Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Cooking the Books

A little over a week ago, Greg and I went to see a talk by this man:
Chip Kidd.

The talk was much more interesting than I thought it would be. I had imagined this very self-important artist, going on about how he designs book covers while thinking of the spirit of the book and the nuance and blah blah blah. Instead, he was a self-important artist who told stories about how’s failed and what he tries over and over again. I laughed a lot, and really enjoyed his lecture. One of my favorite anecdotes was a story about how he tried to make a book cover for a memoir about a hostile takeover at Merrill Lynch. The book, he said, was stupid and boring. But, he made a creative cover out of it. It was intriguing. Something that would make me pick up a book about a financial institution. The author hated it. Said it didn’t capture the “soul of Merrill Lynch” His response to her hatred? “It’s a hedge fund company. There IS NO SOUL. Fuck. Her.” She went with a craptacularly boring design; just words on a blank background. He revised his story, “When I saw this, I took back what I said. This ABSOLUTELY captures the soul of Merrill Lynch.”

The talk was funny, intriguing and woke me up a little after a very long day. That is, until he introduced his new venture into music. He played a YouTube video of his song, “Asymmetrical Girl.” I could see what he was going for, but he didn’t quite get there. He’s much better at design and comedy. In the little overflow room where we watched the presentation, people actually got up and left during the video. We considered it, but stayed through it if only to say we had. You can’t blame a guy for trying, right?

Well, maybe a little.

Some of Chip Kidd's covers - More found

1 comment:

Joel said...

I love what a smart ass you are. Really. And yeah, I'm kinda stuck on the words "smart ass" lately. Oh well.