Chip Kidd

Creating book jacket covers in a hilarious TED talk from the seasoned designer

One of our favorite talks from TED this year, Chip Kidd delivers a great message in a most relaxed and humorous way. The talk, just posted online, reminds us about the importance of print in the digital age: “Much is to be gained by e-books: ease, convenience, portability,” explains Kidd. “But something is definitely lost: tradition, a sensual experience, the comfort of thingy-ness, a little bit of humanity.”

Opening the session called, “The Design Studio,” co-curated by David Rockwell and Chee Pearlman, Kidd runs through his highly successful career at Alfred A. Knopff, from early efforts designing the jacket for Michael Crichton’s “Jurrassic Park” to Haruki Murakami’s most recent hit “1Q84”. Starting from the simple premise of giving a face to a mess of words, the challenge often breeds entertaining results. Kidd jokes about his work for David Sedaris’ “Naked”, saying, “For me, it was simply an excuse to design a book that you could literally take the pants off of.” The designer fully embraces the advantages of digital type, but understands that it has its limitations, most notably when it comes to the senses: “I am all for the iPad, but trust me—smelling it will get you nowhere!”