Posts tagged ‘Chip Kidd’

The Penn Stater Daily — Jan. 17, 2014

Portraits of Richard Alley

Making room next to his Nobel: Richard Alley, the Evan Pugh Professor of Geosciences and member of the Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, has been honored with the 2014 Arthur L. Day Prize and Lectureship by the National Academy of Sciences. The prize, given annually by the NAS to “a scientist making lasting contributions to the study of the physics of the earth,” stipulates that the recipient “should also be a good speaker.” On that front, we think Alley (who was elected into the NAS in 2008) more than qualifies:

His ability to teach geology through Johnny Cash covers notwithstanding, Alley has for years been on the forefront of climate science. It’s not just that he can be found hiking glaciers in Greenland or Antarctica, but how he finds ways to make his research—and its massive implications for all of us—accessible. It’s an honor to be on the same campus as this guy.

Latest from the BOT: My colleague Lori Shontz ’91, ’13g is all over this week’s Board of Trustees meetings. In case you missed it, she filed this last night on efforts to boost alumni participation in board elections, and posted this earlier today on the outside consultant brought in to help facilitate discussion on governance reform. She’ll have more later from Friday’s sessions.

A campus menace no more: Onward State takes a celebratory tone in its coverage of the removal of the “colored tiles of death” from in front of the Palmer Museum of Art. If you’re not familiar, the multicolored, geometric patterns that covered the sidewalks in front of the museum had a tendency to get very slippery when wet. They will not be missed.

Keeping Kidd: The University Libraries just made a very cool acquisition, securing the archives of famed graphic designer Chip Kidd ’86. The man responsible for some of the most iconic book covers of the past 20 years is handing over a treasure trove of design artifacts and inspiration, including design work going back to his undergraduate days, correspondence with authors like David Sedaris, John Updike, and Cormac McCarthy, and hundreds of pop-culture collectibles that have inspired his work over the years. Excited for this stuff to go on public display.

Ryan Jones, senior editor

January 17, 2014 at 12:18 pm Leave a comment

The Penn Stater Daily — Sept. 26, 2013

From news to features, your daily dose of everything Penn State.

Icebreaker: When I toured the Pegula Ice Arena back in February, Joe Battista ’83 painted an amazingly vivid picture of all the amenities (a synthetic practice rink! skate-repair rooms! Subway!) that had yet to be built. So checking out this slideshow, posted yesterday on, felt a little like deja vu. So cool to see it all come together.

Sorry, sunbathers: Construction on the HUB-Robeson Center is in full swing, and the bookstore is…on the lawn. While the Barnes and Noble-operated bookstore is undergoing renovations, 28 trailers on the HUB lawn will serve as the temporary location until July, giving former sunbathers and frisbee-lovers plenty of time to catch up on their reading.

Book talk: Speaking of books, two new titles from Penn Staters are making news. Chip Kidd’s latest, Go: A Kidd’s Guide to Graphic Design, is an intro to graphic design for kidds kids. “I was out of my comfort zone,” Kidd ’86 tells Wired mag in this Q&A. “but it helped me to rethink everything about graphic design again—never a bad thing.” Also, Penn State Harrisburg prof John Haddad‘s new book, America’s First Adventure in China, explores the origins of America’s relationship with China. Haddad researched the book during his Fulbright grant experience in China in 2010-11, where he taught American studies, pop culture and literature at the University of Hong Kong.


Sunrise, sunset: Mount Nittany (@MtNittany) has been sharing some fantastic photos on Twitter lately, like this lovely sunrise, taken by meteorology student Dakota Smith (@weatherdak). Almost makes you want to wake up early and see it in person, doesn’t it? Almost.

Mary Murphy, associate editor

September 26, 2013 at 11:05 am Leave a comment

A Little Chip Kidd is Always a Fun Thing

DSC_0267_med_Chip_KiddChip Kidd ’86 is one of our favorite Penn Staters. We’ve profiled him in the magazine a couple of times, and I try never to miss a chance to hear him speak.

To describe him merely as a designer of book jackets is pretty inadequate—something I discovered some years back when I was speaking to a group of Lion Ambassadors and telling them about some famous Penn Staters. I said, “And then there’s Chip Kidd, probably the world’s foremost book-jacket designer,” and they all looked at one another as if I had scraped pretty far down the barrel to come up with that one.

But the reality is that he’s pretty much legendary in the design world, and that in his career at Alfred A. Knopf he’s worked with some big-name authors (including Michael Crichton, John Updike, and Oliver Sacks), and that he’s a terrific speaker—not only inspirational but also funny as hell. If you’ve got 17 minutes to spare, watch his 2012 TED talk and you’ll see.

Anyway, I went out to the Penn Stater conference center last week to hear Chip speak at the Forum Luncheon, and he didn’t disappoint. I’m not going to try to give you a comprehensive overview of his talk, but here are a few nuggets:

—He referred to his more-than-25-year career at Knopf as “technically, still my first job out of school.”

—He summed up his philosophy of design in a quote from Samuel Beckett: “Try. Fail. Try Again. Fail Better.”

Oliver_Sacks_Minds_Eye—He showed the evolution of some of his book-jacket designs and talked about the many layers of people who have to approve the design. He was surprised that his design for Oliver Sacks’ The Mind’s Eye (shown here) wasn’t shot down by the reps who would be out selling the book: “All it takes is one sales rep to say, ‘It looks like O. Liver Sacks,’ and it’s dead.”

—Someone asked where he got his loud striped jacket. “Four British schoolboys gave their lives so I could have this jacket,” he answered. “Well done, lads.” (Actually, he said, he saw it hanging in the window at a Bergdorf Goodman in New York City.)

—He talked a lot about the education he got at Penn State, and one piece of advice from Lanny Sommese, head of the university’s graphic design program, stood out for me: “Lanny taught me that the better you understand a problem, the closer you are to the solution.”

—Asked if he ever met Julia Child (one of the authors Knopf published), he straightened his shoulders and said, proudly, “I once got Julia Child a Diet Coke.”

Neil Gaiman—He talked about two upcoming projects: One is a book about design for kids, the other is a book version of author Neil Gaiman’s “Make Good Art” speech, a commencement speech last year at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. And Kidd quotes a thought from Gaiman’s speech that really jumped out at me. It’s about freelance designers, but it applies to all of us in the working world, I think:

People keep working, in a freelance world … because their work is good, and because they are easy to get along with, and because they deliver the work on time. And you don’t even need all three. Two out of three is fine. People will tolerate how unpleasant you are if your work is good and you deliver it on time. They’ll forgive the lateness of the work if it’s good, and if they like you. And you don’t have to be as good as the others if you’re on time and it’s always a pleasure to hear from you.

Kidd talked about the challenge of turning a graduation speech into a book, especially when you can already watch the speech on YouTube or read a transcript of it online. But, judging from the images he shared from the book (which is due out in May), I suspect it’ll do just fine.

One of Chip Kidd’s next speaking engagements is an Alumni Association “City Lights” event in New York City on May 9. Information about that is here.

Tina Hay, editor

April 8, 2013 at 9:39 am Leave a comment

Two New Views of Hemingway

Ernest-HemingwayTwo books released just this week—both with Penn State connections—offer new insights into one of the most analyzed writers ever: Ernest Hemingway.

Cambridge University Press has just published the first volume of The Letters of Ernest Hemingway, 1907–1922, edited by Penn State English department faculty member Sandra Spanier ’76g, ’81g.

Our upcoming Nov-Dec issue includes a feature-length interview with Spanier on what it’s been like to track down Hemingway’s unpublished correspondence—thousands of letters, telegrams, postcards, short handwritten notes—and what those writings tell us about a very complicated man. That next issue won’t be out until the end of October, but in the meantime you can also hear Spanier talk about the letters in this four-minute video, which also includes a conversation with Hemingway’s son Patrick.

Here’s a news release from Penn State that offers more on how Spanier became interested in Hemingway (this is a career project for her—she tells us that there could be as many as (more…)

September 22, 2011 at 3:41 pm 6 comments

Think Pink

If  you end up missing the mark with a certain someone’s Valentine’s gift, or forget it all together, you are in luck. The Lady Lion basketball team launched the Pink Zone Auction this week, which is being hosted on There is a wide array of auction items, 46 in total. You could bid on a chance to meet Tony Bennett, spend an evening with ex-CIA spy Valerie Plame Wilson ’85 and her husband, experience a taping of Saturday Night Live in New York with Penn State President Graham Spanier and his wife, or collect a few signed (and used) Paterno items. My favorite item in the bunch is the chance to have Chip Kidd ’86, famed book jacket designer, design a cover just for you.

The goal is to raise $150,000 with proceeds benefitting breast cancer charities. There is still plenty of time to bid. The auction opened this past Monday and goes until March 2.

To view a full list of auction items click here.

If one auction isn’t enough for you, another Pink Zone online auction is taking place at It also runs until March 2. Happy bidding.

Jessie Knuth, graphic designer

February 10, 2011 at 3:13 pm Leave a comment

Chip Kidd’s Handbook for a ‘True Prep’

So that’s why his book covers look so snazzy. Chip Kidd ’86, book cover designer extraordinaire for the likes of Michael Crichton, Cormac McCarthy, and David Sedaris, is reviving the preppy style he loves in a not-quite-sequel to the 1980 classic The Official Preppy Handbook.

The not-quite-sequel, True Prep, is slated for release in September, and a story about it graced the front page of Sunday’s New York Times (as did the very funny photo you see above). Kidd told the Times that the first handbook “changed my life,” so when he met with writer Lisa Birnbach last May, the idea for a spruce-up sprung up naturally.

The update will hold true to eternal prep language and style (i.e. using “summer” as a verb), but will keep pace with society by adding technological advice — like no texting at the table.

Add one more book cover to Kidd’s already laden shelves –- and this one should be stylin’ from within, too.

Amy Guyer, associate editor

April 7, 2010 at 8:45 am 1 comment

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