The Wild and Wonderful: Chip Kidd – Introduced by Caroline Culbertson



The mastermind himself, Chip Kidd

Despite being raised in the aptly named town of Reading, Pennsylvania, Chip Kidd was not supposed to design book covers. Or, at least that is what his professor at Penn State told him, as he held up Kidd’s design for John Updike’s Museums and Women for the class, saying that it would be in Kidd’s best interest to pursue any career other than book design.

 It’s a good thing he didn’t listen. Today, Chip Kidd is a writer and graphic design artist living in the upper west side of the city and Stonington, Connecticut. His first novel, an academic satire entitled The Cheese Monkeys, was a New York Times notable book of the year and a national bestseller. He also really, really likes Batman. Aside from reportedly having an apartment full of Batman paraphernalia, Kidd wrote and designed the work Batman: Collected in 2001, which was given the Design Distinction award from ID magazine.

Despite his professor's naysaying in college, Chip Kidd went on (albeit ironically) to design Updike's book jacket for "The Terrorist."

However, it seems he has caught the most attention with his outstanding, fresh, and innovative book designs. He is the associate art director at Alfred A. Knopf (an imprint of Random House), where he designs book covers. Kidd also does freelance design for Doubleday, Grove Press, HarperCollins, Penguin/Putnam, Scribner, and Columbia University Press,
turning out an average of 75 book designs a year. Kidd serves as editor at large of Pantheon graphic novels, and has provided design concepts for the works of John Updike, David Sedaris, Cormac McCarthy, Frank Miller, Charles Schulz, Michael Crichton, and many others.

He has been deemed responsible for beginning a revolution in book covers, and has been featured in such major publications as Vanity Fair, Print, Entertainment Weekly, The New Republic, Time, New York, and ID magazines. He also contributes regularly to the New York Times.  Publishers Weekly described his designs as “creepy, striking, sly, smart, unpredictable covers that make readers appreciate books as objects of art as well as literature.” He has been called “the closest thing to a rockstar” (USA Today), but maintains an ever-humble attitude about his designs’ impact on book marketing, saying “I piggy-packed my career on the backs of authors, not the other way around.” 
Seems like you’re doing alright for yourself, Mr. Kidd.

A sampling of Kidd's book designs


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