Recently, I came across two Ted Talks (videos above) featuring Chip Kidd who is a well-known and very talented book designer from New York City. While I find many Ted Talks to be fascinating, Kidd’s speeches about book design and what inspires him, caught my attention. And not just because books and design are my life and not just because he has my absolute dream job, but because the creative concepts and inspiration that Kidd discusses regarding book design can easily carry over into other types of design as well.
In the first video titled “Chip Kidd: The art of first impressions–in design and life,” Kidd discusses what inspires him as he designs different books. Some from vastly different genres like mystery and fiction to comedy and memoirs. He describes the success he’s had from designs that were the very first try and some that succeeded only by trial and error. He shows how he gains inspiration from his everyday life and the constantly moving city around him.
During his second talk titled “The Hilarious Art of Book Design,” he brings the hilarity by mentioning some very funny moments that he’s encountered with authors that he has design for. Kidd also gives some experienced advice, “A designer needs to be an interpreter and a translator of the content.” This brings up my point that I mentioned earlier that the concepts and strategies of book design can be used in other design too. With whatever you are designing, in order to be successful, you have to take into account what the content is that you are designing as well as for whom you are designing for. Kidd states that, “A book designers responsibility is three-fold: to the reader, to the publisher, and most of all to the author.”