The brilliant Chip Kidd is one of the world’s best known book designers. Browse through his portfolio, and I guarantee you’ll spot some familiar examples of his work, superb designs that provide a tangible form for the book’s content, or as he puts it, “What do the stories look like?”

In the video below, Kidd talks about the role of the book designer as a visual interpreter or translator, as well as the things we’re losing with eBooks.

David Crotty

David Crotty

David Crotty is a Senior Consultant at Clarke & Esposito, a boutique management consulting firm focused on strategic issues related to professional and academic publishing and information services. Previously, David was the Editorial Director, Journals Policy for Oxford University Press. He oversaw journal policy across OUP’s journals program, drove technological innovation, and served as an information officer. David acquired and managed a suite of research society-owned journals with OUP, and before that was the Executive Editor for Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, where he created and edited new science books and journals, along with serving as a journal Editor-in-Chief. He has served on the Board of Directors for the STM Association, the Society for Scholarly Publishing and CHOR, Inc., as well as The AAP-PSP Executive Council. David received his PhD in Genetics from Columbia University and did developmental neuroscience research at Caltech before moving from the bench to publishing.


2 Thoughts on "Chip Kidd and the Art of Book Design"

I saw this video for the first time while in a course on design and I feel just as invigorated this time. You could hold an entire lecture on the aspects of design covered in these 17 mins. This excitement is juxtaposed with my experience in scholarly book publishing however. When I had my first position in publishing (in production) I was responsible for final approval on covers. I had one cover that just wasn’t right and was taking longer than desired to finalize and my manager advised by saying, “Think about how much time you want to spend on this, after all how much influence will the cover really have on the sales of the book?” Fast forward years, positions, and companies later I find that this line of thinking is not uncommon throughout the industry and I wonder (especially in the age of electronic content) if covers are becoming less and less relevant.

Many thanks Stacy
Yes I have often hear that thinking too, ref Book covers and Journals!

In fact I take the opposite view, as our lives become more and more visually cluttered, by an avalanche of digital global images and designs, mostly, its has to be said, not designed.
Design and branding, becomes actually more important, as a means to stand out, in a crowded market place! Poor production or author lead cover design are ubiquitous in STM.
From a commercial perspective design thinking applies to many product to, which we all love and use daily, Apple and Penguin Books come to mind !
Good design should reflex the value we place on the content we publish, the two are connected, in in either print or digital, there so many examples of this connection….

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