WIRED Magazine Interview with Chip Kidd about the New Book, GO: A Kidd’s Guide To Graphic Design

A really great interview with Chip Kidd . It’s main focus is, “Why Kids Should Learn About Graphic Design”. This book will is directed mostly toward young kids around the age of 10 or 11, adults will learn a lot from it too, and that’s what they discuss in the article. It’s really about the challenges of teaching kids about graphic design.

By Liz Stinson September 23, 2013

There’s something wrong with the cover of Chip Kidd’s new book, Go: A Kidd’s Guide to Graphic Design (to be released by Workman Press on October 8). The word GO, in block letters, sits smack in the middle of a bright red stop sign. Kidd is messing with kids. He’s allowed — after all, Kidd designed some of the most iconic book covers in circulation. (Remember the skeletal dinosaur on Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park? That’s him). The front of Kidd’s book is the first lesson in a series of humorous, playful looks at the basics of graphic design, aimed at kids 10 and up — leading into concepts like form, typography, scale, and color theory. We talked to the graphic design guru about writing for kids and what young’uns need to know to come gunning for his job.

Chip Kidd
Chip Kidd

Why do you think it’s important that kids learn about design?

I really didn’t even hear the term graphic design until I was a freshman in college and it was my major. The thing is, I was the last generation to learn design before computers, and of course, computers and the Internet have changed everything. So kids today are making graphic design through their smartphones and devices, but they may or may not know it, and they may or may not understand how to make their projects effective. I just thought, all right, let’s address this, because there really isn’t any kind of text for grade-school kids about graphic design.

How did you make sure the book wasn’t too advanced for children?

The real question was, how sophisticated do we want to get with this? A lot of these concepts I didn’t learn until college, but I don’t think it hurts to introduce kids to questions like, what is sincerity? What is irony? What is metaphor? What is concept? Yeah, you can spray-paint your skateboard fluorescent orange to look cool, and that is design, but we also want to get into how to use graphic design as problem solving and for something important, like social change.

Do you have much experience explaining design to children?

This is uncharted territory for me. I was out of my comfort zone, but it helped me to rethink everything about graphic design again—never a bad thing.

What was the most interesting thing you rediscovered?

That regardless of whether it’s ink on paper or pixels on a screen, the general principles don’t change. I think what changes is how quickly you can make something, how quickly you can send it into the culture, and how careful you have to be about how you do that.


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