and “Managing Brand Equity”. In Brand Portfolio Strategy, Aaker explains how to infuse relevance, differentiation, energy, leverage, and clarity to your brand in order to win in this marketplace.

Brand Thinking

Debbie Millman is the Chair and Co-founder of the Master’s Program in Branding at the School of Visual Arts. She also hosts the widely popular Design Matters podcast and has been an influential figure in the world of creativity and design for years.

Lean Branding

Lean Branding offers a framework to build a strong brand story, set of visual symbols, and strategy to propel your business. I published this book in 2014 to empower entrepreneurs with little time or resources to harness the advantages of agile branding in their favor.


Positioning is one of the most important terms you’ll ever encounter in the world of branding. It can be hard to find a unique “spot” in the mind of a consumer that is constantly bombarded by information from multiple brands. Learn how to be seen and remembered with this branding classic.

Ogilvy on Advertising

David Ogilvy shaped what many of us now perceive as strong copywriting. This classic advertising book provides cues that are useful when creating website, ad, or print collateral copy of all kinds. Ogilvy’s emphasis on succinctness, coherence, and relevance is an endless source of inspiration when creating your own brand narrative.


Many design teams have adopted Marty Neumeier’s Zag as their framework to create strong identities. However, the book’s 17-step process is a more holistic view of brand strategy that goes far beyond visual decisions. It’s a method to find your brand’s zag: a point of radical differentiation. Also check out The Brand Gap, his first book about connecting business strategy and design.

How to Style Your Brand

Fiona Humberstone explores how styling can help convey the brand story you’ve designed for your business. Also check out Brand Brilliance, her most recent book with inspirational branding examples from more than 50 businesses.

Designing Brand Identity

Many designers swear by this guide to brand identity design by Alina Wheeler. Designing Brand Identity rounds up a set of tools and examples to help you succeed in branding.

The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding

Al Ries and his daughter Laura are renowned consultants in the marketing world. This book is great for those who prefer structured, list-based learning. The Ries go over 22 crucial rules that shape the brand building process, providing inspiring examples and advice along the way.

Archetypes in Branding

Have you ever wondered what your brand’s personality type is? This book summarizes different traits in 60 archetypes that are relatable and applicable to your brand strategy.

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Building your own brand can seem overwhelming at times, but it doesn't have to be. With the right focus and tools, you too can elevate your visual symbols, create a compelling story, and make sure it all reaches the right audience.

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