Chip Kidd


I don’t have much in common with Chip Kidd except that we are both graphic designers and born the same year. He is the creative mind behind a ton of really cool book covers for Knopf, Doubleday, Penguin, HarperCollins, and more. His concepts are consistently clever, smart, surprising and memorable. recently published a bunch of Kidd’s designs with his comments… which are also interesting.

So I saw Chip Kidd when he presented at the HOW conference last month. He was super funny and gave the audience an inside look at his process. The trial and error, from developing subtle differences to starting over completely, to entertaining feedback from clients which was very familiar and often ridiculous. He even talked about a process for a book that led to some really great covers…only to wait 3 weeks before calling the client who told Chip, “Thanks, but we decided to address this internally.”  And the resulting cover was an inferior version of a design concept which the client had rejected earlier. …Really?

At that moment I felt like I did have something in common with Chip Kidd. Despite his amazing success, he doesn’t bat 1000. He’s had great ideas that didn’t sell, but he rides the client feedback wave and makes it work. Hearing from him was pretty cool.

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