This Is Chip Kidd
The prolific graphic designer known for his iconic book covers welcomes us into his downtown Manhattan home.
Chip Kidd is one of the most prolific graphic designers in the world of book publishing. Currently Associate Art Director at Knopf—where he has worked since graduating from Penn State—Kidd is responsible for designing some of the most influential books of the last three decades. Kidd is a neighbor of the Rowing Blazers Clubhouse, so we recently visited him at his Downtown Manhattan home to take some photos and discuss his illustrious career.
Name: Charles "Chip" Kidd
Occupation: Graphic Designer/Writer
Astrological Sign: Virgo
Hometown: Reading, Pa
Location: Manhattan and Palm Beach
RB: Tell us about your background.
CK: I grew up in the 1970s and '80s in the tiny suburb of Lincoln Park, Pa. The next village over is Shillington, Pa., where John Updike grew up and based much of his writing on, especially the 'Rabbit' books.
RB: Who or what influences/inspires you?
CK: The authors for whom I design books.
RB: What is the best piece of advice you have received?
CK: "Don't rent, BUY."
RB: What are some of your hobbies?
CK: The NYT crossword, comic book conventions (SDCC and NYCC), writing and playing music (see 'artbreak' on YouTube).
RB: Top 5 career highlights?
CK: Designs: "All The Pretty Horses" by Cormac McCarthy; "The Secret History" by Donna Tartt; "Jurassic Park" by Michael Crichton; "1Q84" by Haruki Murakami; Co-creating "True Prep" with Lisa Birnbach.
RB: Tell us more about the Nabokov Book project.
CK: There is a new book of his uncollected non-fiction coming out this fall from Knopf called "Think, Write, Speak." I designed the cover and created the artwork.
RB: How would you describe your style of dress?
CK: 'Eccentric Prep.'
RB: Top 5 book recommendations?
CK: Anything with me as the author (sorry!)
RB: How did you get started in the graphic design industry?
CK: I majored in graphic design at Penn State University, 1982-1986. I bee-lined it for NYC right after that, and through sheer luck got my job at Alfred A. Knopf.
RB: Did you always want to be a graphic designer?
CK: I really wanted to be a cartoonist, but by the time I was a senior in high school I had to admit to myself that I couldn't really draw well enough, so that was a problem. Luckily, I discovered what graphic design was/is very early on in college, and that became it for me.
RB: Where do you draw creativity from? Do you ever get stuck on a project?
CK: As a graphic designer, you really need to train yourself to be creatively inspired by whatever assignment you're working on, the source material. In my case, it's being inspired by the books I'm designing.
RB: Do you have any projects coming up that you are excited about (if you can share)?
CK: My two recent books are "Marvelocity: The Marvel Comics Art of Alex Ross" and "CHIP KIDD: BOOK TWO."