Saturday, May 11, 2019

thinking through graphic design

Two talks by the quirky-yet-highly-entertaining Chip Kidd, a fast-talking graphic designer with distractingly off-kilter spectacles who designs book covers, including the now-iconic dino-skeleton cover for the novel Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton:

My first impression of Kidd came from this 2012-ish TED Talk:

The following video is also of a TED Talk, but a much smaller-scale one with a meager audience and bare-bones stage setup; the vid was uploaded in 2015:

Neither video takes us into the technical nitty-gritty of graphic design; I wouldn't expect that from an 18-minute TED Talk, anyway. But Kidd successfully gets us into the mindset of a graphic designer so that we can see, from the inside, what a design's "Eureka!" moment looks like and how it can lead to some iconic imagery (yes, you'll recognize more than just Jurassic Park's cover; Kidd is behind the designs of some very famous books). One of the unspoken implications of Kidd's talks is that we hoi polloi can and do judge books by their covers. Both of the above talks are fascinating for what they reveal, not just about the designer's mindset, but also about how the designer tries to anticipate what will attract people to the book.

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