Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Advertising Prescriptive Literature: Getting Started

Manning Seil and Frank B Senger, Advertising Copy and Layout. Danville, IL: Interstate Printers & Publishers, 1958. 


In the field of advertising, prescriptive literature includes copywriting guides, advertising textbooks and general introductions to salesmanship strategies. Some of these target specific aspects of the industry, while others offer a more comprehensive view. Some may focus specifically on print advertisements, while others consider diverse media and forms. In the more comprehensive guides, the authors and editors often try to strike a balance between investigating physical form of the ad--technical matters such as visual layout, verbal mechanics and test audiences--and theorizing the intellectual form--more abstract questions such as what constitutes a creative idea or what inspires consumer behavior. The authors come from a variety of professional backgrounds, however most are either business and marketing professors or freelance advertising consultants.

Despite their varied approaches to the topic of public relations, these guides represent a unified, transhistorical effort to bolster the image of advertising as a reputable endeavor, capable of being dissected into a series of teachable steps. Studied individually, the texts offer a glimpse into the accepted practices of the the industry at a given point in history. However, when considered collectively, they track the major socio-cultural shifts of the twentieth century.


Search the Catalog for Prescriptive Guides

This guide does not provide a comprehensive list of our holdings; additional titles can be found using the Duke University Library’s online catalog. Use the following steps for best results:

  1. Select Advanced Search.
  2. In the Author field type "Hartman Center."
  3. In the Subject Heading field type one of the following subject terms that best fit your search:
  • Copy
  • Copywriting
  • Advertising layout and typography
  • Business Writing
  • Television Advertising
  • Commercial Catalogs 
  • Advertising, Magazine
  • Radio Advertising 
  • Advertising--Research
  • Advertising agencies--Management

Elbrun Rochford French, The Copywriter's Guide. New York: Harper, 1958.

Subject Guide

Profile Photo
Josh Larkin Rowley
Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library