These 5 Books Shaped America’s Best New Company

Shinola’s creative director on the books he loves

By The Editors
February 1, 2016 9:00 am

Shinola opens its latest shop in S.F. this week.

Go if you can: 722 Montgomery. Get a bike. Grab a watch. Alternatively, have some Super Bowl-themed snacks.

If, however, you’re otherwise occupied during the party times (Friday and Saturday from 3 – 5 p.m.), we invite you to take a look at the five books that changed the life of Daniel Caudill, Shinola’s creative director.

Consider it a peek into the mind of the men behind one of the most visually distinctive brands out there.

His key to success?

In part: Giraffes, magical rings and 80s branding. Read on.

The Three Musketeers
When I first started reading them, it took me a while to get used to the language. But they’re so well-written, light-hearted and an amazing adventure. One of my favorite places to travel is to Paris and I love seeing some of the streets that are still the same and making that connection. I started reading them with my nephew when he was a little boy, and it’s become a family favorite and we read them over and over.

The Lord of the Rings
I’ve read them multiple times. It sounds super nerdy, but they’re beautiful books about the industrial age in England when people were moving from farming communities into the cities. I love the underlying metaphor of beautiful farm life vs industrial city and it’s hard to believe they were written 75 years ago.

My Esprit Brand Books from the 1980s
I received them as a gift and they’re all about the design process behind Esprit, everything from store design to packaging to marketing. It’s amazing that every store had it’s own register tape, bags, trash cans, etc. completely designed separately for each store but all sat within the brand. Every little detail made sense. It’s the inspiration for how we work today: we pay attention to everything that goes out the door.

This book is so creative and visual, I’m just in awe that someone can create something that doesn’t exist and let you escape into this world.

It’s the story of a giraffe that travels from Africa to France when it’s given to King Charles as a gift, and it was the first time the country had ever seen a giraffe. It shares a lot of the history of the early nineteenth century through this sweet little story.

Main image Brian Doben

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