June 1st, 2012

Chip Kidd talks book cover design

Random House book designer Chip Kidd gave a TED talk called “Designing books is no laughing matter. OK, it is.”

Some tips from his talk:
“A book cover is a distillation.” It’s a “haiku” of the story. Ask yourself this question, “What do the stories look like?”

Finished books need a “face”–the book cover provides a first impression on what the reader “is about to get into. A book designer gives form to content.”

Chip is not only the designer of many iconic book covers, he’s also an author. His first novel was The Cheese Monkeys. I met him nearly 10 years ago at the Vegas Valley Bookfest (a strange affair - let’s just say Vegas is not a town full of devoted readers). I had talked earlier in the evening with a man with a nearly shorn head and small round glasses about his headache, so when Chip appeared next to me in the buffet line I asked if he were feeling better. I guess that’s one question any traveler finds natural, because we had a fairly long conversation about it before I realized he was a different guy.

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