Chip Kidd: Book designer with a wicked sense of humor

...the goal when it comes to design and publishing in general: to create smart, striking ideas that also sell. - Chip Kidd

A friend suggested I look up this TED talk about book design. WOW! I'm so glad I did. Chip Kidd is an awesome designer and his attitude is spunky and fun. He was a lot of fun to watch and listen to, even if you don't care a bit about book design. Not sure what the deal was with his glasses? Anyway, since I care a great deal about book design I was in awe and have noted a few of Mr. Kidd's take away points:

  • When designing a book cover that has a user saying " WOW! I need to read this!", consider the following:
    1. Reader
    2. Publisher
    3. Author
  • The cover should say Apple or show an Apple, never both.
  • Stories need a great cover because a cover needs a face. This gives the reader a first impression of what you are about to read.
  • The cover is what makes the book a "thing."  Think product.

The covers below illustrates how Mr. Kidd handled two very different memoirs.

hepburn dietrich
hepburn dietrich

So the Hepburn memoir cover was designed with words, mimicking the way the content was written, by Ms. Hepburn herself. The Dietrich memoir cover was designed using as image reinforcing content  that was written, by her daughter, to give the reader a visual image of Marlene Dietrich.

Watch the TED talk and let me know what you think of Mr. Kidd's words, appearance, sassiness, and which cover you love most.

More links:,29307,1853737,00.html

Chip Kidd's favorite covers.

Read Smashing Magazine's interview with Chip Kidd.