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on November 20, 2005
Wow. This book - much like Chip Kidd's design work - is simply stunning. Every page is engaging.

Fortunately, Chip Kidd happens to be a very good writer. There is no ego here, Kidd keeps a sense of humor throughout.

This is a beautiful book for every designer to add to their library. My one suggestion would be to spend a few extra bucks for the hardcover edition...
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on May 1, 2008
After I picked up Suite Française by Irene Nemirovsky, I happened to look at the cover-design credit and recognized the name Chip Kidd. After a moment's reflection as to the source of my familiarity with the designer, I walked over to my bookshelf and picked up a volume from my collection of Osamu Tezuka's Buddha. Sure enough, Kidd had designed the covers for the entire series (incidentally, I found the design one part frustrating and one part inspiring, as the spines line up nicely and thematically but the half-jacket is kind of obnoxious to deal with).

After that, I went through my shelves and picked out any of the books that I thought had interesting covers. At least half of those were designed by Kidd as well. Kafka on the Shore. Pagan Babies. The Enigma of Japanese Power. Created in Darkness by Troubled Americans. Et cetera.

I was intrigued, Googled our dear designer, and found that he was more popular than I had properly imagined. This piqued still further my curiosity. And so now I have another book with a cover designed by Kidd: Chip Kidd: Book One: Work: 1986-2006, a 400-page volume exhibiting a sample of his book-jacket designwork from the last twenty years.

The book itself is a treasure. A visual smorgasbord of styles and themes. A veritable cornucopia of novel treatments. While there is an occasional overlap of feel or technique (or some other abstract quantification equally obscured and subjective), the breadth of design direction is truly impressive.

Kidd is clearly a creative devil.

And this collection of his work is impressively presented. Book One is a treat for both the eyes and the mind. While a mere presentation of the jacket designs themselves would be a worthwhile scheme for a design collection such as this, the work is elevated by helpful descriptions both of product and process by the creator himself as well as reactions penned by authors/victims of his creative process. Kidd's text shows both a joy in his work and a look into what goes into the crafting of a book jacket that enlarges upon the work it contains'and does so with humour and more apparent humility than I would have expected.

I found the book so interesting that I blew through the entire thing in two days. Doubtlessly, I'll return to it time and again over the coming months and years. In any case, I highly recommend it to those interested in thoughtful design, a pairing of words too rare in our day.

NOTE: a big bone of contention is not the visual design of the volume's cover but its physical properties. While its dimensions are perfectly suitable for an art collection/coffee table read, the unique composition of its cover can be difficult to negotiate. The hardback cover only extends (front and back) to the point of the spine of the book photographed on the cover. Inside the hardback cover is a paperback cover that extends to house the rest of the book. It is awkward, certainly, and took a bit of getting used to, but once I became accustomed to the book, holding it comfortably ceased to be a difficulty. Heh, a book with a physical learning curve'that was a new one for me.
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on August 7, 2014
I have seen Chip Kidd on YouTube and love his covers. I was looking forward to this book but found it unreadable and had to return it. This is a case of a designer over-designing! The cover opens back and front with a cutout flap that makes it unwieldy. The art inside is crammed into every page with unreadable copy of 9 pt or less - but what's worse - it's white type on black, a total no no especially with such small type. I could not read the thing. Most disappointing.
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on January 10, 2006
Chip Kidd is one of those people who makes me think about the work that I do, and inspires me to try to be more creative. Some design lends itself to stealing and there is a tendency to try to emulate styles, but you can't do that with Kidd's work because it is the idea itself which is so fantastic. He manages to find a perfect way to complement the work of the author and create an ideal package. While his work doesn't conform to any particular style, I find that I can easily spot Kidd's covers on a crowded bookstore shelf. (Sometimes his colleague Carol Devine Carson can fake me out with a well designed spine, but I can pretty reliably pick out a "Kidd" 90% of the time. I find that I sometimes buy books on the strengths of his covers alone.)

Kidd makes me try to expand the way I think about what I'm trying to say, and for that reason, this book will be a frequent reference.
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on January 25, 2006
This an excellent ,colorful book with very useful and informative comments,they are also humorous.Kidd mentions that he shows failed designs when he lectures to show that even a successful designer has failures.Unfortunately,in my opinion,the jacket for this volume falls in this category,its clever but not practical.because the cover is split in two parts its an irritation to hold and eventually the cover will be bent when laying down or storing in shelf.Still a must have in this genre.Now how about a Susan Mitchell collection?
ps.i followed my advice and bought the hardcover .Amazing its even more unwieldy,the cover is half hard and half soft,yikes!I ended up buying the soft cover to keep and treat it very carefully ,was that the point of this nutty design?I guess this cover will enter the hall of fame and certainly will be a collectors item if its never opened.Argghh!!!
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on January 15, 2006
I highly recommend this book to any graphic designer. He details nearly every cover design, and its great to hear the back story, and see preliminary designs and alternate final designs. Ironically, my only complaint about the book is its cover. I have the paperback edition, the cover only covers half of the book, and this makes flipping through the pages kind of unwieldy. The cuteness of this cover design wears off quickly. It will be interesting to see how he rates this cover in the sequel to this book in 20 years.
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on April 19, 2015
While the book is great & in good shape, I was not expecting it to have prominent "TOURO COLLEGE PROPERTY" stamps around the edges. Won't be using as a coffee table book, as I wanted to.
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VINE VOICEon January 1, 2008
This is a great, great book. If you're a fan of Kidd's work, by all means buy this book. If you are at all interested in truly inspirational graphic design, this book is a must-have.

PROS: having so many of Kidd's designs in one place is worth the price of admission, inclusion of the development and back story of each cover is interesting and elucidating, stories of his adventures in the trade are well-written and fun to learn about.

CONS: the cover is awkward, the shape of the book makes it hard to hold while reading - you really have to put it on something flat - it's sometimes difficult to decipher exactly which pictures the captions are referencing.

There is a definite form-over-function issue with the book, but the content is what counts - and that gets 5 stars from me without a quibble.
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on May 25, 2015
A very good book. It's funny. It's like a course in graphic design. He shows comps and why they weren't chosen. Huge book. Lots of photos.
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on November 14, 2013
Outstanding. Chip Kidd is high quality, mentally invigorating, and it is so much fun to see a genius at work
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