Book Design: Cover Art

Whether you are publishing your work independently or packaging lesson plans to supplement your traditionally published book, writers and illustrators alike will benefit from Chip Kidd’s TEDD talk on mystery vs clarity.  Not familiar with Kidd’s work?  You should be.  He is an award winning graphic designer who works for Random House designing a wide variety of book covers.

In this particular talk, he discusses how he uses both mystery and clarity to communicate with and draw in readers.  One tempts the reader in to learn more. The other is immediately recognizable and draws the reader in with an “aha” moment.

My favorite part was when he showed epic failures — moments of clarity that, although clear on one level, failed to communicate the intended message.  I also loved the attempts to clearly communicate that failed utterly to deliver the intended message.

Watch the video and then take a look at your favorite book covers.  Are they mysterious?  Or do they offer startling clarity?  For more on Kidd and his work, check out my post tomorrow on the Muffin.