A little over a month ago, I was ridiculously excited to learn that the designer of one of my favorite book covers of all time, Chip Kidd, did a TED talk. As I was watching it, I sent a few
excitedly obsessive opinionated emails to my fellow cover-snob (and lovely) friend Sommer. These emails may or not have been short, to the point and filled with fragments containing nothing but a slew of uppercase letters, mind you.
And sure, I may be late to the game in posting about the video, but Kidd talks about a lot of timeless design theory that can still be discussed years from now. When I think back to the early weeks of setting up TCG’s shop on the web, I’m reminded of my first pure intentions: to point out good design, to discuss it, and to celebrate it as it lives in the YA domain.
It’s easy to sit and consider the influences that marketing, audience and story have on a jacket’s artwork. And I’ll always consider the positive and negative impact that a face or a genderless cover will have on its adolescent audience. But I’d be a liar if I never admitted to the fact that deconstructing design always, always comes first. It’s just how my mind is geared to think. From looking at ascenders to examining white space, there are (surprisingly!) other thoughts that can form before labeling artwork as a SGiPD cover. And I certainly won’t admit to saying that a Sad Girl in Pretty Dress equals bad design.
I digress. I just like to reexamine my roots every once in a while, especially when the highlights get distracting.
Below you’ll find Chip Kidd’s TED talk, and I do encourage you to watch it in its entirety (a little over 17 minutes). And just for kicks, I’ll sit alongside and watch with you. A little play-by-play Capillya commentary never hurt anyone, right?
0:44 Skanky indeed, Chip! I can feel Audio Guy’s face burning as you speak!
0:54 I love your outfit, by the way.
1:28 Yes, tell your kids!
2:27 “What do stories look like?” – I love this question.
2:57 “A book designer gives form to content, but also manages a very careful balance between the two.”
3:35 Apple example: “THIS is treating your audience like a moron…and they deserve better.” AMEN, CHIP.
5:27 Every time you do that dance move I giggle like a 9-year-old.
5:55 For the youngsters, the rapidograph’s linked in my Sylvie LeFloc’h post!
6:51 I think these authors are holding out on me when I ask about their initial reactions to their covers.
7:25 I’m biased here, but JP is one of my favorite movies. Top ten, easy.
8:30 “The book designer’s responsibility is three-fold: to the reader, to the publisher, and most of all to the author.”
9:10 Admittedly, this cover has always caught my eye, but I’d never thought to de-pants it.
10:15 I love the practice of typography in denial. This is why Dry is one of my favorites.
10:40 I love the airport lady story. I’ve read it more than once and enjoyed Chip talking about it, too.
11:23 “A book cover is…the haiku of the story.”
12:02 “Once a book designer has read the text, then he has to be an interpreter and a translator.”
12:55 “TRY EXPERIENCING THAT ON A KINDLE.”
14:12 1Q84! 1Q84! 1Q84!
It’s on my bucket list to meet Chip Kidd, one of these days.