If you love words and books, you’ll love this video

betty ming liu Art, Inspiration 8 Comments

In praise of books: Have you ever wondered what your stories would look like?

What colors, images and lettering are “you”?

The topic is explored with humorous insight in the following video by Chip Kidd, the guy who designed the covers for books like “Jurassic Park,” “The Dark Knight” Batman trilogies and Katherine Hepburn’s memoir. He’s worked with David Sedaris and John Updike too.

Kidd’s 17-minute TED Talk video is eye candy about the use of fonts, photos, titles, color, images and a few surprising extras. He got me thinking in new ways about words and the visual images that they represent. Kidd is also fun to watch because he’s a terrific speaker who throws his entire body into making his audience pay attention.

Plus, the man has made some beautiful books covers. Here’s a peek at some of his work from his personal Good is Dead website. They’re from his portfolio as associate art director for the very classy publishing house, Alfred A. Knopf. He’s been working there for 25 years.  Look at these colors, the feel of them. So clean yet intense and emotional. 

I don’t want to spoil this by blabbing on too long. Have fun doing a little exploring. The video left me blissed out about books. You can watch too:

By the way, TED is great. If you’ve never heard of this non-profit, it’s an organization dedicated to “ideas worth spreading.” It hosts conferences, talks and videos like this one featuring really smart, entrepreneurial speakers who have cachet in their chosen fields. 

The only problem with visiting the TED.com website is that once I’m there, I can’t stop watching video after video.

If you’d like to know more about Chip Kidd, check out this  link to his National Public Radio interview:  “In the E-Book World, Are Book Covers A Dying Art?” (You can guess the answer!)


Comments 8

  1. I LOVE his Henley Regatta jacket. I want one. Never cared for saddle shoes though.
    This guy should do stand-up. His timing and delivery are superb. The whole talk was fascinating. I totally agree with him about real books vs. Kindle. No power on Earth will convince me to read an electronic book. They are an abomination.(unless of course, we are talking about Barbara Cartland novels or political memoires – fiction not worth the death of the trees involved)
    Among the many qualities of a real book is that old ones can carry with them a bit of ancestral memory. I happened to take a bound volume of The Spectator from 1795 down from the shelf the other day. In leafing through it, I came upon an article on church architecture in the margin of which great great great etc. grandfather, the original owner, had scrawled “Balderdash!!!” in forceful lettering. Now I know that remote progenitor of mine had strong opinions about church architecture in general and hammer beam ceilings in particular. It’s a little thing but it humanized someone who otherwise was just a name on the ancestral tree. I imagine him reading The Spectator in his study, coming upon this clearly inciting comment about church ceilings and red in the face, puffing and expostulating like Horace Rumpole, periwig askew, slamming the magazine down on his desk and shouting “Balderdash!” the household then scurrying in to see what was the matter now (no doubt the maids whispering “he’s been reading The Spectator again – you know how he gets.”) You don’t get that from a kindle!

  2. Post

    Oh, so THAT’s what the fancy jacket is called. Now what about Chip Kidd’s crooked spectacles? There must be a name for them too. Toby, I’m so glad you enjoyed the video. I thought he was completely brilliant in his discussion of how book cover designers use words vs. images that illustrate the word. It kinda helps me as a writer to visualize what my descriptions are all about. :)

  3. Slightly off topic, but I’m such a TED junkie.. Best one ever was Jill BolteTaylor’s “Stroke of Insight”… a brain researcher recalling the details of her own massive stroke, when she went blissfully left-brained. Fascinating, inspiring, don’t miss it!

  4. Post

    Jean C, that is a great example of why TED is so terrific. I’ve often wondered how they go about finding their speakers. Always very interesting — and entertaining — people. The ability to educate with humor is a great gift.

    1. Post
    1. Post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *