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Chip Kidd (Monographics) Paperback – September 1, 2003

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School--Graphic-design students, book lovers, marketing and sales majors, and browsers alike will be drawn to this well-designed, beautifully illustrated examination of Kidd's oeuvre. A glance at the examples, from a scrapbooklike tribute to Charles Schulz to the dinosaur silhouette for Michael Crichton's Jurassic Park, reveals the wide-ranging and influential nature of the designer and illustrator's work. He is known most widely for his design of book covers, for example the three progressively colored jackets for Cormac McCarthy's "Border Trilogy" or the typographical logo that Elmore Leonard carries with him from publisher to publisher. Kidd's innovative use of photographs and graphic-design elements to reinforce the concept of reality in fiction added a new dimension to book covers. Vienne begins with a candid and useful history of her subject's development, especially his obsession with Batman and other comic heroes. While the author places him firmly as a member of the team at Knopf with a publisher willing to take some significant chances, she allows him his just deserts as an innovator. There are 105 color reproductions, almost all described stylistically in the text, with wry comments and insights from Kidd in the captions. A fine introduction to an artist and art form visible everywhere, but not always given its due.--Susan H. Woodcock, Fairfax County Public Library, Chantilly, VA
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From Booklist

There's a portrait of Chip Kidd in Marion Ettlinger's Author Photo, presumably as author of the novel The Cheese Monkeys (2001), but Kidd is also a gifted and enormously successful graphic designer specializing in book jackets for such distinguished houses as Knopf. Vienne chronicles Kidd's unique use of photographic images, fascination with comic strips, involvement with graphic novels, and reputation as a jester. Readers are then free to marvel over Kidd's visual acumen and agile wit as manifest in jackets for books by Peter Carey, Donna Tartt, Robert Hughes, James Ellroy, Michael Ondaatje--well, you get the point. Donna Seaman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Series: Monographics
  • Paperback: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press (September 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300099525
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300099522
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 7.5 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,126,571 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Clare Quilty on February 20, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a slim, handsome book spotlighting the work of graphic designer, Chip Kidd, and featuring crisp, clean photographs of roughly five dozen of the covers he designed for books under the Alfred A. Knopf imprint.

People tend to either know exactly who he is or have no idea, but Kidd's the guy who did the T-Rex for the cover of "Jurassic Park." He also did landmark jackets like Tartt's "The Secret History" ; Cormac McCarthy's border trilogy ("All the Pretty Horses"); the reverse canvas of Robert Hughes' "Nothing if Not Critical" ; Martin Amis' big paycheck "The Information" ; the evocative Elmore Leonard and James Ellroy covers; and the stark, bloodstained Richmond Lattimore translation of the New Testament.

The book also touches on Kidd's novel, "The Cheese Monkeys," and his books about "Peanuts" and "Plastic Man" and his surprisingly absorbing books on "Batman" memorabilia.

Vienne's introduction - a little under 18 illustrated pages - provides a solid mix of biographical and technical information and the pictures, though somewhat reduced, are still large enough to appreciate.

The notes are also insightful. For some reason, I'd never really identified Kidd's tendency toward covers with a horizontal split; I also wasn't aware that he'd godfathered (though not designed) the jacket of Chris Ware's "Jimmy Corrigan," and was amused to learn the story behind the cover of Edmund White's bio of Jean Genet (Kidd found the signed photograph of Genet in an East Hampton bookstore but couldn't afford its $3,000 pricetag so he rented it; in route to his office, the glass over the photo cracked and Kidd kept the pane with the starburst crack rather than replacing it with a new one).

Overall, an engrossing look at a guy whom I know mostly through his art which, ironically, almost always adorns the art of others.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Sunny McKaig on July 2, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This was perfect for my graduating senior who is going into graphic arts and design for a career. A perfect first book for the resource library.
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