TED Talk. Chip Kidd: The art of first impressions


People – and objects – are usually given a mere few merciless seconds to let their first impression shine in a positive light; when the impact thus created is of lasting effect, even the better. Who, if not book jacket designer Chip Kidd, is predestined to endorse what’s a commonly known fact. After all, books are written to be read and sold, and their covers ideally serve as a teaser, a marketing tool and as an individual advertising platform alike. Shrouding a message in mystery may be the appropriate method when targeting one specific audience – or be utterly counterproductive when addressing another.

The whys and the wherefores in favour of clarity are readily shared in this informative yet most entertaining talk. Mesmerised listeners learn the difference between those two techniques implemented by successful designers to induce instant communication with the consumer.

Chip Kidd revolutionised the art of American book packaging. As a graphic designer for Alfred A. Knopf since 1986, he has designed classics such as Jurassic Park, Naked by David Sedaris, All the Pretty Horses. Chip – editor and art director for Pantheon Graphic novels – has commissioned work from cartoonists including Chris Ware, Art Spiegelman and Dan Clowes and he authored the novel The Cheese Monkeys and The Learners.

Kidd was honored with the Cooper-Hewitt’s National Design Award for Communication in 2007, the International Center of Photography’s Infinity Award for Design in 1997 and the AIGA Medal in 2014.

Header image ©Christina Feyerke