Chip Kidd’s Guide To Graphic Design, For Kids

Published:  October 25, 2013
Chip Kidd’s Guide To Graphic Design, For Kids

Legendary graphic designer and author Chip Kidd has published an introduction to graphic design, especially for children. The book is aimed at children aged 10 and above, providing an accessible introduction to some of the key concepts in graphics and typography.

Like many children’s books, however, a read through also offers a different perspective on a subject you thought you already knew a lot about. The design of the book itself is commendable, and the writing is engaging for children and adults alike – Kidd is witty, never condescending, and characteristically creative in the ways he explains ‘creativity’, and some of design’s myths, enigmas and fallacies.

Kidd tackles the subject of what graphic design is, and why it’s important. As he explains, “…everything that is not made by nature is designed by someone…and it affects us all the time.” He covers the history— from cave paintings to Photoshop—and tackles key graphic design fields by dividing them into four chapters: Form, Typography, Content and Concept.

These chapters begin to explore deep into graphic design theory with such kowledge and clarity that any designer may learn something. He presents examples of how to create powerful designs using techniques such as cropping and juxtaposing images. He introduces Louis Sullivan’s ‘form follows function’ theory, highlighting the importance of addressing the question, what are you trying to communicate? He encourages readers to “let the problem itself give you ideas”. He cites examples of his own cover designs, explaining that covers are “first to attract your attention, then to make you want to investigate it and figure it out. And I think that’s what all book covers should try to do.”

Towards the end of the book, Kidd invites the reader to partake in ‘Design Projects”, giving practical advice and ideas. Any of these exercises are worthwhile, and in all, the book manages to be informative without being boring, simplifies difficult themes without patronising readers and most importantly, it shows children that design can, and should, be fun.

Comments and thoughts already circulating about this book have expressed both a regret that the book was not around in their youth, to the idea that it would make an excellent gift to anyone who doesn’t understand graphic design — from a little sister, a mum, or a boss.

Go! A Kidd’s Guide to Graphic Design is published by Workman and costs $17.95. Kidd will be posting readers’ responses to practical project briefs from the book at


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