“Bookbinding Dojo” with Chip Kidd

As a part of Tokyo International Literary Festival 2013, legendary book cover designer Chip Kidd gave a talk at Rainy Day Bookstore in Minami Aoyama.

It was a very intimate talk session with 40 people or so in a cozy space surrounded with books. Although book cover designing is not directly related to my current work, Chip’s personal history and work philosophy really inspired me.

Chip Kidd at Rainy Day Bookstore

In the beginning of the session, he spent some time talking about how Japanese culture (especially anime by Osamu Tezuka and other superhero shows) had huge impact on him. He said he was influenced by their sensibility, design and eccentricity.

Chip Kidd at Rainy Day Bookstore

10 years ago, he started working with Vertical, an American publisher that brought many Japanese book/manga titles to the U.S. He said one of the reasons that he agreed to work for them was that they were planning to publish Osamu Tezuka’s works.

Chip Kidd at Rainy Day Bookstore

I didn’t know one of Keigo Higashino’s famous books’ title is translated into my name – “Naoko”. The Japanese title is “Himitsu” (means “secret”).

Chip Kidd at Rainy Day Bookstore

He showcased several of his work, including this one – Ring by Koji Suzuki. Many of Chip’s work at Vertical use fancy materials and non-standard printing/cutting techniques that can be more costly, but I think the extra touch to each piece was necessariy to achieve what he was trying to communicate – sensibility, design and eccentricity of Japanese literature.

Chip Kidd at Rainy Day Bookstore

At the end of Q&A, he answered one question from the audience; “define a good book cover”. His answer was something like “it’s something that makes you want to pick up and read & own the book”. I think this simple answer reflects his work. He uses the power of design to affect people’s action while creating something beautiful.


4 responses to ““Bookbinding Dojo” with Chip Kidd”

  1. The Peckish Kiwi Avatar

    “Something you want to pick up and read & own the book.” I love it, so concise.

    1. Naoko Avatar

      Yeah – I loved his attitude toward book cover designing. He tackle it with his 100% as a designer and does great job, but that’s simply it. Something about the simplicity really inspired me.

  2. […] About 2 weeks ago, as a part of Japan’s 2013 Tokyo International Literary Festival , the book cover designer Chip Kidd gave a talk at the Rainy Day Bookstore in Minami, Aoyama. He discussed current Book Cover Design, Graphic Art Influences, and his love of Japanese Culture. But this post was done to share this wonderful photo taken by Naoko Takano. Her personal blog has many other photos to see and some nice information too. To view it, please CLICK HERE! […]

  3. Mateusz Cherek Avatar

    Nice photos and interesting report. I see it was a quite nice meeting there. Cover certainly is not the most important part of the book but if the cover is good it stay in mind for a long time.

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