Graphic design may be considered by some to be the “nerdy art”. For a number of graphic designers out there that may be true, this theory may be debunked or confirmed as we look at this book cover artist…depending on how you look at it. :)
Chip Kidd, considered one of the leading artists in the area of book design today, has a passion for comics which has served him well throughout his career as a graphic designer. His earliest memories were of Batman of Superman and he is considered one of the leading experts on Batman.
Born in 1964 in Reading, Pennsylvania, he grew up with a deep fascination and appreciation for American Popular Culture. He went on to Penn State right out of high school and graduated in 1986 with a Graphic Design degree.
He then moved to New York and was offered a junior assistant position at Alfred A. Knopf publishing house. His book designs took off with amazing success. Publishers Weekly described them as "creepy, striking, sly, smart, unpredictable covers that make readers appreciate books as objects of art as well as literature."
Despite his success, he is “very much against the idea that the cover will sell the book. Marketing departments of publishing houses tend to latch onto this concept and they can't let go. But it's about whether the book itself really connects with the public, and the cover is only a small part of that."
This oddly humble attitude has served him well thus far in his career. He believes that he should “piggy back [his] career on the backs of backs of authors, not the other way around.”
His most iconic design has to be the T. rex skeleton he designed for the Jurassic Park and Lost World novels. It was so well recognized that it went on to be used in the 1993 film adaptation. In response to the success of the film, Kidd said, “Because the cover was used for the visual identity of the film, it became one of the most recognizable icons of the 1990s. My obituary will probably lead off with this and not go much further.”
Even though he has seen much success throughout his years, he has not stopped at design, he is also an editor, author, lecturer and musician. He received the AIGA medal in 2014, the National Award for Communication in 2007, and the International Center of Photography’s Infinity Award for Design in 1997.
Distinguished, successful, and unique, Kidd is considered to be one of the most influential designers of our time. Whether or not you would call him “nerdy” is up to you, but I call him AWESOME! You can check out his ted talk here if you need more Kidd in your life :)
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