Friday, June 5, 2009

Designer of the Month: Chip Kidd

So here it is people, June's designer of the month is none other than Chip Kidd. I wanted to chose a contemporary designer this month, and as a graphic designer, author and editor, make no mistake about it, Chip Kidd is one fascinating, creative guy. As I did when talking about Mary and Russel Wright, and as will be the standard format for these weekly chats, this first post will be an overview of Kidd's work, followed by 3 weeks of discussions about more specific elements of his work and career.

I'll go into a discussion about Kidd's graphic design work next week, but for now will just say that he is an incredibly prolific designer. In fact, it's pretty safe to say that you've seen Chip Kidd's work. You may not have known it was his, but if you've ever even browsed around a book store than you've definitely seen his design. Famous for his book jacket and cover design, which he has been creating for the publishing house Alfred A. Knopf for over 20 years, Chip Kidd is recognizable for his dark and clever sensibilities and his designs which are distinctly his own, yet adhere to no particular style. [1]

Photograph of Chip Kidd. Courtesy of Seeing & Writing 3.

Dry: A Memoir, by Augusten Burroughs. Book jacket/cover design by Chip Kidd. Courtesy of

The Good Life, by Jay McInerney. Book jacket design by Chip Kidd. Courtesy of

But do you think that a successful career as a graphic designer for Knopf would be enough for Chip Kidd? No way! Kidd is also widely known for his love of comics. He's worked with DC Comics, where he created book covers for several publications, and has also worked as an editor for graphic novels at Pantheon. In addition to his design for comics, Kidd has also written about the genre, and has a particular fondness for Batman. Kidd has written about and discussed Batman extensively, especially in relation to popular culture, and has a large collection of memorabilia in his New York apartment. [2] I'll go into more about Kidd and comics in week 3.

Bat-Manga!: The Secret History of Batman in Japan, written and designed by Chip Kidd. Courtesy of

The Golden Age of DC Comics: 365 Days, designed by Chip Kidd and written by Les Daniels, Chip Kidd, and Geoff Speak. Courtesy of

Besides all of this amazing work, Chip Kidd is also a writer and published novelist. I've already mentioned his writings about Batman, but Kidd has also written articles for design magazines, such as Print and i-D, and is the author of the satirical novels The Cheese Monkeys: A Novel in Two Semesters and The Learners: The Book After "The Cheese Monkeys." [2] As I'm sure you've guessed, I'll talk some more about Kidd's writing in week 4.

[1] Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum Website, “Design Life Now: National Design Triennial 2006: Chip Kidd,” (accessed June 3, 2009).

[2] Keith Phipps, "Artist Interview: Chip Kidd," Seeing & Writing 3 Website. (accessed June 3, 2009).

[2] Ibid.

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