Blue Sky, Blue Sky
I had the pleasure of seeing Chip Kidd speak at my alma mater, Kutztown University, this past Friday night. Kidd is one of my favorite contemporary graphic designers and has been ever since I got heavily into design. This is the second time I have gotten to see him in person, the first being in at the Free Library in Philly moderating a panel of talented graphic novel artists like Chris Ware (another of my favorite artists) and Art Spiegelman. That first time was great, and so was this. Kidd is a hilarious public speaker who’s personality and quick wit grab you immediately. The brunt of his presentation was a sampling of his most recent and soon to be released designs followed by a brief Q & A that left us with modest gems like, Question: “Why did you become a graphic designer?”, Kidd: “Because I don’t have an idea in my head”.
Chip Kidd is most well known for his beautiful and influential book jacket designs. This appeals to me personally on two different levels; first, Kidd’s book jackets are usually full of clever juxtapositions and visual thinking, and second, because I would like to think if I wasn’t heavy on the interactive end of graphic design, that I might be doing book jackets too. I adore everything about books; from the smell of a newly printed book, to the feel of a well-read volume. Something about the packaging of a book has always spoken to me as well, the challenge of representing an entire book with so little; a picture or an illustration and a few lines of type are all that stand in between you and a potential reader. This quality can also be found in other applications like posters, but books embody so much more for me. Back to the point, Kidd is a giant in his field. Some writers even go as far as stipulating in their contract that Kidd is to design their book’s jacket.
Saying Chip Kidd is prolific is a bit of an understatement. In addition to his design staff job at Alfred A. Knopf (of over 14 years,) Kidd is also a writer, archivist, and recently, Art Director of Vertical Books, a NY publisher specializing in English translations of successful Japanese books. The guy just keeps on going. He has always been an inspiration to me (and he started out as a local!), not only for the immense quantity of his work, but for its fine quality. Do yourself a favor and get up to speed if you aren’t familiar with his work.
- Chip Kidd by Veronique Vienne
- The Cheese Monkeys: A Novel in Two Semesters by Chip Kidd
- The Learners by Chip Kidd
- Batman Collected by Chip Kidd and Geoff Spear
and a few interviews: