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Go Hardcover – April 16, 2014
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From School Library Journal
Gr 5 Up-In this general introduction, Kidd informs readers that virtually everything is a product of a designer's imagination, and that graphic design, or "visual communication," has been around for hundreds of years in one form or another. He includes some splendid historical examples as proof. Peppered throughout are numerous samples of the author's own and other talented artists' fascinating and quirky work. Kidd's folksy, conversational tone, in which he speaks directly to readers, is appealing. Readers will also appreciate the respect he shows for their individuality and inherent talent. Most welcome will be the 10 thought-provoking, fun projects that allow students the opportunity to use the lessons learned herein to communicate effectively through typography, color, visual imagery, and so on. This is a book not only for art classes, but also for courses in journalism, communications, media, and writing, for units on persuasive writing and advertising, and to demonstrate how strong visual images convey meaning and appeal.-Carol Goldman, Queens Library, NYα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
*Starred Review* Graphic design is everywhere we look—from the colors on a box of cereal to advertisements plastering the walls of buildings to the shapes of labels on toothpaste tubes and shampoo bottles. Illustrious graphic designer Kidd, who, among other things, created the iconic cover of Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park (1990), introduces kids to design elements they likely take for granted. But Kidd dispenses with the boring technical jargon and instead presents a rich, colorful, and captivating overview of the things designers consider every day. He clearly and engagingly explains concepts such as form, color, typography, and scale, but he relies far more on delicious full-page visuals of book covers, advertisements, vintage posters, and photographs to illustrate his points. The chapter on typography in particular makes excellent use of images to demonstrate concepts. Apart from geeking out about design elements, however, Kidd’s primary goal is to encourage aspiring designers to pay attention to graphics they see every day in their favorite book covers, ads, and posters and to use this newfound knowledge to create their own designs. Captivating, eye-opening, and just plain cool. Grades 8-12. --Sarah Hunter
Top customer reviews
Sadly, I can’t even remember when I first heard the term “graphic design.” I’m pretty sure it wasn’t until I was a teenager. Probably not until high school when I had to start taking those career tests and figuring out how I was going to turn my creative interests into some kind of job with a recognizable title that could pay the bills (um…I’m still working on that part). But even without knowing the term, I loved graphic design from a very early age. While other kids played Monopoly, I designed and created my own board games. While other kids played house, I played travel agent and created my own brochures. While other kids played video games, I played with every single font on my dad’s computer.
Chip Kidd, book design wizard, would have absolutely wowed grade school me. If I had read his smart and fun primer on graphic design when I was a kid, I would have felt like I’d found my mother ship—or at least the manual. Right from the beginning, you know you are going to have fun: the cover features a large red octagon, but instead of the word “STOP,” which is what you’d expect, it has the word “GO,” which is the book’s title. Also, the author playfully uses the spelling of his last name for the subtitle: “A Kidd’s Guide to Graphic Design.”
What is so fantastic about this book is that Kidd introduces the principles of graphic design in a manner that is simple yet elegant, without ever dumbing down. When explaining how graphic design is different from other types of design, such as architecture, fashion, or industrial design, he says, “graphic design is purely a head trip, from your eyes to your mind.”
And what a head trip he takes his readers on! Every spread that introduces a design principle is itself artful design. Kidd teaches by example, not only using images from his own work and that of other graphic designers, but also using the text of his explanations as part of the visual lesson. On the page that explains inversion, the word “inversion” is printed upside down. However, as can be expected from his inversion of the “STOP” sign on the cover, Kidd also demonstrates the importance of turning familiar concepts upside down in the name of creativity. On a page that discusses the concept of big and small, the word “big” appears in a minuscule type size smaller than the body text while the word “small” is so large it stretches from margin to margin like an attention-grabbing headline.
Best of all, at the end of the book, Kidd encourages his readers to dive into graphic design with several hands-on projects. “Whatever you do, don’t…” he says, “STOP,” with the word “STOP” in a green light circle. Although GO didn’t come out soon enough for me to enjoy as a kid, I think it’s also a great resource for adults, because it reinforces the basics and reminds us that good design is nothing more or less than how each designer sees the world from his or her unique perspective.
The cover recommends this for ages 10 and up, but you know your young'un. A precocious and interested 9 could certainly handle it, but a kid might outgrow the level by their teens. For its target audience, I can't imagine a text much better than this. It's big, bold, well-organized, and well-suited to attention spans that might not last ten pages. I could imagine a few more exercises than the ones in the back, especially when the child reader has grownups who lack the knowledge to lead very far - but, if the parent can, then so much the better. I'll look forward to seeing a child's response to this one.