An e-mail from Chip Kidd

I’ll never forget the day Chip Kidd sent me an e-mail. Chip Kidd, author of The Cheese Monkeys, the book that does for design school what Nathaniel West’s Day of the Locust did for Hollywood.

I wrote about Chip Kidd’s work and he sent me a polite e-mail in response. He called me “Mr Zeldman.” Him. He. That Chip Kidd.

Chip Kidd, my all-time-favorite, hall-of-fame book cover designer. Fabricator of the jackets on at least half the modern novels I’ve bought “on impulse”—that impulse triggered and exquisitely controlled by Kidd, who approaches the problem of book design the way a director approaches montage in film. Not a crude film director, but a sly one. One who attacks at tangents, combining images to create compelling narratives that strangely illuminate but never crassly illustrate each book’s contents.

Let me tell you about Chip Kidd. I stare at his work, trying to figure out how he does it. Looking for flaws, like you do when someone is that good. Chip Kidd, you might say, is a design hero of mine. He is likely a design hero of yours, too.

Now he works for us.

The Deck, the premier network for reaching creative, web and design professionals, is proud to welcome Chip Kidd, Dean Allen, Ze Frank, and the crew behind Aviary as the newest members of our network.

  • Chip Kidd: See above.
  • Dean Allen: One of the finest writers ever to grace the web with wit, insight, and a distinctively detached charm. Also a heck of a book designer, although of a very different school from Chip Kidd. Also a software developer, and not a bad hand at web design. I chose Dean Allen to redesign The Web Standards Project when I was ready to leave the august institution. (It has since been redesigned by Andy Clarke. Not a bad progression.)
  • Ze Frank: A man who needs no introduction. The original bad boy of look-at-me, the-web-is-TV. Artist, illustrator, satirist, programmer, and on-screen personality. The Jon Stewart of confessional web video. The Laurie Anderson of pop. The boy Lonely Girl only dreams of becoming. Too big for TV, too big for your iPhone. Coming soon to a conference near you.
  • Aviary: makers of rich internet applications geared for artists of all genres. From image editing to typography to music to 3D to video, they have a tool for everything.

The Deck delivered 20,121,412 ad impressions during April. Limited opportunities are now available through the Third Quarter of 2008.

[tags]Chip Kidd, Dean Allen, Aviary, Deck, The Deck, advertising[/tags]

31 thoughts on “An e-mail from Chip Kidd”

  1. Pingback: Design-Feed Latest
  2. So, I was looking at decknetwork.net in IE7 and it looks just awful. Something is wrong in that IE7 chooses the wrong font of something. I used Safari for windows and it looks great on that browser. Does anyone else see this problem? It is almost illegible on IE7 right now.

  3. “So, I was looking at decknetwork.net in IE7 and it looks just awful. Something is wrong in that IE7 chooses the wrong font of something. I used Safari for windows and it looks great on that browser. Does anyone else see this problem? It is almost illegible on IE7 right now.”

    Why would you be using IE7? It destroys how most sites look. IE are still trying to govern how web is done. Most of my sites I build look fine on every browser BUT IE.

  4. You can’t ignore IE. Sorry, love it or hate it the damn thing is still the majority browser. Suck it up and learn how to whip it into shape.

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  6. I prefer Safari and only really use IE when I have too. I just thought I would mention it as I am sure that decknetwork.net did not intend its current rendering on IE7.

    If you click the website link for my post you can see the screencap of how it looks in IE7. Seems to be a font problem. Maybe the CSS… Maybe my computer fonts. Safari on the same computer looks fine though.

  7. I went to hear Chip Kidd talk about book cover design at the Los Angeles Public Library. An excellent venue for such a topic, agreed? I had read Cheese Monkeys, which in addition to having one of the all-stops-out book cover designs you’ve ever seen (for those of you who’ve seen it) is a funny book that will make you laugh out loud. Sorry to use such a cliche, but it had to be said.

    Turns out, Chip Kidd is funny in person too and he showed us some of his book cover designs, including some that had been rejected, along with the one that was used.

    The sequel to Cheeze Monkeyz is out, “The Learners”, and the book cover design is thought provoking. The cover reminds me of an exhibit of a map of the Nazi death camps that I saw at the Museum de la Resistance in Vaucluse. The map is occluded by strips which are interposed between the viewer and the map, so the reality is hidden unless a you make a special effort to discover what is there. The cover of “The Learners” is the same way, and once you see the cover and read the book, you will know why.

    You are very lucky to have Chip Kidd on staff, consulting, or associated in any way with your design and communications practice. Very.

  8. You are very lucky to have Chip Kidd on staff, consulting, or associated in any way with your design and communications practice. Very.

    Yike! Mr Chip Kidd is not on our staff. I regret any wording that could have conveyed that impression. All I meant when I said “Now he works for us” is that Mr Chip Kidd’s website is now part of The Deck advertising network.

    Words, they are tricky.

  9. I have to confess Chip Kidd is a design hero of mine as well. His rendition of the Wicked Witch of the West was uncanny though – he could have done well in pantomime.

  10. Last month I read Michael Beirut’s “Seventy-Nine Short Essays on Design” which featured a handful of glowing references to Kidd’s jacket-design work. Not until I looked online at a full gallery of Kidd’s work did I realize he was responsible for some of my favorite jacket designs of the last five years! He’s an impressive addition to the Deck.

  11. Typo alert — too many “one”s in this bit: “One of the finest writers ever one…”

  12. He called me “Mr Zeldman.”

    I like the guy already :)

    Congrats on adding such talented people to the Deck.

  13. “reechard – My BlogLog said on May 4th, 2008 at 6:22 am:
    “Kramer auto Pingback[...] Ze Frank, Textism, Chip Kidd, and Aviary join The Deck (zeldman.com)””

    I said nothing of the sort. Hmm!

  14. I’ve seen some of Kidd’s work, and to me the dustjackets are a cut above anything else I’ve seen. Often they look like an afterthought, but in the case of Kidd, it’s like a custom-tailored suit cut just for the story.

    An amazing guy.

  15. Pingback: Cheese Monkeys

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