GO Read Chip Kidd’s Guide to Graphic Design

Chip Kidd

If I had to pick the very first book, that anyone interested in Graphic Design or studying in the field should read cover to cover, it would be “GO: A Kidd’s Guide to Graphic Design.”

It’s a comprehensive publication that starts with the basics, and even as a seasoned designer myself, the content is written and laid out so it’s always entertaining. Every time I crack it open I learn something new.

It begins with a basic question, What is Graphic Design? And compares that type of design to industrial, fashion, interior, etc., with appreciation for the fact that every other type of design requires additional action on the onlooker’s part, while graphic design is “purely a head trip.” From there, Chip goes into four very basic chapters, on the absolute fundamentals of design. If a design student learned nothing in schooling, they need to be versed on these four principles: Form, Typography, Content, and Concept. Within each of the chapters, Chip explores variations of the topic, instruction on how to make educated decisions when designing, and displays real world examples of how they can be applied. All the while, each page is designed different from the last, intriguing, with bold images at unusual scales and typography that nearly forces you to read. You will not be bored with this chip board book.

But why is this book, seemingly an educational publication, in Design Sellout’s top ten books for Creative Inspiration? Well, that lies in the final chapter of the book: 10 Design Projects.

The first ‘project’ is to start a Graphic Design collection; which I touched on in one of my previous posts but now realize I made a fatal mistake in my instruction on the topic. I suggested collecting a foundation of libraries, such as books, Pinterest boards, Behance profiles to follow, which could perpetually inspire. What I love about Chip’s version of this, is he suggests you gather scrapbooks of things, clippings, ticket stubs, newspaper ads, candy wrappers, etc. How often do I see a business card and think to myself, “That’s really well-designed” only to let it fall in the abyss of my purse and be thrown away a few weeks later? I need to start saving them; don’t ask me why this is so profound… it’s the little things in life.

I won’t spoil the rest of the activities, but will say they range from experimenting with color, positive and negative space, and more. He even goes on to prompt you to develop your own visual identity, by asking questions like “What is your idea of yourself?” and “What idea do you want others to have of you?”

This book isn’t only for graphic designers. I truly believe any artist, or creative individual, or art fan, would love it like I do. If you can’t wait one more minute to have it (well, you’ll still have to wait two days with Prime shipping) you can order it here. Enjoy!

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