Beware of 'Rock Star' Designers
Painters and sculptors have "earned the right to take some risks." Their work is center stage, viewed on its own and is expected to be pure personal expression.
Commercial designers are hired to maximize the client's message, not to make statements of their own.
Design is enhancement. Nothing more. Nothing less.
What am I talking about?
What follows are hyperlinks to several Kidd book covers at Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com. You can experience them in the setting for which they were intended--an online bookstore where they are in direct competition with other covers, all of which are crying for attention and saying to the browser, "Buy ME! Buy ME!"
Kidd hits the bulls-eye with Joe Eszterhas's outrageous saga of the Clinton-Lewinsky relationship, "American Rhapsody": http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/isbnInquiry.asp?userid=gT4kXpBCs6&isbn=0375725547&itm=1.
Not since "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" have lips been that red, that dominant and that voluptuous.
Kidd hit one out of the park with his design for Michael Crichton's "Jurassic Park" that instantly conveys the title, the author's name and a frightening design that went on to become the logo of the film: http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/isbnInquiry.asp?userid=gT4kXpBCs6&isbn=0394588169&itm=2.
Both of these covers are powerful sales tools--instantly recognizable full size in a bookstore or miniaturized on a computer screen.
Serving Himself and Not the Author
Here are some Chip Kidd covers to squint at:
The author's name pops, but the title is virtually invisible. Further, the teeny red title against a black background would be completely invisible in a black-and-white ad or illustration in a book review. Make a black-and-white photocopy of red type against a black background and you get mush.
"Let Nothing You Dismay"
Neither title nor author is easily readable.
Imagine this dreary duotone cover in between "American Rhapsody" and "Jurassic Park." It would be as lost as the author's identity.
- Allan Gurganus
- Ann Rice
- Anne Rice
- Augustus Busch
- Cary L. Roberts
- Clay Felker
- Condoleeza Rice
- Dan Brown
- Dan Poynter
- Danielle Steele
- Hillary Rodham Clinton
- Joe Eszterhas
- John Updike
- Kidd Book Covers
- Marilyn Monroe
- Maureen Dowd
- Michael Brown
- Michael Crichton
- Mickey Mouse
- Milton Glaser
- Norman Mailer
- Paul Goldberg
- Penelope Green
- Susanna Goihman
- The News
- Tom Peters