Chip Kidd—Book One—Work: 1986–2006

Chip Kidd, Author, Geoff Spear, Photographer, John Updike, Introduction by , intro. by John Updike, photos by Geoff Spear, design by Mark Melnick. Rizzoli $65 (397p) ISBN 978-0-8478-2748-0 ISBN 978-0-8478-2785-5

Stylishly designed and richly produced, this witty volume works both as a retrospective of Kidd's renowned book covers and as a memoir of his career in publishing. "I did not grow up yearning to become a book designer," Kidd declares in his prologue. "What I wanted to be was Chris Partridge on The Partridge Family ." Thank heavens that plan didn't work out; ever since Sara Eisenman hired Kidd at Knopf, he's been churning out creepy, striking, sly, smart, unpredictable covers that make readers appreciate books as objects of art as well as literature. His accounts of the development of such famous covers as the clear acetate jacket for Donna Tartt's The Secret History and the high-gloss spot-laminate design for Haruki Murakami's The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle are fascinating. And his irresistible, tongue-in-cheek remarks keep the text from getting gushy or self-aggrandizing. Example: "One of the great advantages to designing book covers is that you don't ever have to have an idea, much less a thought, ever, in your head. That is the author's job." Publishing insiders will relish the behind-the-scenes stories. Kidd's descriptions of his design process and training make the book equally rewarding for graphic artists. This is a gorgeous gift for serious lovers of books and design. (Nov. 1)

Reviewed on: 10/24/2005
Release date: 09/01/2005
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