Chip Kidd: Wicked-Awesome Genius

If you overslept and missed the banana muffins at the continental breakfast this morning, that's a bummer.

But if you overslept and missed Chip Kidd's opening session in the Imperial Ballroom, well, that's seriously something to kick yourself over.

Chip Kidd, the world-renowned associate art director from Alfred A. Knopf, got Friday's sessions started with what might best be described as part insight into his creative process (which is just sick amazing, by the way) and part standup comedy act.

Chip has been called "the closest thing to a rock star" in his industry. He's the Elvis of the book design world -- but the cool Elvis, not the fat, gross Elvis. He's the Michael Jordan. The Tiger Woods. The Babe Ruth. The Hulk Hogan.

"Rock star" might be an understatement if you judge by all the autographs he signed when his session was over.

The standing-room-only crowd in the ballroom even filled the skyboxes to listen to Chip talk about many of his book projects and the hurdles he crossed from conception to completion.

Yeah, Chip designs books and we design the news. But creativity is creativity is creativity, and there was much to be learned from some of Chip's projects and seeing how some of his ideas gestated into yet another award-winning cover.

Sprinkle in some photos of him dressed at Robin the Boy Wonder as a kid, stories about gay Superman and just what happens when you come up with the perfect solution for a cover -- and then someone slams an "Oprah's Book Club Selection" tag on it, and it was a recipe for some pretty genius moments.

Chip's forte is taking found objects and photographs and turning them into the kinds of covers that not only get your attention, but then often make you do one of those "Ooooohhhhhhh, I get it nowwwwww!" things. He took us through the process of designing the cover for "Man and Camel." A rejected cover was a tight photo of a man smoking a cigarette -- a Camel cigarette. Brilliant, but not approved. Author/poet Mark Strand wanted to literally see a camel on the cover -- and he got one, with a man, to boot.

If you haven't picked up Chip's "Book One," it's absolute a must-own for information designers. Chip takes us through just about every cover he's designed and the stories behind how they came to be.

But hearing some of those stories in person is already a highlight of the workshop that is going to be pretty tough to top.

Stay tuned for The Blog's exclusive video Q&A with Chip that took place right after his session.

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Blogger Jürgen said...

Chip Kidd fans who are interested in videos of his two performances at the TYPO Berlin conference, have a look:

Saturday, October 13, 2007 10:40:00 AM  
Blogger MattE. said...

Thanks very much for passing this link on, Jürgen! Much obliged!He's a fantastically creative speaker and his session in Boston absolutely was a highlight for me, as was the opportunity to sit down with him for 10 minutes of one-on-one afterward.

Sunday, October 14, 2007 10:47:00 PM  

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