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Kean University

Actor Holly Taylor Helps Kean Professor Launch Latest Book

Actor Holly Taylor smiles as she holds up the book, The New Art of Ideas.

Kean University Distinguished Professor Robin Landa’s 25th book was launched with celebrity cachet this week when her former student, Kean graduate and television star Holly Taylor ’21, hosted an Instagram Live session for her 109,000 followers.

Taylor designed the cover and inside illustrations for Landa’s book, The New Art of Ideas: Unlock Your Creative Potential. The actor, who plays Angelina Meyer on the NBC/Netflix series Manifest and is well known for her role in the FX series The Americans, graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in graphic design/interactive advertising from Kean’s Michael Graves College.

“Holly was my student, and I was her advisor,” Landa said. “When I was planning the book, Holly was working on Manifest and had a lot of downtime on set. I needed somebody who was brilliant and talented, but also responsible, and Holly met every deadline, even with her full-time acting gig.”

Taylor said she wanted the bright green cover and inside black and white illustrations to be “clean, modern, gender-neutral and eye-catching.”

“In designing the book, it was important that it was approachable and accessible to all people and professions, so people who saw the book on the shelf wouldn’t think it was just for men or women or creatives,” Taylor said. “I thought having bold shapes would really help.”

The book outlines an idea-generating technique Landa said she has been teaching to her students throughout her 35-year career to help them overcome the frustrations that can come when trying to develop new ideas for projects.

“The book is about how to get ideas, worthwhile ideas that benefit individuals, society, creatures and the planet,” Landa said.

Landa’s method is called the Three Gs — goal, gain and gap. Setting a goal, identifying a gap that needs to be addressed, and assessing the goal and gap for the gain, or benefit, is where the spark of an idea is born, she said.

About the book, Taylor said, “It’s a great gift to anybody because you can apply it to any career you’re in.”

The motivation to generate ideas, for Landa, is what she calls the triple bottom line — people, planet and profit, in that order. She follows that altruistic code herself by donating a portion of the royalties from all of her books to scholarships for students in Kean’s Robert Busch School of Design.

Also this week, Landa launched the book with a virtual panel discussion for 30 professionals in the design field, who logged in to discuss The New Art of Ideas and what it offers creatives in the industry and teachers of design. A third book launch will be held at Kean Monday, November 21. Taylor is expected to attend.

Landa, whose top-selling books are Graphic Design Solutions and Advertising by Design, has been keeping a busy writing schedule outside of her teaching duties at Kean. Another one of her books, Strategic Creativity, came out in June, and she is currently co-writing Shareworthy: Storytelling for Advertising with Greg Braun, retired global chief creative at Commonwealth//McCann in Detroit.

Both Landa and Taylor said they have an easy working relationship and would welcome an opportunity to work together again.

"I am eternally grateful to you for your talent," Landa said to Taylor.  "Be careful that I might ask you to do the next one."

"I would love to," replied Taylor. "Any project with you Robin, you don't have to ask – I am signed on."